The laundering of $81 million stolen from the Bangladesh Central Bank wired to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) Jupiter Branch in Makati City (Metro Manila) endangers remittances of overseas Filipino workers worth at least P26 billion a year.
Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd made the warning as the Senate resumed its investigation on Tuesday of the hacking of the $81 million from the Bangladesh Bank reserves at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
“This is a gut issue. If we end up being perceived as a money-laundering center, the remittances sent by our OFWs will be at risk because remittances are not sent here in mere $30 to $100 dollars. Remittances are gathered by banks before being sent to our country in bulk,” Roxas, a former investment banker, pointed out.
“Every anti-money laundering authority in the world is being watchful of our actions on this case, which could slow down the remittances’ flow. If this will be one of those things which will make headlines for one to two weeks only to be forgotten, then foreign authorities will take action, thinking that they can’t be sure that the money being sent and sourced from our country is clean,” he said.
Roxas also raised the alarm on remittances made by exporters as well as foreign investors.
“If there is a slowdown of remittances, exporters could end up making loans for their working capital. We can’t spur growth in our economy if the money wired to our country has to be checked by several foreign banks because they don’t trust our bank regulations,” he said.
“That’s why I welcome the Senate investigation and if I will be lucky to be given a chance to be elected as President, I will move for stricter regulations to prevent this case from happening again,” Roxas added.