MANILA - Senator Joel Villanueva on Tuesday said state-led pension funds like the GSIS and SSS can still invest in projects backed by the Maharlika Investment Fund even if they can't invest in the MIF itself.
Villanueva, who is also Senate Majority Floor leader, said the Maharlika bill passed by Congress allows state-led pension funds to enter into joint venture projects with the Maharlika Investment Corporation (MIC), the state-led company that manages the MIF.
"Ito 'yung powerplant, for example. Ito si MIC, pumasok si MIC dito sa powerplant. Si GSIS, pumasok din dito sa powerplant. Nag-joint venture sila para pumasok dito. Ito okay 'yun, legit. Ang hindi tama ay itong si GSIS, pumunta kay Maharlika para pumasok sa isang project," he told reporters.
He said pension funds already have strict protocols on where they may invest and may only enter into projects approved by proper government agencies, like NEDA, and viable projects.
When asked if the MIC was keen on investing in small businesses, the senator said that Maharlika would focus on big-ticket projects.
"It was clear during the interpellations and debate that Maharlika would invest in big-ticket projects na may returns... mga flagship programs na may returns... Ang effect naman nito talaga, in totality, 'yung holistic approach ng pamahalaan para tulungan ang ating ekonomiya na mag-move, maka-attract ng more foreign investors," he explained.
Villanueva also stressed the importance of monitoring the Implementing Rules and Regulations when the proposed MIF Act is passed into law.
However, Villanueva said the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund has yet to be transmitted to Malacañang.
The senator explained that there are still "finishing touches" being done to the copy of the measure to further clarify the essence of its provisions.
This includes the 10-year prescription for crimes punishable under the proposed legislation.
Villanueva explained a copy of the bill will be sent to the Palace if it has already been certified as corrected by the Senate secretary and Secretary General of the House of Representatives, and signed by the Senate President and House Speaker.
He said this process is within the rules of the Senate, and part of the "perfecting amendments."
Still, he expects President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to mention the Maharlika Investment Fund in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).
"No less than the president himself asked us to pass this right away... I expect it to be part of the SONA, and I expect him to be happier with the version of the Senate," Villanueva said.