Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) have been given until 16 March to register with the nation’s Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) or face being charged with money laundering offenses.

The deadline was contained within an advisory published by the AMLC in which it pointed to a recent amendment to the Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Act, which took effect on 30 January 2021. The amendment, a result of pressure brought by global AML watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), requires covered entities to report all cash transactions above a certain amount.

POGOs and their service providers, as well as real estate brokers and developers, are among those specifically targeted by the law, which aims to help the Philippines avoid sanctions from the FATF after being placed on 12-month watch by the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG).

In its advisory, the AMLC said POGOs “are required to report covered and suspicious transactions to the AMLC within the period prescribed and for the threshold amount fixed by the law,” currently set at Php5 million (US$102,500).

To do so, they must first register with the AMLC’s electronic reporting system, which is free, by no later than 16 March. Failure to do so, the AMLC said, is “an administrative offense penalized under the Rules of Procedure on Administrative Cases.

“Failure to register would mean failure to electronically file covered and suspicious transaction reports with the AMLC, which is a money laundering offense.”

POGOs that fail to register face fines of up to Php5 million.

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By Heart Castañeda

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