The Philippines is intensifying efforts to exit the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list this year, with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. spearheading directives to rectify regulatory gaps identified by the Financial Action Task Force.

In a recent meeting, President Marcos rallied government agencies to address deficiencies pinpointed by the FATF, emphasizing the critical economic significance of exiting the grey list. Originally, the Philippines aimed for removal by January 2023 but was granted a 12-month extension to rectify its shortcomings.

Matthew David, Executive Director of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) Secretariat, underscored the government’s commitment to resolving FATF-identified issues. David stated, “The President has reiterated the government’s commitment to addressing the deficiencies identified by the FATF.”

Acknowledging progress, David highlighted that ten out of eighteen deficiencies have been addressed, while efforts are underway to tackle the remaining eight, particularly emphasizing the need to address terrorism financing.

Despite the existing work, David conveyed the government’s optimism about its trajectory towards exiting the grey list, emphasizing the substantial risks associated with prolonged placement on the list. He emphasized the President’s satisfaction with the AMLC’s ongoing efforts.

David emphasized the imperative nature of the exit, stating, “Our goal is to eventually exit the grey list. There are repercussions for being on the grey list because the longer we are on the grey list, the bigger the possibility or the higher the risk that we will enter the black list.”

In alignment with these directives, the government issued Memorandum Circular No. 37, mandating 44 government agencies to address FATF-outlined deficiencies. Authorities like PAGCOR were specifically tasked with bolstering their anti-money laundering efforts.

Moreover, the Philippines collaborated with China to combat illegal offshore operators, resulting in the repatriation of 400 Chinese nationals following a joint action between the two countries.

The concerted efforts by the Philippine government underscore a proactive approach to shore up regulatory frameworks and align with global anti-money laundering standards, ultimately aiming for a successful exit from the FATF grey list by the end of 2024.

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