Suspend Maharlika fund? Makabayan solon says it’s better to scrap it | Inquirer News

Suspend Maharlika fund? Makabayan solon says it’s better to scrap it

/ 11:27 AM October 18, 2023

Makabayan continues watch after House OK'd 2024 budget; realignments unclear


MANILA, Philippines — Instead of suspending the implementation of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro believes the administration should totally junk the law as it is supposedly “flawed in so many levels.”

Castro on Wednesday said that it would be better if President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. junked the MIF — the country’s first sovereign wealth fund (SWF) — due to concerns about the fund life of banks that would bankroll the program.


Earlier, it was announced that Malacañang released a memorandum tasking agencies involved in the MIF to study the plans.


READ: Marcos suspends Maharlika fund implementation 

“It would be better if President Marcos Jr. just scrapped the whole Maharlika law rather than just suspend it,” Castro said.

“As Bayan Muna executive vice-president Carlos Isagani Zarate said last week, ‘the Marcos administration placed in grave danger the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) respective capitals after the twin state-run depositary banks were required to finance the creation of the [MIF],” she added.

According to Castro, Republic Act No. 11954, which contains the MIF, is flawed from the start because the country has no excess funds that can be tapped for this SWF.

“Sa simula pa lang ay sablay na talaga ang Maharlika Investment Fund dahil wala namang tayong excess fund para dito.  Pangalawa, ay mula pa sa pera ng bayan ang ipo-pondo dito sa halip na gamitin sa mga batayang serbisyo para sa mamamayan,” she said.

(At the start, we have been saying that the Maharlika Investment Fund is flawed because we do not have excess funds for this. Second, we would use money from the country’s coffers, which should have been used for services aimed at helping the people.)

“Pangatlo, maski ang pagsertipika dito as urgent ay di sumunod sa proseso. Pang-apat, mga appointee pa din ng pangulo ang mamamahala dito at bukas ito sa korapsyon,” she added.


(Third, even the certification of the bill as urgent did not follow the processes. Fourth, the managers are still presidential appointees, which is open to corruption.)

Last July 18, Marcos signed the said MIF bill into law, which has been controversial for many reasons. When it was first filed at the House last November 2022, critics questioned why the then-proposed MIF would tap into pension funds, particularly those from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS).

Originally, the bill stated that the MIF would have P275 billion as a start-up fund, with GSIS contributing P125 billion, SSS P50 billion, and P50 billion from LandBank. The remaining P50 billion was supposed to be sourced from the Development Bank of the Philippines and the annual budget.

Eventually, proponents of the bill chose to remove the said provisions, leaving LandBank and DBP as funding sources.

READ: Proposed Maharlika Fund would no longer include SSS, GSIS funds — Quimbo 

There were also questions about the legislative processes taken to pass the bill, with some lawmakers questioning why the bill was being amended even after it was approved on third reading. However, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said there is no malicious intent to tamper with the bill’s final version.

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READ: Pimentel, Hontiveros hit rush to pass Maharlika bill over correctness 

Just this September, Zarate, and other former Bayan Muna lawmakers — Ferdinand Gaite and Neri Colmenares — along with Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel sought the suspension of the MIF rollout and eventually the declaration of the law as unconstitutional.


Supreme Court asked to declare Maharlika fund unconstitutional 

No malicious intent to tamper; Maharlika bill unscathed— Zubiri 

TAGS: Bongbong Marcos, Maharlika Investment Fund, Makabayan

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