Sandro Marcos vouches for Maharlika Investment Fund: Not a novel idea

Sandro Marcos defends proposed Maharlika Investment Fund: It’s not a new idea

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential son and Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos has defended the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), saying that past administrations have floated such an idea.

In an ambush interview on Monday on the sidelines of the bicameral conference committee tackling the proposed 2023 national budget, Marcos said that similar sovereign wealth fund (SWF) bills had been filed during the administration of former presidents Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Rodrigo Duterte.

According to Marcos, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, the former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor, was considering a similar proposal.  Marcos also said that former senator Bam Aquino came up with a similar bill.

“Well, this isn’t a new idea if you think about it.  Sec. Diokno already said they were looking at it during the time of Duterte. If I’m not mistaken, former senator Bam Aquino filed a bill in 2016 trying to do the same thing; my guess is it was not passed because the administration of former president PNoy was about to end at that time.  I believe Senator JV (Ejercito) also filed a bill; it’s not a new idea,” he said.

“Yes, it became apparent that the President was in support of creating a sovereign wealth fund, but it didn’t — the idea did not come from him per se because this is something that has been in the works or something that has been pushed by not even this administration but administrations past, before,” he added.

Marcos, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s first-born son said they are lucky that the bill proposing an SWF was filed early into the administration.

“It just so happens na naswertehan kami na kakasimula lang ng administrasyon (that we are lucky to discuss this at the start of the administration), so we have six years to hopefully be able to craft a piece of legislation that would see out and go beyond the President’s term,” he noted.

Z”{[[[4As to the claims that the House is railroading the measure, the younger Marcos disagreed, saying that the bill is going through the proper legislative process.

“How has it been railroaded?  [Do] you know how many bills were filed in a week and approved on the committee level or [the] first and second readings [this week]?  I’ll tell you; it’s more than the sovereign wealth fund,” he said.

“It wasn’t railroaded, it goes through a process — first reading, committee, committee report, second reading, third reading.  That’s the process.  So kapag dumaan sa proseso (If it goes through the right processes), how was it railroaded?” he added.

The younger Marcos and other House of Representatives lawmakers, like Speaker and Leyte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo, filed House Bill No. 6398, which seeks to create the MIF — a pooled fund that the government can use to make investments local and abroad.

However, criticisms soon followed the proposed measure, as some minority lawmakers questioned its necessity amid a strong clamor for social aid, consecutive budget deficits, and trillions of loans.

Despite the detractors, President Marcos himself vowed to support the bill, with Diokno saying that the creation of the SWF has the Chief Executive’s go signal.