BY JOEL CALAMBA ESCOL, Managing Editor
THE GOVERNMENT’S Maharlika Wealth Fund (MWF) is now the subject of discussions among lawmakers after two of the administration’s congressmen filed bill no. 6398.
The bill, filed by Congressmen Martin Romualdez and co-authored by the President’s son who is a newly elected congressman in their province, is aimed at helping the government raise more revenues, by way of investments using the government agencies extra funds and the pension funds from both GSIS and SSS.
Senator Miguel Zubiri told the media he will look into the bill carefully and monitor its updates as soon as it reaches the Lower House on December 12.
The House of Representatives or otherwise known as the Lower House have been flocked by the majority of the administration’s loyal supporters.
Senator Imee Marcos, the president’s sister, is also reluctant about the idea of establishing a sovereign wealth fund.
She said she has not yet looked into the bill but she was anxious about the idea of risking the retirement funds of the SSS and GSIS members and pensioners.
“Ako kinakabahan sapagka’t sa panahong ito na ang sama ng ekonomiya pati ang World Bank sabi bagsak na bagsak sa susunod na taon sa 2023. Sa kalagitnaan, lalala pa raw. Diyos ko! Papaano na lang tayo,” Senator Imee Marcos said.
She questioned how the government would be able to properly manage its finances during this turbulent time of the crisis as well as the threatening global recession.
“Hindi naman ako ekonomista pero sa tingin ko, nakakatakot yatang ipusta yung retirement fund, yung pension fund ng GSIS. Nakakatakot yata. Wag naman. ‘Invest so-called pero high-risk pa rin,” Imee added.
ABOUT THE BILL
Based on House Bill 6398, principally authored by Martin Romualdez, it mandated the creation of a PHP250-billion sovereign wealth fund taken from various government agencies’ budgets.
Initially, the fund will come from Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) (PHP125 billion); the Social Security System (SSS) (PHP50 billion), as well as Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) (P50 billion); and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) (PHP25 billion).
The creation of the sovereign wealth fund would help ensure that the targeted funds from various sources would be efficiently channeled to investments which, in the process, will provide the most value to the participating government financial institutions (GFIs) and the country as a whole.
“Gamitin sa tamang pamamaraan katulad ng patubig, yung mga dam natin na bulok kaya wala tayong agriculture at magtataasan ang presyo ng mga imported food. Yung ating kuyente ay lumolobo din,” Rep Marcos claimed.
Zubiri said he would bring this matter to Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Mark Villar, Sonny Angara, Grace Poe, and Alan Peter Cayetano, chair of the committees on Finance, Ways and Means, Economic Affairs, Banks and Financial Institutions, and Government Owned and controlled Corporation.
He will urge his co-senators to make a study of this proposed bill and present their respective position to make things clearer and transparent, being a government-lead investment program.
“We must first ensure the Sovereign Wealth Fund is necessary… If so, we need to ensure that it is managed properly and that safeguards are in place so that it would not be misused or prone to corruption. We must make sure that there is full transparency and efficient utilization of this fund,” Zubiri stressed.