'He has his reasons': Solons back Marcos’ decision to suspend Maharlika fund | Inquirer News

‘He has his reasons’: Solons back Marcos’ decision to suspend Maharlika fund

/ 02:58 PM October 18, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers from the majority have shown their support for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s suspension of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), with Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo saying that the Chief Executive may have reasons for doing so.

In an ambush interview with reporters on Wednesday, Arroyo said that she trusts Marcos’ judgment on the issue, adding that the country has nothing to lose with this move.

Earlier, it was revealed that Malacañang released a memorandum suspending the rollout of Republic Act No. 11954, which contains the MIF.


“The President must have his reasons, and I trust his instincts. And I think we have nothing to lose if we support the President on the suspension as he deems appropriate,” Arroyo, a renowned economic professor, told reporters.


“You know, the President is the one who’s, I mean, he has access to data. So, as I said, he has his reasons, and so we trust him on this,” she added.

Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, another lawmaker and economist, said that the suspension might be intended to anticipate future issues that should be addressed by the MIF’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

“That is the President’s exercise of Executive discretion well within his power. The letter of the law will still be followed without exception. But the IRR should anticipate future issues. If he sees issues in the Executive branch’s IRR draft, he can resolve them. Better to do so before full implementation,” Salceda said.

“In any case, I will provide advice to the Executive branch on our legislative intent as TWG (technical working group) Chair for drafting the measure,” he added.

Salceda clarified that the government, despite the suspension, is still on track to implement the MIF before 2023 ends, adding that this should not be a cause for speculation.

“We are still on track to get the ball rolling by the end of this year. With the PPP Code to be enacted this year, I also expect very direct investments in development projects in 2024,” he explained.


“Don’t overthink this. It’s the Executive Branch working things among themselves, as is proper at this stage of the law’s implementation,” he added.

Earlier, lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc called for the total junking of the MIF, claiming that it was flawed from the start.  ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro said that it would be better if Marcos Jr. abandoned the MIF due to concerns about the fund life of banks that would bankroll the program.

Marcos signed the MIF bill into law last July 18, but not without controversy.  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).

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

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

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

TAGS: Maharlika, Maharlika Investment Fund, Marcos

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