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Diokno confident Maharlika Fund up and running by yearend despite vacancies

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Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno remains confident that the Maharlika Investment Corp. (MIC), which will supervise the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), will be operational before the year ends despite a number of vacancies in the management team.

“The advisory body has submitted a list [of nominees] that include two regular directors and three independent directors… I am not aware of new appointees,” Diokno said in a briefing with the Malacanang Press Corps that was livestreamed on Facebook.

The advisory body is composed of the heads of the Department of Budget and Management, the National Economic and Development Authority, and the Bureau of the Treasury. “[But] I am confident that it will be operational by yearend,” Diokno said.

Diokno said he has already met with the newly-appointed MIC president and chief executive Rafael Consing Jr. “He has explained his ideas,” Diokno said, adding he could not divulge what was discussed between him and Consing.

Consing said in a briefing Nov. 15 that he hoped to fill up certain very important roles within the MIC management team over the next 30 to 60 days.

MIC, is a nine-member board of directors which consists of the Secretary of Finance as the chairperson in an ex-officio capacity; the president and CEO of MIC; the president and CEO of the Land Bank of the Philippines; the president and CEO of the Development Bank of the Philippines; two regular directors, appointed by the President for a term of three years; and three independent directors from the private sector, appointed by the President for a term of one year.

Consing said MIF would look at investment opportunities in the areas of tourism infrastructure, agro-urbanism, energy, and information and communications technology.

Consing said MIC’s approach would be to look at the NEDA Board-approved projects, which include 197 flagship infrastructure projects.

Of this number, 122 are in physical connectivity including airports, bridges, roads, and marine connectivity. Thirty-eight of these fall under the Public-Private Partnership scheme.

Consing said out of those 38 PPP projects that have been identified from the perspective of physical connectivity, there are about four airports.

“Obviously, Bulacan [airport] is already being funded by the SMC Group. You have already NAIA [that is] currently going through a PPP, its own process, and you’ve got two additional or two remaining airports that are there,” he said.

“So those are the four that we will look at.” He said road and bridge projects could also be considered and their investment committee would be the one doing studies and see which of those would deliver the most immediate impact, and the one that’s immediately needed.

Consing said one of the important things that MIC would do in the coming weeks or months is to undertake roadshows as follow-ups to previous roadshows done by the government to make Maharlika known to global investors, given the fact that initial indications have already been expressed by potential investors into the MIF.

MIC has an initial capitalization of P125 billion.

LandBank and DBP have already transferred their contributions, as the founding government financial institutions, of P50 billion and P25 billion, respectively to the account of the Bureau of the Treasury. LandBank deposited their share on Sept. 14 while DBP remitted on Sept. 15.

The remaining P50 billion of MIC’s initial capitalization will be sourced from the national government.

One of the sources is the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas dividend remittance. BSP has already remitted P31.859 billion for 2023.

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