Marcos backs Maharlika fund: ‘We need added investment’

By: Nestor Corrales - Philippine Daily Inquirer | December 12,2022 - 10:58 AM
FILE PHOTO: President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., during the inauguration ceremony at the National Museum in Manila, Philippines, June 30, 2022. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., during the inauguration ceremony at the National Museum in Manila, Philippines, June 30, 2022. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez/File Photo

BRUSSELS — For the first time, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has publicly expressed support for the controversial Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) that seeks to establish a P275 billion sovereign wealth fund.

Speaking to reporters aboard PR001 en route to Belgium on Sunday night, the president said the proposed MIF would be needed to provide additional investment for the government.

“For sure. I would not have brought it up otherwise,” he told reporters when asked if the MIF would be “advantageous” for the government.

“It’s very clear that we need added investment. This is another way to get that,” he said.

At first, the proposed MIF was seeking an initial investment of P250 billion from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), LandBank, and the Development Bank of the Philippines, and P25 billion from the national government.

Critics have slammed administration allies at the House of Representatives for allegedly rushing the passage of House Bill No. 6398 or the Maharlika Investments Fund Act, filed by Speaker Martin Romualdez and presidential son and Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos.

Lawmakers have since dropped the GSIS and SSS as sources of funding for the MIF.

But President Marcos said: “Well, we’re just doing the regular process of looking at the bill. Well, not we. It’s the legislature. So let them do their jobs.”

On Dec. 1, the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries approved the bill, and authors of the proposed measure in the lower chamber were eyeing its passage on the third and final reading this December.

Marcos also allayed the fears of the public over possible misuse of government funds due to alleged questionable provisions in the bill.

“Let’s not debate until we see the final form because we could be debating about provisions that will no longer exist. So let’s just wait for what the legislature will do,” he said. ###

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