Economic managers should clarify Maharlika fund’s objectives — Villanueva
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s economic managers should shed light on the objectives and priorities of the controversial Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) bills, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said on Thursday.
Following the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies’ first hearing on Senate Bill No. 1670 and House Bill No. 6608, Villanueva said that a lot has to be clarified.
“Una sa lahat, kailangan pong linawin ng ating mga Economic managers kung ano po ba talaga ang mga objectives at priorities ng pondong ito, at kung anong modelo ng isang sovereign fund ang nais nating tularan,” he said in a statement.
(First of all, our economic managers should clarify what the objectives and priorities are of this fund, and to what model we are eyeing to pattern it with.)
Villanueva expressed alarm over the losses that Norway and Singapore suffered in their respective sovereign funds. He said that the Philippines should be more cautious.
“Dahil po mas kakaunti ang ating mga resources kumpara sa mga bansang ito, mas lalo pa po tayong dapat maging mabusisi para ma-minimize natin ang mga insidenteng ito,” he said.
(Since our resources are lesser than these countries, we should scrutinize more to minimize these incidents.)
The senator also raised that designating the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) as permanent members of the MIF Board of Directors should be reviewed thoroughly as they can pull out investments after five years.
Under the bills, Land Bank and DBP are among the sources of money of the MIF.
Further, Villanueva suggested limiting to five years the “re-engagement” with external auditors to avoid the incident that happened with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).
To recall, Pagcor hired a third-party auditor with “credibility issues.”
For Villanueva, the upper chamber still has a “long way to go” before the MIF measures hurdle the panel.
“We still have a long way to go before we can pass this measure in the committee level and we thank the committee for giving the Senators ample time to study and make sure that this measure will be for the benefit of the Filipino people,” he said.
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