Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday guaranteed that the Senate will carefully study the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) even before the same call was made by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“That’s what I’ve been saying from the beginning– to carefully study it,” Zubiri said.
He said the Senate will start with the House version of the MIF and propose perfecting amendments to it. “We will tackle this one step at a time but will not delay the process,” he also said.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III also supports Mr. Marcos’ call on the MIF.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said what appeared to be a “soft launch” of the government’s sovereign wealth fund in Davos, Switzerland is “premature” and that she has “reservations” in the “re-engineered” MIF Bill.
However, Hontiveros said she was “pleasantly surprised” with the President’s remark that he is yet to accept the “re-engineered version” of the MIF.
Independent Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay expressed elation over Mr. Marcos’s stand on the proposed use of dividends from government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) as seed money for the MIF.
“I am happy and thankful that President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. agrees with my position that the GOCC dividends should not be utilized as seed money for funding the [MIF] because these dividends are traditionally and legally used as additional revenues to finance the GAA, more particularly basic socio-economic services on health, education, food security, employment generation, and infrastructure development,” Lagman said. Bagong Henerasyon Party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera also welcomed the recent “improvements” made to the proposed MIF, noting that this version would be more doable and sustainable.
Herrera said the revised bill on the sovereign wealth fund has dropped the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Development Bank of the Philippines as funding sources.
Herrera said limiting the number of fund sources to a part, not all the dividends, of a select list of GOCCs whose dividends are not reserved or restricted by law would entail much fewer legal and financial complications.
The President earlier renewed his call for Congress to thoroughly review the proposed MIF, citing that getting it wrong would be “a very bad mistake.”
Mr. Marcos made this remark after Zubiri said he expects the bill establishing the MIF to be passed by the upper chamber on final reading after the Holy Week in March.
The House of Representatives passed House Bill (HB) 6608 or the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) Act on its third and final reading on Dec. 15 last year. It was transmitted to the Senate on Dec. 19. important),” Marcos said in an interview with select reporters at Malacañang Palace on Monday.