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Marcos orders government agencies to adopt new strategy vs. money laundering

To improve the country's anti-money laundering measures, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has directed all government offices and departments to adopt the new strategy against money laundering and terrorist financing.

In Executive Order No. 33, Marcos specifically directed government agencies to adopt the National Anti-Money Laundering, Counter-Terrorism Financing, and Counter Proliferation Financing Strategy (NACS) 2023-2027.

According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Thursday, EO No. 33 aims to address the International Cooperation Review Group (IGRG) Action Plans, ensure that the Philippines exits the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Grey List, and improve its anti-money laundering, counter terrorism financing, and counter proliferation financing (AML/CTF/CPF) regime through the adoption of the said financing strategy.

EO No. 33, dated July 4, 2023, was signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin.

“In accordance with their respective mandates, all departments, agencies, bureaus, and offices of the national government, including government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) are directed, and all local government units are encouraged, to formulate and implement relevant strategy plans and programs to execute the NACS 2023-2027,” the EO stated.

As the NACS for 2018-2022 under EO No. 68, s. 2018 expires, the EO said it was imperative to adopt a new national financing strategy for the period of 2023-2027.

This move is part of the government's efforts to remove the Philippines from the Grey List of the FATF’s “Jurisdictions Under Increased Monitoring,” or countries that failed to show tangible and positive progress in addressing all key recommended actions in the Third Mutual Evaluation Report (MER).

Marcos' latest EO has renamed the previous National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Strategy to National Anti-Money Laundering, Counter-Terrorism Financing and Counter-Proliferation Financing Strategy.

Further, an additional sub-committee on Proliferation Financing was created as stated in the latest directive.

Meanwhile, the National AML/CFT Coordinating Committee (NACC) was given additional power to reorganize its sub-committees while the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) was also included as additional member of the NACC, given its mandate in intelligence gathering.

Marcos also wants the NACC “to cover as well activities related to countering proliferation financing.”

The NACC will be chaired by the Executive Secretary, while the governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, who is the concurrent chair of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMCL), will serve as its Vice Chairman.

The NACC members will be composed of heads of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Finance, Department of Justice, Department of National Defense, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Trade and Industry, Securities and Exchange Commission, Insurance Commission, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority, and the NICA. —KBK, GMA Integrated News