Dela Rosa wants voluntary SSS, GSIS investments out of Maharlika bill
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Tuesday said he would vote in favor of Maharlika Investment Fund bill only if the provision allowing the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to invest in the contentious fund is stricken out.
Under Senate Bill 2020, government financial institutions and government-owned or controlled corporations may invest in the proposed MIF — “subject to their respective investment and risk management strategies, and approval of their respective boards.”
Dela Rosa said he will be proposing changes to the controversial bill as it moves forward to the period of amendments on the Senate floor.
The legislator said he was initially “inclined to support” the proposed measure when the involvement of GSIS and SSS funds were dropped from the MIF investment equation.
“Pero ngayon, may isa palang provision doon sa ilalim na pwedeng mag-investment – voluntarily. So just play of words ang nangyayari diyan,” he said in a news briefing at the Senate.
(But now, there’s a provision at the bottom of the bill that allows these investments – voluntarily. So what happened was just a play of words.)
The provision being scrutinized in the MIF bill of the Senate is also contained in the House-approved version.
Dela Rosa cautioned against leaving it up to the boards of SSS and GSIS, saying they might decide to stake the “hard-earned money of retirees” in the proposed MIF.
Dela Rosa said he is not the only senator concerned about this.
“Hindi lang naman ako ang may planong i-amend noon. Maraming ang nakakita niyan. Maraming senador ang nakakita so paano makakalusot iyon? Tatanggapin siguro [iyong amendment]. Very reasonable amendment naman siguro iyon,” he said.
(I’m not the only one who plans to have this amended. Many see it. Many senators see it, so how will it slip through? I think the amendment will be accepted. I think it’s very reasonable.)
Asked if he would back the bill once this provision is scrapped, he said, “Yes, I will. That’s my only condition.”
But if the part on allowing SSS and GSIS investments is retained, dela Rosa did not commit to support the bill.
Instead, he said, “I will cross the bridge when I get there.”
The legislator also said he is “hoping, but not totally convinced” that the proposed MIF will yield positive results.
He just trusts that Malacañang will not do anything to the detriment of the country.
“Sinong Presidente o anong administrasyon ang gagawa ng mga hakbang na ikasisira ng kinabukasan ng ating bansa? Hindi naman siguro nila gagawin iyan,” dela Rosa said.
(Who is the President or what administration will make steps that will destroy the future of our country? I don’t think they will do that.)
For dela Rosa, it is important to discuss the MIF bill in the Senate, regardless if it will pass or not, since it is a priority measure of the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
On early Tuesday morning, the period of interpellations on the proposed MIF was terminated in Senate despite the pushback from the two-member minority bloc.
The measure had been certified as urgent by the President, which may speed up the passage of the bill in the chamber.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said Senate is hoping to pass the proposed MIF before Congress adjourns sine die on June 2.
In December 2022, House of Representatives approved a Marcos-certified MIF bill that had since been adjusted in the Senate.
House was able to pass the legislative piece on second and third reading on the same day.
This rapid pace in the proceedings usually happens when bills are tagged as urgent by the chief executive.