By Jelly F. Musico
Senator Serge Osmena III expressed hope on Thursday that the Senate will be able to pass on third and final reading a bill strengthening further the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2011 before next week’s deadline set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
”I’m hopeful that we will pass it on third reading on Tuesday,” said Osmena, co-author of Senate Bill No. 3123 or an Act further strengthening Republic Act No. 9160.
Osmena said the senators agreed in a caucus last Wednesday that they will come up with amendments by Monday.
”The committee will consolidate it and agree to adopt or not adopt. We will close the period of interpellation, go to the committee amendments and by Tuesday it should pass already,” Osmena explained.
Osmena said the Asia-Pacific Group of FATF is set to meet from Oct. 15 to 19 in Hong Kong.
”Hopefully we can show them the bill if not the law by October 19,” Osmena, chairman of the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies as well as the energy committee, said.
The Cebu senator emphasized the need for the Philippines to enact into law the last of the three amendments that the FATF asked for to avoid being blacklisted by the FATF-member countries.
Osmena said the Philippines is enjoying a very good reputation due to the reforms implemented by the present administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III in terms of cleaning up the judiciary, policy and financial system.
”The whole world is watching. We’re No. 1 in Asia in their investment list. I think 150 countries are following the FATF recommendation. It would be a super black eye if we got dropped into the black list,” Osmena warned.