Marcos Jr. certifies as urgent Maharlika Investment Fund bill

By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu - Reporter / @GabrielLaluINQ - Inquirer.net | December 15,2022 - 06:42 PM
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. answers questions from the media on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bangkok, Thailand on November 19. INQUIRER.net file photo / Daniza Fernandez

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. answers questions from the media on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bangkok, Thailand on November 19. INQUIRER.net file photo / Daniza Fernandez

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has certified as urgent House Bill (HB) No. 6608, which seeks to establish a sovereign wealth fund for the country, the House of Representatives said.

During Thursday’s session, just after the bill was approved on second reading, the House secretary general read a message from the President about certifying as urgent the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF).

“Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the provisions of Article VI, Section 26 (2) of the 1987 Constitution, I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of House Bill No. 6608 entitled ‘An Act Establishing the Maharlika Investment Fund, providing for the management, investment, and use of proceeds of the fund, and appropriating funds therefore in order to establish a sustainable national investment fund as a strategic mechanism for strengthening investment activities of top-performing government financial institutions,” the House secretary general said.

With the certification from Marcos, the House can skip the requirement that three session days must be conducted first before the proposed measure is deliberated again on the plenary.

This means the measure can be deliberated on Thursday, which is possibly the last session day of the 19th Congress for 2022.

Without the certification, the earliest that the House can approve the bill on third reading is by January 25.

Before the bill was passed during the second reading, there were several criticisms hurled at the proposal, as many lawmakers feel that now is not the right time for the country to have a sovereign wealth fund (SWF).

Several lawmakers said that the timing of the MIF is questionable because the country currently has no surplus fund, while having a huge debt and a budget deficit.

Also, the bill got public backlash after the original version of the bill — HB No. 6398 — had include P125 Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), P50 billion from Social Security System (SSS), and P25 billion from the national budget into the starting fund of the MIF.

Aside from the proposed MIF, Marcos also certified as urgent HB No. 6687, which requires tertiary education students to undergo a National Citizens Service Training Program (NCSTP) while making the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) optional

The Chief Executive certified as urgent HB No. 6517 which seeks to strengthen professionalism in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

RELATED STORIES:

Castro: GSIS, SSS fund may still be in the mix for Maharlika fund after public fury wanes 

GSIS and SSS may still invest in Maharlika fund if their boards will allow – lawmaker 

JPV
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