23 May2017
SPONSORSHIP SPEECH: COMMITTEE REPORT 105

 

     
 



Mr. President, as Chairman of the Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, this representation humbly submits to this chamber Senate Bill No. 1468 under Committee Report No. 105, entitled "An Act Designating Casinos As Covered Persons Under Republic Act No. 9160, Otherwise Known As The Anti-money Laundering Act of 2001, As Amended."

In 2012, Republic Act No. 10167, otherwise known as "An Act To Further Strengthen The Anti-Money Laundering Law" and Republic Act No. 10168, otherwise known as "The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012" were enacted. As a result, these laws prompted the Financial Action Task Force ("FATF") to upgrade the Philippines from the "dark grey list" to its "grey list" in the same year.

In 2013, the enactment of Republic Act No. 10365further strengthened our anti-money laundering drive and paved the way to the removal of the Philippines from the FATF's list of vulnerable jurisdictions. This removal, however, is subject to the condition that the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering ("APG"), an international body monitoring the implementation and enforcement of internationally accepted standards against money laundering and financing of terrorism, shall monitor our compliance with respect to the enactment of a law including casino operators as covered persons.

The Philippines failed to enact the casino bill by 31st December 2016. In the Plenary Meeting of the APG on September 2016, the body decided to give the Philippines until June 2017 to pass the required legislation. Failure to enact the required legislation within the given time frame would put the Philippines under monitoring of the International Corporation Review Group of the FATF monitoring, which could eventually result in the blacklisting of the Philippines.

Last year, our country barely escaped the FATF blacklist after hackers broke into Bangladesh Bank's account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and successfully stole eighty-one million US dollars (US$81,000,000.00), which found their way to four (4) fake bank accounts in a Makati branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation. These monies were then transferred to Philrem Services Corporation and then delivered in cash tranches to casinos.The heist, therefore, highlighted a vulnerable aspect in our anti-money laundering efforts and underlined the FATF's conditions with regard to casinos.

The APG, in its report dated November 23, 2016 during the APG High Level Visit in Manila last November 17-18, 2016, urged the Philippine Government to include casinos as covered persons in our anti-money laundering laws before the next APG meeting in July 2017.

This bill is simply being a mere component of Committee Report No. 13. Under this proposed measure, casinos, including internet and ship-based casinos, with respect to their casino cash transactions related to their gaming operations, shall be considered as "covered persons."Further, a single casino cash transaction involving an amount in excess of five million pesos (Php5,000,000.00) or its equivalent in any other currency will be considered as a "covered transaction."

Furthermore, the bill proposes for the period of effectivity of a freeze order issued by the Court of Appeals and the processes involved therein, subject of course to other remedies available under the same law.

Lastly, the bill proposes for the drafting of the law's implementing rules and regulations within ninety (90) days from its effectivity by the Anti-money Laundering Council, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, and other government regulatory agencies.

Considering the urgency of filing this measure, I humbly implore all my colleagues to immediately pass this bill.

Thank you very much, Mr. President and my dear colleagues.

 

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Copyright 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Office of Senator Chiz Escudero