By Ariel Fernandez
The Bureau of Customs office at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has heightened its efforts to monitor the suspicious large amounts of foreign currency coming into the country.
Customs official said several groups of passenger-couriers declaring huge amount of foreign currency have been identified by the BOC through its sustained monitoring efforts.
The Bureau of Customs said it is addressing the matter and has already been working silently with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies including Congress.
Under existing laws, foreign currency exceeding $10,000 in value are allowed to be brought into the country for as long as it is declared.
The Bureau of Customs vows to continuously intensify its efforts on border protection and prevent the illegal movements of illicit money or capital to and from the Philippines.
Senator Richard Gordon sounded the alarm citing records from the Bureau of Customs, that there was an “inordinate amount of money” that entered the country in just a short period of 3 months.
“Definitely, this is money laundering. It’s tragic that we have an Anti-money Laundering Law, but our country is used by other people to launder funds,” he said.
Gordon said many foreigners, mostly Chinese citizens, are coming in from Hong Kong with thousands of dollars, declaring these as their capital for gambling in the casinos, then later would wire these “clean money” back to Hong Kong claiming that these are casino winnings.