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Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 08:05 GMT
Philippines dash for sanctions deadline
Philippine government troops
The US lists several "terror" groups in the Philippines
The Philippines government is making a last-minute bid to pass money-laundering laws to avoid economic sanctions.

The anti-money laundering Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has demanded the Philippines strengthen laws by 12 February or face being added to a black-list of uncooperative countries.

The 11 September attacks on the US gave a new international impetus to the crackdown on money laundering, especially by terrorist organisations.

Sanctions would seriously affect trade with the country and the repatriation of billions of dollars by Filipino workers in Asia, the Middle East and US.

Investors are already shy of the Philippines' economy after a number of recent budget overruns and allegations of corruption.

Money matters

The country is also home to a number of militant Muslim organisations including Abu Sayyaf, which is on a US list of terrorist groups.

The FATF is demanding laws that make it mandatory for all transactions above $10,000 to be reported.

It also wants financial regulators to be given more powers to investigate bank accounts without a court order.

After months of debate, the Senate late on Monday unanimously passed an amended bill, after it was passed by the House of Representatives.

The two versions must now be reconciled by a committee before it can be signed into law by President Gloria Arroyo.

See also:

30 Jan 03 | Business
21 Jun 02 | Business
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