Bishop worries money laundering could hurt OFWs

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Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos, CBCP-ECMI chairman (CBCPNews)

MANILA, March 18, 2016— A Catholic prelate expressed concern that millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) may bear the brunt of the country’s involvement in the $81-million money laundering scandal.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of the Balanga diocese in Bataan urged the government to address the issue as many OFWs are likely to face problems in sending remittances.

“Remittance fees in foreign countries are higher. And it could lead to closure of our local remittances and banks abroad,” said Santos, who chairs the bishops’ Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People.

“Our OFW will surely be affected by this sinful and shameful act of conscienceless people,” according to him.

For the bishop, the controversy is more than just a scandal. “It is plainly stealing. It is a grievous sin,” he said.

“Did they not know it is hacked money, a stolen money? Or they are just heartless, and indeed very greedy. They should first of all report to government authorities, stopped the transactions and transfer,” he said.

“They should be honest and transparent. But they are not, and blinded by money,” Santos added.

The migrants’ rights advocate is hoping that justice regarding money laundering will be served, as Senate investigation is ongoing.

“We pray and hope that guilty persons will be prosecuted and justly punished, and will have change of heart. Truth will prevail,” Santos said.

He also hoped that the “stolen money will be restored to its rightful owner”, the Bank of Bangladesh.

Earlier, Susan Ople of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute said the country must immediately address the issue to avoid being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) adding that being blacklisted will mean higher cost of remittance for OFWs. (CBCPNews)

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