MANILA — The government can pool more of its resources to its social programs if the Maharlika Investment Fund is created, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Saturday.
Budget Undersecretary Joselito Basilio said the proposed sovereign fund would put “less fiscal pressures” on the national government since it would no longer fund big-ticket projects on its own.
The Marcos administration currently has 194 infrastructure projects pegged at P9 trillion. Completion of projects like these could be fast-tracked if these are “profitable” for the Maharlika Investment Fund.
“That means less fiscal pressures, less need for the national government… on these kind of infrastructures and that means mayroon tayong more fiscal space,” Basilio said in a media briefing in Quezon City.
“Meaning iyong natitirang pera o resources ng gobyerno mas maibibigay natin doon sa missionary areas, mas maibibigay natin doon sa intervention para sa social protection ng mga vulnerable sectors and at the same time iyong mga pangangailangan din sa buildings at iba pa,” he added.
“Yun ang inaasahang direct and indirect effects ng pagkakaroon ng Maharlika Fund designed as this.”
National Treasurer Rosalia De Leon agreed with the budget official.
De Leon said the MIC’s creation would also prevent the government from being in debt just to fund its infrastructure programs, since the national government is “operating on a fiscal deficit” already.
“Dito po mababawasan pa iyong pressure na pangungutang dahil nga po the Maharlika is equity investments,” the national treasurer said.
“Para pa rin po na they will be the one to be able to take on the funding requirements of these priority projects together with the investments coming from the private capital,” she added.
“Mapi-free up yung fiscal space na puwede nga pong mapunta sa mga social projects na dapat ginagawa po ng gobyerno.”
Should this happen, Basilio said national projects would no longer be politicized.
An economist earlier criticized Maharlika Investment Fund, as there was still confusion over what kind of fund it is and its purpose.
Enrico Villanueva, senior lecturer of money and banking at the University of the Philippines - Los Baños, said there were provisions in the measure that appeared to go against the law, particularly in funding sources compromising state-owned and controlled banks and even the central bank's capital adequacy.
The 19th Congress passed the measure before adjourning its First Regular Session. The bill now only needs President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s signature to become law.