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On 17 – 21 July 2017, the Asia Pacific group (APG) on Money Laundering held its annual plenary meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Philippine delegation consists of members of the Anti-Money Laundering Council Secretariat, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Insurance Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman.

Among the issues discussed during the plenary is Philippines’ compliance to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Forty Recommendations, particularly on the inclusion of casinos as covered persons. It would be recalled that in 2013, the FATF removed the Philippines from the list of vulnerable jurisdictions (“grey list”) but enjoined it to “work with the APG as it continues to address the full range of AML/CFT issues identified in its Mutual Evaluation Report, in particular, regulating the casino sector in the Philippines for AML/CFT purposes and making it subject to AML/CFT requirements.”

During the annual meeting, the Philippine delegation reported to APG membership that the casino bill has been signed into law by the President. As such, the Philippines has been taken out from APG membership action.

The APG (a FATF-Style Regional Body) is an autonomous and collaborative international organization founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand and the Philippines is one of the founding members. Currently, it consists of 41 members and a number of international and regional observers, including the FATF. APG members and observers are committed to the effective implementation and enforcement of internationally accepted standards against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, in particular the Forty Recommendations.

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