House approves AMLA amendments on final reading

THE House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on third and final reading the bill amending the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), which is crucial for the Philippines to avoid being included in the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) so-called “gray list.”

With 231 affirmative votes, seven negatives, and three abstentions, the chamber passed House Bill No.7904, which seeks to strengthen Republic Act No. 9610 or the AMLA.

The FATF gave the Philippines up to February 2021 to address the deficiencies in the anti-money laundering law and to implement regulations to improve its efforts to curb money laundering and terrorist financing. The original deadline was in October, but it was moved to February due to the pandemic.

It will now be up to the Senate to approve its version of the bill, which is still pending at the committee level. The timeline appears to be tight as Congress is scheduled to go on another break on Dec. 19 and resume session on Jan. 17, 2021. — K.A.T.Atienza