Press Release
March 6, 2012

Chair Sub-committee on Anti-Money Laundering Law Amendments

Sponsorship Speech
SBN 3127: "An Act Defining the Crime of Financing of Terrorism, providing penalties therefor
& for other purposes" (Committee Report No. 125)

Mr. President, Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

Terrorism is a threat against the peace and stability of the community of nations. As a result, the obligation to eliminate this threat is a cooperative effort among various nations. A country perceived to be a haven of terrorists or perceived to have insufficient mechanisms to address terrorism faces several challenges that affect its development, economic integrity, and financial viability.

For example, in January 2011, FTI Consulting, a global business advisory firm based in Hong Kong, published Terrorism Trends in Asia and the report indicated that:

The Philippines appears to have overtaken Indonesia and Southern Thailand as the country of highest concern in Southeast Asia.[1]

A report of this nature sends negative ripples in the international community. Trade and economic activities are stalled and investor confidence dips.

Furthermore, tourism takes a hit because of terrorism-related travel advisories. For example, in the most recent travel warning of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs[2], U.S. Citizens are warned of the risks of terrorist activity in the Philippines. The travel warning further stated that, "while most of the recent incidents of terror have occurred on the island of Mindanao and in the Sulu Archipelago, U.S. citizens are reminded that terrorist attacks could be indiscriminate and could occur in any area of the country, including Manila."

We have already passed Republic Act No. 9372 or the "Human Security Act of 2007" to criminalize terrorism and today, we take one more step forward to nip terrorism in the bud.

Senate Bill No. 3127 or "The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012" is a positive step towards thwarting terrorism by slashing its ultimate lifeline - financing. Criminalizing terrorist financing is in compliance with our international commitments, in particular, the United Nations International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing, which the Philippine Senate concurred with on January 7, 2004.

These are the salient features of the bill:

It criminalizes terrorist financing.

It penalizes any person who deals with property or funds owned or controlled by terrorist organizations, or those that have been seized and sequestered pursuant to the Human Security Act.

On top of its current duties, the Anti-Money Laundering Council will be mandated to investigate any property or funds that are in any related to financing of terrorism or acts of terrorism.

Definition of terrorist financing Under this proposed measure, a person will be held liable if:

First: he directly or indirectly, willfully and without lawful cause, by any means: possess, provide, collect, or use property, funds, or financial service, OR make available such property, funds, or financial service,

Second, such person's act is characterized by an unlawful and willful intention that the property, funds, or service be used or with the knowledge that they are to be used, in full or in part to carry out or facilitate the commission of any terrorist act:

  • by a terrorist organization, association, or group, OR

  • by an individual terrorist.

Prohibition against dealing with property and funds of DESIGNATED PERSONS

In recognition of the fact that property and funds used to sustain terrorist operations circulate even through legitimate channels like banks and currency exchanges, this proposed measure likewise penalizes any person or entity who deals with the property or funds of terrorist groups.

"Dealing" in this measure refers to receipt, acquisition, transaction, representation, concealment, disposition or conversion, transfer, movement, use as a security, or provision of financial services.

The AMLC's Duties

In order to put real value to the objectives of this proposed measure, the Anti-Money Laundering Council will be given the authority to do the following:

Investigate any property or funds that are in any way related to financing of terrorism or acts of terrorism.

Freeze property or funds that are in any way related to financing of terrorism or acts of terrorism.

Since terrorism essentially depends on the financing it may obtain, it is a matter of grave and urgent concern to any reasonable government to criminalize the financing of terrorism. To financially paralyze terrorists and terrorist group should be a serious endeavor towards the more challenging goal of fully eliminating terrorism.

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, I therefore seek for the urgent passage of this measure. Thank you and good afternoon.

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