Senators vow to scrutinize proposed Maharlika Investment Fund bill
MANILA, Philippines — Senators vow to take steps to scrutinize the Maharlika Investment Fund bill, a measure to create a sovereign wealth fund (SWF).
Senate President Miguel Zubiri, in a statement Friday, said he plans to request that Senators Sonny Angara, Win Gatchalian, Senator Grace Poe, Senator Mark Villar, and Senator Alan Cayetano look into the issue.
Members of the Senate, like Angara, hold leadership positions on relevant finance-related committees.
“We must first ensure the Sovereign wealth fund is necessary and if so, we need to ensure that it is managed properly and the safeguards are in place so that it would not be misused or prone to corruption,” said Zubiri.
The measure will create the SWF to maximize the profitability of investible government assets for the benefit of the Filipinos.
Funding sources will primarily come from government financial institutions such as the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS).
Senator Risa Hontiveros, in a separate statement, said that the bill gave her the “heebie-jeebies” as it is part of the legacy of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s Martial Law.
“Yung mythmaking na talagang sinusubukang pigain, to really milk it, nire-rehabilitate yung ala-alang iyon, to the detriment of accountability for human rights violations and plunder of the past,” said Hontiveros.
(The mythmaking that you will try to squeeze, to milk it, it rehabilitates that memory, to the detriment of accountability for human rights violations and plunder of the past).
Hontiveros said they would talk about the source of the funds, as it involves the money from SSS, GSIS, and Pag-ibig.
She said that the state could not just access those funds “because, in those pension institutions, they are state funds, yes, but held in trust by [the] government for the members.”
The House of Representatives has rushed to approve the bill, which Speaker Martin Romualdez and other lawmakers filed. It was “approved in principle.”
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