MANILA, PHILIPPINES — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed the Maharlika Investment Fund on Tuesday, despite warnings from some economists and lawmakers that it may put the Philippines at an economic risk.
Republic Act (RA) 11954 establishes that MIF, is supposed to become a tool to make profitable and strategic investments in certain sectors. The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has approved 194 infrastructure projects, and the government anticipates that the wealth fund would be used as a tool to hasten their execution.
During Marcos’ speech, he described the fund as an “extremely important measure” and “bold step” to strengthen the economy post-pandemic.
Marcos approved the bill seven months after the idea was presented to him at the House of Representatives, with his cousin House Speaker Martin Romualdez, presidential son and Senior Deputy Majority Leader Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro Marcos, and four other solons filing the MIF bill.
During the signing of the bill, Marcos reassured that the wealth fund will be politicized or misused and maintained that it needs to fund investments that would make the Philippines competitive in a post-pandemic economy.
Under the law, the capital will come from the investible funds of the Lank Bank of the Philippines, the Development Bank of the Philippines, and declared dividends of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
“For the first time in the history of the Philippines we now have a sovereign wealth fund designed to drive economic development,” Marcos said.
“Through the fund, we will leverage on a small fraction of the considerable but underutilized investable funds of government and stimulate the economy without the disadvantage of adding additional fiscal and debt burden,” he added.
“Structurally, we removed the political decisions from the fund, and those political decisions are left with the bureaucracy, the political bureaucracy, and the fund is left to be a fund and operating on a sound and proactive financial basis,” Marcos stated.
Marcos stressed that the MIF would only be successful if managed correctly, stating that the country has the best economic managers both in government and in the private sector.
Marcos has removed himself and the finance chief from the board so that the decisions regarding the MIF will not be due to the effect of politics. – WhatALife!/Zain