by JOEL CALAMBA ESCOL, Managing Editor
Even as the House Committee on Bank and Financial Intermediaries already approved on Thursday (December 1) the P275 billion Maharlika Wealth Fund Act (MWF) under House Bill 6398, Representative France Castro of ACT party-list said on Saturday that the Makabayan Bloc is going to scrutinize the legality of the measure.
This is especially that the bulk of the Maharlika fund will be sourced out from the coffers of the government, particularly, the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Insurance Security System (GSIS) and other identified sources.
“We are studying to question the legality of the proposed measure. The bill was only discussed last Monday. There were only two TWGs (technical working groups) and after that, it was returned to the mother committee and approved last Thursday. It will be referred to two more committees, the Committee on Appropriations and Committee on Ways and Means. They target to pass it by next week,” Castro said in a media interview.
Representative Martin Romualdez, HB 6398 author
According to the bill principally authored by Rep Martin Romualdez and co-authored by the president’s son, at least P125 billion of the investment fund will be taken from GSIS, SSS P50 billion and another P50 billion from the Land Bank of the Philippines. Additional funds will also be coming from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), P25 billion and another P25 billion from the Treasury of the Philippines.
Rep castro also said: “Are they trying to salvage bankrupt businesses of friends and cronies just like what happened in the past? There is even a possibility that they will invest the money abroad, so the objective of this proposed bill is dubious. It will not even benefit the people.”
She also hinted that the government’s Build, Build, Build program has been allocated more than P1 trillion already for the 2023 budget.
Earlier, the president’s sister, Senator Imee Marcos expressed her fear that using the pension fund was very risky and questionable.
Senator Marcos claimed that the senate will surely undergo “tedious” deliberations when this proposed measure reaches the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“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.