Sen. Mark Villar files Maharlika Investment Fund counterpart bill in Senate


Posted at Jan 23 2023 06:50 PM | Updated as of Jan 23 2023 09:31 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - A version of the bill creating the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) has been filed by Senator Mark Villar, the lawmaker said on Monday.

Villar said that last Jan. 12, he filed Senate Bill No. 1670 or "An Act Establishing the Maharlika Investment Fund, Providing for the Management, Investment and Use of the Proceeds of the Fund, and for Other Purposes."

Under the proposed measure, the MIF will be funded through a P50 billion contribution from the Land Bank of the Philippines, P25 billion from the Development Bank of the Philippines, while the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will remit 100 percent of its dividends for 2 years to the Fund. 

Other government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) such as PAGCOR will also be tapped for contributions.

The bill also proposes the establishment of a Maharlika Investment Corp (MIC) to manage the fund. Meanwhile, a Maharlika Investment Fund Joint Congressional Oversight Committee will also be created to oversee, monitor and evaluate the implementation, the bill stated. 

The MIF will be allowed to invest in the following:

  • Cash, foreign currencies, metals and other tradable commodities.
  • Fixed income instruments 
  • Domestic-foreign corporate bonds
  • Listed, unlisted equities
  • Islamic investments gaya ng Sukuk bonds
  • Joint ventures, co-investments
  • Mutual and exchange-traded funds
  • Commercial real estate at infrastructure projects
  • Loans and guarantees
  • Other investments approved by the board of directors

The fund will not be allowed to invest in:

  • Activities that violate human rights including those of indigenous peoples
  • Activities that harm the environment

According to Villar’s bill, 25 percent of the income of the MIC will be used for subsidies to support families living below the poverty line or around 20 million Filipinos.
Villar’s bill says poor families with 5 members can receive P12,030 a month from the income of the MIC. 
The remainder will be used for social welfare programs and not infrastructure projects.

Senator Mark Villar files a bill seeking the establishment of Maharlika Investment Fund

A version of the MIF was earlier approved by the House of Representatives.

However, Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda said in an interview with ANC's Headstart last Friday that he and other experts had "re-engineered" the bill to remove the DBP and the BSP as funding sources.

Salceda said this was the version introduced to the international community during President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr's participation in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Under the new version, funds will come from the dividends of GOCCs after which, the fund will be up for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Philippine Stock Exchange, Salceda said. 

But Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman on Monday said the "re-engineered" MIF must be recalled since it has not been deliberated by the House of Representatives. 

Using the dividends of GOCCs to fund the MIF violates a 1993 law that mandates GOCCs to remit 50 percent of dividends to support the national budget and fund social causes. The other 50 percent is for GOCC operations, he said. Therefore there is no surplus that can be invested, Lagman said.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian also expreseed reservations about using GOCC dividends. 

“Yung dividends kasi from GOCC pumupunta sa GAA [General Approriations Act]. Nagagamit natin yan for schools, for roads so kung tinanggal natin yan mawawala sa GAA. So we have to look at also kung anong mga projects ang pwedeng matamaan kapag nawala ang dividends from GOCC,” he pointed out.

Gatchalian also said Salceda’s proposal to mount an IPO for the Maharlika fund will make it more “balanced.” 

“Kasi kung government lang, walang magche-check sa kanya kundi COA [Commission on Audit] lang, actually COA lang. But with private sector, they can act as check and balance for each other. 

Lagman meanwhile said the Maharlika bill remains "embryonic" and riddled with "hasty legislation."

-- with reports from Robert Mano and Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News


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