The Philippines’ Fight against Money Laundering and its AML Law

Philippines’ money-laundering policies and scrutiny of organisations have had a potential impact on overseas workers. The measures to encounter money laundering made it harder but more secure for Filipinos working abroad to send money to Philippines. Anything that aids in ease of sending money home will have a better impact on the economy.

Before diving into the Philippines’ fight against money laundering, let’s take a walk through the whole concept of money laundering, how it works, and how you can send remittances without getting into the hustle of information.

What is Money-Laundering?

In a simple term, money laundering refers to getting funds through illegal or criminal means such as terrorist financing, drug trafficking, smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, and piracy. Though it is an unlawful process of getting money, it seems to appear from a legitimate source all the same. It is a serious financial crime. Many countries have anti-money laundering ( AML ) policies to prevent this activity.

According to the International Monetary fund, ‘’Money Laundering refers to activities intended to disguise the origins of the proceeds of the crime that transform illegal inputs into legitimate sources.’’

How does Money Laundering work?

Money laundering passes through three stages, each with a unique purpose.

  1. Placement of Money:

This phase starts with the physical placement of money in the financial infrastructure, i.e. banks, casinos, and currency exchange. The physical arrangement of money includes entering a business as a customer or vendor.

  1. The layering of Money:

The layering of money implies concealing the origin of money laundering through imperceptible financial transactions and accounting tricks. It is achieved by a series of sales and purchases of financial and non-financial assets.

Layering is conducted through the following methods:

  • Converting black money into financial instruments.
  • Buying and Selling Real Estate and Financial assets etc.


  1. The Integration of Money:

The final phase of Money Laundering is where the laundered money is brought into the economy through the banking system.

Money-Laundering in the Philippines

In the Philippines, money laundering is a serious crime as it threatens individuals’ and national security. Under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of 2001, any person who acquires an asset illegally and transmits it into the economy using different means is under the money-laundering act.

As the country progresses, it encounters various challenges involving terror financing and money laundering. Despite solid coordination and collaboration with the Anti-Money –Laundering Council and Law enforcement agencies, combating these issues remained a challenge.


$81 million Money Laundering Scandal 

In the Bangladesh scandal, $81 million had been laundered from the Central Bank of Bangladesh’s account and was found at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. However, the crucial point of this whole scandal was that the money was laundered through the Philippines. The scandal led to additional policies and restrictions. Philippines’ regulations for anti-money laundering acts and inspection of firms involved in remittances were reformed. 

Meanwhile, officials were also worried about the Philippines being on the black list of the Inter-governmental Financial Task Force (FATF). It was risky, as a blacklisted nation means higher fees on remittances, delays, and even rejection of services. 

Even though it did not face any strict restrictions, the scandal brought the Philippines’ remittance firms to exit. The banks shut down the remittance firms. And the whole system made it difficult for workers to send money to Philippines online from abroad.


Money Laundering Laws in Philippines 

The Philippines made Money-Laundering a criminal activity in 2001. Later, AMLA was signed into law. According to the AML act of 2001, the financial intelligence unit (FIU) is now the Anti-Money Laundering Council. It is an active member of the Asian-Pacific Group on ML. AMLC administers the activities including both national and international to fight ML and counter financing terrorism. 

AMLA identify both Suspicious Transactions (ST) and Covered Transactions (CT) regardless of amount. CT refers to a transaction in cash or equal monetary instrument. The instrument must exceed five hundred thousand pesos (Php 500,000.00) within one day. Similarly, in the case of jewellers and metal dealers, a transaction must exceed one million pesos (Php 1000, 000.00).

If any individual is caught in money laundering, the penalty includes up to 14 years in jail or a huge fine. Or, in some cases, both jail and fine. 

What are the safest ways to Transfer Money Internationally and avoid money laundering?

Remittance providers include financial institutions such as depository institutions and money transmitters. These Remittance providers must have the authorisation to function following standard practices. Remittance providers are vulnerable to money laundering and are subject to MLC oversight. 

A few things to remember about remittance firms include authorisation, reliability of remittance, transactions ahead of time, convincing customer service, and exchange rates offered. 


How can ACE Money Transfer help you securely transfer money to Philippines and any other country?

ACE Money Transfer is well structured as an authorised payment institution and verified remittance service provider by the Financial Conduct Authority. We are registered by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and provide secure money transfer services to our customers.

We have affiliations with trusted financial institutions in the Philippines, including Metro Bank, M LHUILLIER, Pawnshop PS-Metro and others. So, overseas Filipinos can easily, swiftly, and securely make a money transfer to Philippines using ACE’s remittance services.


Philippines’ efforts to eliminate money laundering are undeniable. But, the security methods used for remittances can also play a vital role in eradicating money laundering. Additionally, remittance firms play their part in a better economy through secure money transfers. To fulfil this responsibility, ACE Money Transfer is the best service provider. It is a quick, safe, and easy way to transfer money to Philippines from all across the UK, Europe, Canada, Australia, Africa, and Asia.