MANILA—Senator Imee Marcos on Friday expressed apprehension over the proposed creation of a sovereign wealth fund for the country.
Marcos was referring to House Bill 6398—penned by a group of administration congressmen led by her cousin House Speaker Martin Romualdez and nephew Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro Marcos—which seeks to create the SWF which, once becomes a law, will be dubbed as the "Maharlika Investment Fund" (MIF).
While admitting that she has yet to read the bill, the mere idea itself gives Sen. Marcos jitters.
“Ako kinakabahan pagkat sa panahong ito, ang sama ng ekonomiya. Pati ang World Bank sabi bagsak na bagsak sa susunod na taon sa 2023, sa kalagitnaan lalala pa raw. Diyos ko, papaano na lang tayo pagkatapos alam natin na lumolobo ang utang ng Pilipinas?” she said.
Extra funds, if they are really available, should be used in advancing the government’s social services, like those designed for senior citizens, and payment to health care workers, the senator said.
Investing funds reportedly dedicated to the retirement and pension of GSIS and SSS members is “risky,” Marcos said.
“Sa tingin ko nakakatakot yata ipusta yung retirement fund yung pension fund ng GSIS. Nakakatakot yata, wag i-invest,” she said.
“Sana kung meron tayong pang-invest, doon na natin ilagay para bumagsak ang presyo kasi tama ba 'yung panahon ngayon na magi-invest ka medyo kahit papaano high risk yan pagkat ang sama sama ng ekonomiya ng buong mundo. Isa pa kailangan pag usapan sino maghahandle niyan?" she added.
Questions like who will manage the investment fund and how they will handle it must also be fully explained, she emphasized.
Marcos also cited what happened in Malaysia, wherein the country's sovereign wealth fund was used for anomalies, something which she said must not occur in the Philippines.
“Kaya pag-isipan nating maigi kung ito ba ay talagang tamang panahon, kung handa ba ang Pilipinas para sa sariling sovereign fund ngayon,” she said.
Lawmakers and economists have expressed their concerns about the proposed MIF, saying it is not the right time for the Philippines to have a sovereign wealth fund as inflation is severely hitting the country's economy.