Speaker Martin G. Romualdez has proposed the creation of a sovereign wealth fund (SWF) to maximize the profitability of investible government assets for the benefit of all Filipinos.
Romualdez also said Monday he expects the country’s internet speed to go up a notch next year once the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) implements its National Broadband Plan (NBP) that has been allocated P1.5 billion in the proposed 2023 national budget.
The proposed Maharlika Wealth Fund (MWF) is patterned after the SWFs of 49 countries, including Singapore, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and East Timor.
The proposal is contained in House Bill (HB) 6398 that seeks the establishment of the MWF, which would draw resources primarily from contributions from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), Land Bank of the Philippines (Land Bank), and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
Meanwhile, Romualdez said the P1.5 billion allocation to the NBP is part of the P77-billion institutional amendments made by the lower chamber to augment the budget for education, health, transportation, and other critical social services.
“And the internet is a critical social service nowadays, as it is deeply entrenched in the way we live. We use the internet for education, for delivering and availing social services, for our businesses, and for almost every facet of our lives,” Romualdez said.
Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Zaldy Co, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, said the P1.5 billion that was allocated for the NBP will go a long way in jumpstarting the program that is envisioned to provide the backbone in providing internet to all government agencies nationwide.
Co said once the national broadband infrastructure is rolled out, the country can take advantage of a deal in which Facebook agreed to provide the Philippine government with spectrum equivalent to at least 2 million megabits per second (Mbps).
In other developments:
•The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a bill strengthening the anti-discrimination provisions under the Labor Code of the Philippines instituted to safeguard women employees.
The chamber, voting 248 votes, approved House Bill (HB) 4479 which amends Article 135 of Presidential Decree 442, as amended, (Article 133 under the renumbered version of the law), as well as Article 137 (Article 135 under the renumbered version).