Suspicious reports surged after updated terror law — AMLC

SUSPICIOUS transaction reports related to terrorist financing surged in the past quarter after an updated Philippine law against terror took effect, according to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

The reports submitted by financial institutions to the agency also surged almost 14 times last year to 7,230 from 524 in 2018, it said in a study.

The study supported previous findings that the Philippines is a destination country for illicit flows as the bulk of remittance-related suspicious transaction reports in terms of value were funds going into the country, the AMLC said.

International remittances accounted for 91% of the total remittance-related suspicious transaction reports.

It said it expects financial institutions to file more reports after the government tagged more local threat groups as domestic terrorists in December.

Nearly half of the filed reports related to terrorism and terrorism-financing were remittances — P579.31 million international inward remittances and P29.92 million within and sent elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the value of domestic inward and outward remittances cited in suspicious transaction reports stood at P19.49 million and P8.93 million, respectively.

The AMLC said majority of the reports involved less than P5,000, which showed that terrorism financing used structured small amounts of frequent transactions with no specific patterns.

A fifth of the transactions had values ranging above P100,000 to P500,000, while 17% were P10,000 and more but lower than P100,000. — Luz Wendy T. Noble