Maharlika funding proposal must undergo scrutiny: Gatchalian


Posted at Jan 24 2023 10:56 AM

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The proposed re-engineered version of the Maharlika Wealth Fund, which will get seed money from government-owned and controlled corporations and an initial public offering afterward, defeats the purpose of a sovereign wealth fund, a lawmaker said on Tuesday.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said he was tasked to "re-engineer" the House version. He said funding is proposed to come from dividends of GOCCs. It will also be up for listing on the Philippine Stock Exchange.

While senators are open to the measure, it must first be deliberated, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said. 

"In my mind, the most important fundamental question is that do we have the funds to put in the sovereign wealth fund. And if we have the funds, is it enough to generate the returns," he said in an interview with ANC. 

"Raising money from the market to co-invest with the fund, I think that defeats the purpose of the sovereign wealth fund. A sovereign wealth fund is our sovereign wealth, meaning our own wealth from excess cash, resources, and investments that’s the whole concept, we have excess funds to invest and that excess funds will yield certain returns the next generation will invest," he added.

Using GOCC dividends, meanwhile, might take out some vital projects under the General Appropriations Act, Gatchalian said.

"As a concept, it can be done but we have to make sure that it will not hamper the priority projects inside the GAA… If we take out the dividends, we take out some amount inside the GAA that’s what we need to study care," he said.

Although Salceda said the re-engineered version was the one introduced to the international community during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday said the proposal "is not a viable option." 

“We cannot use the funds with the GOCC… Pera ng gobyerno ‘yun. What will the government spend?” Marcos told journalists.

Meanwhile, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman earlier said the revised version should be recalled and retackled by the House of Representatives.