PBBM marks it as urgent so Senate can pass it before ‘sine die’
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. certified as urgent the Senate version of the Maharlika Investment Fund Bill to ensure its passage before Congress adjourns sine die next week.
In his letter to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri dated May 22, Mr. Marcos tagged as high-priority Senate Bill 2020 or the proposed MIF bill.
“We will pass it next week,” Zubiri said in a text message.
Certifying the bill as urgent will allow the Senate to forgo the three-day rule as mandated by the 1987 Constitution between the proposed measure’s second and third reading.
Over the past few days, there have been daily session deliberations on the proposed MIF in the Senate.
The House of Representatives earlier passed its own version of the bill, which the President also certified as urgent.
The President cited in his letter “the downgrade of the global growth projection this year on account of debilitating inflation, fluctuating and unstable prices of crude oil and other fuels due to the protracted conflict between Ukraine and Russia, and continuing interest rate hikes in the international financial sector.”
“There is a compelling need for a sustainable national investment fund as a new growth catalyst to accelerate the implementation of strategic and high-impact large infrastructure projects that will stimulate activity and development,” he said.
In the Senate version of the bill, the fund’s initial capital will come from the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, dividends from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, and from the privatization of government assets.
The proposed Maharlika Investment Corporation will also be allowed to issue bonds.
There will also be limitations in relation to investments in real estate, which shall be limited to major capital projects, as endorsed by the National Economic and Development Authority Board, to ensure that these are in line with the socio-economic development programs of the government.
Other changes are new provisions with the forms of joint ventures and co-investments on the issuance of bonds as well as to the Board of Directors to reflect nine permanent members, instead of the original 15.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III, however, insisted he is not convinced of the need for an MIF.
“I have studied it for a long time and have tried to dig what’s really on their minds, but still I’m not convinced,” he said.
While it is a state-initiated investment, Pimentel said it can no longer be considered a “sovereign wealth fund’ or state investment fund because it will be open to the private sector.