Maharlika fund must be thoroughly studied, handled by trustworthy managers — Bong Go
MANILA, Philippines — The proposed Maharlika Wealth Fund will be a subject of a lengthy debate, according to Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who underlined the importance of credible, competent, and trustworthy management should the proposal will be passed into law.
“Siguro mahabang usapan ‘yan, mahabang debate. Ang importante po dito, ang tanong is ‘who will manage? Sino po ang magdadala [That would be a lengthy debate, but what’s important is the question on who will manage it]?” said Go in an ambush interview after attending the Bicameral Conference Committee meeting at the Manila Golf Club in Makati City on Monday, December 5.
“Dapat mapag-aralan ito ng mabuti. Malaking halaga yan. Importante walang masayang na pondo ng bayan lalo na sa panahon ngayon na hirap na nga ang mga Pilipino [This should be studied well, because this entails a lot of money. There should be no fund that will go into waste especially now that many Filipinos are still struggling],” he added.
Go said that the management of the proposed fund, which will be comprised of contributions from many different financial institutions, must be thoroughly studied to ensure that it will be free from political interference. He added that credible, competent and trustworthy managers must ensure not even a single centavo will be wasted.
“It should be a good manager talaga para walang masasayang na pondo [so no fund will be wasted],” he said.
“‘Di ba ang pondo po ay kukunin mula sa iba’t ibang financial institutions, ngunit ang tanong dito, paano ima-manage ng maayos nang hindi mapupulitika, walang pabor pabor kung saan mapupunta [The fund will come from different financial institutions, the question is how this will be managed without the politics involved, no favors],” he added.
House Bill No. 6398, or the proposed Maharlika Investments Fund (MIF) Act, seeks to establish the fund, which will originate from government financial institutions and subsequently be invested in a diverse array of markets, sectors, and other financial instruments.
The Maharlika Investments Corp., proposed to handle investments using the MIF, will also be established under the measure. It will be managed by a board of directors comprised of nine individuals who will each represent a contributing government financial institution.
The measure compares Maharlika to Singapore’s wealth fund, established to ensure the efficient administration of the country’s foreign reserves by purchasing assets. In addition to that, it referenced the fund of Indonesia that enabled the country to invest money in growing sectors and the nation’s infrastructure.
However, some sectors voiced concerns that the proposal needs further safeguards.
There are also concerns that the proposed fund would go the way of Malaysia’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad, which was dogged by graft allegations. Najib Razak, a former prime minister of Malaysia, was convicted of embezzling billions from the country’s sovereign wealth fund in 2020.
Meanwhile, Go emphasized the need for trustworthy management and strategies for expanding the fund to ensure that the Filipino people will benefit from it if adopted.
“Paano po palaguin itong Maharlika Fund na ito at importante talaga dito who will manage,” said Go.
“Dapat credible na tao ang magdadala nito, individual or group. It should be, yung tiwala ng tao, mapagkakatiwalaan dapat ang magdadala nito,” he concluded.