Pimentel seeks ‘ironclad’ provision in Maharlika bill to protect retirees’ pension fund
MANILA, Philippines— Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Tuesday pressed for an “iron-clad” provision in the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) bill that will guarantee that retirees’ pension funds “will not be touched or compromised.”
After discovering that the current Senate version of the MIF allows government-owned and-controlled corporations (GOCCs) like the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to invest, opposition senators, including Risa Hontiveros, have raised concerns. The House of Representatives already excluded these two state-run pension funds as MIF sources due to strong opposition from various sectors.
“Unfortunately, the threat that MIF would dip its hands into retirees’ pension funds is still very much alive,” Pimentel said.
In Senate, he said, a provision in the bill allows these social insurance institutions to invest in the MIF “voluntarily as long as their boards agree.”
Though Section 6 of the bill states no GOCC would be “requested or required” to contribute to the fund, Pimentel said another section provides for “voluntary investment.”
He said Section 12 of the measure mentioned “that other GFIs (government financial institutions) and GOCCs may invest into the MIF, subject to their respective investment and risk management strategies and approval of their respective boards.”
“Such provisions within the MIF bill raise serious concerns about the safety and security of our pension system,” Pimentel warned.
“We should provide an iron-clad provision to shield pensions from this very financially unsound and dangerous undertaking called Maharlika Investment Fund,” the senator said.
“Hindi pwedeng pilitin. Hindi pwedeng hingan. Pero kung kusa at boluntaryong magbibigay, tatanggapin naman!” he pointed out.
(It cannot be forced. It cannot be demanded. But if given willingly and voluntarily, it will be accepted!)
Without an ironclad provision, Pimentel stressed pension funds would still be tapped to contribute to the MIF.