Taking into consideration the months of heightened quarantine measures, the AMLC reported a 57 percent spike in STR, of which 29 percent occurred between 16 March to 31 August 2020 period.
Still, STR submissions of electronic money issuers soared by 688 percent while those of pawnshops and money service businesses grew by 51 percent.
According to AMLC, top reasons for STR filing include online fraudulent activities (49 percent), child sexual exploitations and abuse (13 percent) and money mules or pass-through accounts (9 percent).
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno, who also sits as AMLC chairman called for increased caution and vigilance as money launderers may be abusing the increased use of digital platforms for money transactions.
“Proper know-your-customer and customer due diligence procedures must always be conducted, while clients’ risk ratings must be periodically assessed. Likewise, online fund transfer service providers are advised to be vigilant especially during the pandemic,” Diokno said during a virtual press conference on Friday.
Further, the AMLC report disclosed a whopping 1,680 percent increase in STR related to electronic banking transactions’ inward fund transfers and a hefty 5,158 percent for outward fund transfers.
“STR, involving cash-in and -out via electronic cash cards, increased by 580 percent and 197 percent respectively,” AMLC said.
“As covered persons become more aware of this information, AMLC expects a continued rise in STR filing. This is crucial in financial intelligence gathering and investigation against money laundering and its predicate crimes; and terrorism and its financing,” it added.