Last January 29, 2021, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed into law Republic Act (R.A.) No. 11521, which intends to strengthen the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).
R.A. No. 11521 includes real estate developers and brokers, offshore gaming operators, as well as their service providers in the list of covered persons under the AMLA. The said law also requires the submission of reports to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) of all real estate transactions involving an amount of more than seven million five hundred thousand pesos (P 7,500,000.00).
Additionally, R.A. No. 11521 expands the scope of predicate crimes by including tax offenses where the deficiency basic tax due in the final assessment is in excess of Twenty-five million pesos (P 25,000,000.00) per taxable year, and violations of the Strategic Trade Management Act on the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Under the law, the AMLC is given additional powers such as to apply for the issuance of a search and seizure order and subpoenas before any competent court.
It is imperative on the part of the Philippine government to amend our outdated Anti-Money Laundering Laws in line with the directives of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This will maintain the integrity of our financial institutions and ensure that the Philippines will not be used as a money-laundering site for the proceeds of any unlawful activity.