ANTI-TERROR LAW TO FIX LAUNDER LOOPHOLES -- IMEE 

Imee MarcosQuezon City, Feb. 16, 2003 -- Ilocos Norte Rep. Imee Marcos urged her colleagues in the House of Representatives yesterday to speed up the passage of House Bill No. 3802, the anti-terrorism bill, on or before March 15, the deadline set by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for the Philippines to pass stricter measures against dirty money, to complement the Anti-Money Laundering Law (AMLA).

Marcos said an anti-terrorism law can lend the country another opportunity to "plug the loopholes" in the AMLA since the proposed measure contains provisions addressing the finances of terrorists.

Marcos is the principal author of the anti-terrorism bill, which seeks to define terrorism, the means to investigate it including the scrutiny of bank accounts of suspected terrorists and provide penalties.

"Since the primary purpose of the AMLA is to freeze terrorist financing, then the final passage of the anti-terrorism law would reinforce our international commitment to fight terrorism in all its insidious forms," she said in a statement.

Marcos also urged her colleagues to consider reworking the AMLA to comply "at least on the minimum level" with FATF requirements and immediately restore the country to international respectability.

"Let's go back to the drawing board as soon as possible," she said. "This crisis does not allow for misplaced nationalism. We cannot take on all of the world's financial powers in our beggared state."

Marcos said lawmakers should "not fail our overseas Filipino workers and their dependents, our struggling business economy and our bankers yet again."

She added that she hopes the FATF sanctions and countermeasures be deferred while the government tries to work out a "responsible" compromise. (Perseus Echeminada, Star)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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