The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seeking to bring cryptocurrencies under its purview and strengthen its authority over the local cryptocurrency industry under the new draft rules.

According to a Jan. 25 report in local news outlet the Manila Bulletin, the securities regulator submitted for public comment draft rules related to financial products and services that also cover cryptocurrencies and digital financial products.

The SEC said in a statement that the draft rules will put a newly signed law into effect and give it “rulemaking, oversight, inspection, market monitoring and further enforcement powers.”

The guidelines expand the definition of a security to include “tokenized security products” or other financial products that use blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Other financial products, including digital financial products and services related to those accessed and delivered through digital channels together with their providers, will also fall within the purview of the SEC.

The SEC Philippines headquarters building in Makati, within the Metro Manila region. Picture: SECOND

The ability to enforce securities regulations is similarly expanded. The SEC could restrict service providers from charging excessive interest, fees, or charges.

The regulator would also have the power to disqualify or suspend directors, officers or any other employees who violate the laws. He could also suspend the entire operation of a company.

Local laws allow the SEC to create its own rules to apply the law in its jurisdiction, the central bank of the Philippines and the country’s insurance regulator can also create rules to supplement related laws.

Related: Navigating the world of cryptocurrencies: tips to avoid scams

The latest development marks a continuation of the regulator’s strong crackdown on cryptocurrencies.

In late December 2022, the SEC warned the public against using unregistered exchanges operating within the country, alleging that various exchanges were “illegally allowing” Filipinos to access their platforms.