MANILA -- The Senate panel tasked to deliberate on the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) held its last hearing Monday as senators seek more clarification regarding the contentious measure.
The Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies conducted 3 hearings on the various measures seeking to establish the country’s first sovereign wealth fund.
"A lot of good things came out [from the hearings], a lot of insights. There are still many details that have to be threshed out about the bill. We will refer the bill to the technical working group (TWG) so we can harmonize the various concerns brought up during the hearings," said Sen. Mark Villar, chairperson of the panel.
The TWG will begin its work Wednesday, Villar said.
During the final hearing, Sen. Win Gatchalian sought clarification regarding the representation of private investors in the creation of the Maharlika Investment Fund.
"Will private equity be attracted to that? They are very particular at representation at the board obviously to protect their investments," he noted.
National Treasurer Rosalia De Leon said they are looking at limiting the participation of private contributors to prevent them from having majority control over the Maharlika fund.
Meanwhile, Sen. Risa Hontiveros asked for the opinion of the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) on the impact of sourcing the MIF from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), and Landbank of the Philippines (LBP).
“A proposition from one of the BAP members told me that a Maharlika fund will only undermine the glide back to a more manageable level of indebtedness projected in the government-owned medium-term fiscal framework,” Hontiveros said.
In the version of the Maharlika bill filed in the Senate, the MIF will be funded through a P50 billion contribution from the LBP, P25 billion from the DBP, while the BSP will remit 100 percent of its dividends for 2 years to the Fund.
In the previous hearing, Foundation for Economic Freedom President Calixto Chikiamco said funding the sovereign fund "undermines and weakens" the BSP.
Economists also earlier pointed out that the success of a sovereign wealth fund largely depends on its managers, the funding sources that usually come from surpluses, and a corruption-free government.
The House of Representatives approved the MIF bill on final reading in December 2022.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has dubbed the MIF a priority.
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