A LEGISLATOR on Tuesday called for the inclusion of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) in a proposed task force to monitor digital currencies, since overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) use this channel to send remittances.

In a statement, Senator Francis N. Tolentino said including DoLE in the proposed Crypto Assets Task Force should be considered. The interagency body consists of representatives from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Insurance Commission (IC), the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC), and Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA).

“Two to three million dollars monthly ang pinapadala nang ating mga kababayang OFW gamit ang cryptocurrency noong 2017. Mahirap na kung ma-scam sila at mawala nila ang lahat ng kanilang pinaghihirapan (OFWs sent $2-3 million monthly using cryptocurrency in 2017. They are at risk for scams and stand to lose everything they worked hard for),” he said.

Mr. Tolentino added that the BSP should also review its guidelines governing cryptocurrency. The BSP issued BSP Circular No 944 in 2017 which outlines the risks of using virtual money as it has the propensity to be used in unlawful activities like money laundering and terrorist financing.

Mr. Tolentino also called for the inclusion of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in the task force, adding that any activities that include the use of cryptocurrency should be subject to regulation from tax authorities.

In the United States, cryptocurrencies are treated as personal property subject taxation, according to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Notice 2014-21. — Gillian M. Cortez