MANILA Former Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. Friday lauded Friday members of the 15th Congress for passing another amendment bill which he said further strengthened Republic Act No. 9160 or Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001.
Magsaysay, one of the principal authors of AMLA Law when he was at the Senate, said the recent ratification of the third amendment bill expanding the entities required to report transactions to Anti-Money Laundering Council is crucial in the countrys fight against money launderers.
The approval of the AMLA revisions means that our legislators are committed to improving anti-corruption initiatives, Magsaysay said.
Magsaysay also said the approval of the AMLA amendments play crucial role in the efforts of President Benigno Aquino IIIs administration to attract more local and foreign investors.
He said the ratification of the reconciled version of Senate Bill 3123 and House Bill 6565 last Wednesday has met the deadline set by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force to member countries to pass laws against money laundering, terrorist financing and other threats on integrity of the global financial system.
Although the Senate has agreed to drop the provision on the inclusion of casinos and internet gaming, the reconciled version of the proposed measure still has a broader definition of money laundering.
Under the bill, foreign exchange dealers, money changers, remittance agents, pre-need firms and money and securities managers should report transactions of P500,000 and above to the AMLC.
The dealers of precious metals and precious stones are also required to report transaction amounting to P1 million and above to AMLC while real estate agents should likewise report to the Land Registration Authority transactions amounting P500,000 up.
President Aquino is expected to sign into law the third AMLA amendment before the FATFs scheduled meeting Feb 18.
Last year, Senate passed the first two AMLA amendment measures which eventually signed into law by President Aquino.
The first bill was Senate Bill 3009 which seeks to allow AMLC to inquire into bank deposits based on an ex parte application and allow courts other than the Court of Appeals to issue freeze orders.
The Senate also approved SB 3127 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act seeks to allow authorities to freeze terrorist funds and inquire into bank accounts even without a court order.
The passage of the three AMLA amendments are expected to put the country away from the FATFs blacklist or list of non-compliant countries. (PNA)