More real estate brokers and developers are registering with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) after being included as covered entities in the monitoring of dirty money transactions in the country.
The AMLC said close to 3,300 real estate brokers and developers registered as of end-May, representing about 11 percent of the 30,000 real estate brokers and developers registered with the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
The financial intelligence unit said Republic Act 11521 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of 2001 has included real estate brokers and developers, as well as Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) and offshore gaming operators-service providers as covered entities.
The AMLC has been conducting webinars to entice real estate brokers and developers nationwide to register with the agency.
From only 50 registrations in February, the agency said a total of 1,526 real estate brokers and developers registered in March followed by more than 1,100 in April and 500 in May.
The AMLC said hundreds of applications from real estate brokers and developers are still pending and awaiting submission of relevant documents.
“The volume of registrations is also challenged by the limited manpower of the AMLC’s compliance and supervision group which handles registrations,” it said.
The group handles the registration of thousands of designated non-financial businesses and professions. Aside from real estate brokers and developers, lawyers, accountants, jewelry dealers and casinos are required to register with the AMLC.
Failure to register with the reporting system of the AMLC may result in penalties ranging from P10,000 to a maximum of P5 million, depending on asset size.
Under the revised AMLA, real estate brokers and developers are mandated to report single cash transactions worth P7.5 million and above to the AMLC.
This came after Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said dirty money proceeds are being funneled into the real estate sector in several countries in Asia-Pacific, including the Philippines.
The AMLC said the country’s real estate sector has a medium-high vulnerability to dirty money transactions due to limited anti-money laundering regulation.