MANILA — A senator who voted in favor of establishing the the country's first sovereign wealth fund defended the controversial measure on Thursday.
Speaking to ANC, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said the main purpose of the bill creating the Maharlika Investment Fund is very clear.
"The declaration of policy is very clear—for economic development, to reduce poverty... The bill is very clear in terms of the direction," he told "Headstart".
"The Maharlika Investment Fund has a two-fold objective. One is to invest in infrastructure and number 2, invest in profitable infrastructure so that it will get returns that can go back to the economy," he added.
The bill now only needs President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s signature to become law.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday adopted Senate Bill 2020 or the Senate's version of the bill.
The 19th Congress passed the measure before adjourning its First Regular Session.
One of the major changes of the bill is keeping state pension funds out in the proposed sovereign wealth fund.
Marcos on Wednesday also allayed concerns over the sources of funding. But he also said he sees nothing wrong with state pension funds investing in the MIF.
The country's economic managers have insisted the MIF would greatly benefit the Philippine economy.
They have asserted the MIF would provide government with a longtime source of income and ease the burden of the national government by providing additional funding for priority projects.
Business groups, opposition leaders and other critics had warned the fund's first version could deplete worker pensions and stoke corruption through reckless investment decisions.
— With a report from Agence France-Presse