by: Daneil Anthony Cerdeña || Photo Credit: Rappler
On December 15, 2022, House Bill No. 6608, also known as the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) bill, was approved in its third and final reading at the House of Representatives. The MIF bill is a policy that employs citizens, promotes trade, expands infrastructure, and aims to establish the role of various investments in financial assets. With a staggering approval rate of over 95%, the bill was approved days before the Congress’ recess from December 17, 2022, to January 22, 2022. Notably, all legislators voted on this bill and had no abstaining voters.
Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Majority Floor Leader and Zamboanga City 2nd District Representative Manuel Jose Dalipe, Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos, Marikina 2nd District Representative Stella Luz Quimbo, and Tingog-Partylist Representatives Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre are among those who authored the MIF bill. Their association led to the establishment of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) Corporation.
“The proposed sovereign wealth fund will help President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. keep the country on the high-growth path,” principal author Martin Romauldez stated.
As a sovereign wealth fund of the Philippines, the MIF Corporation will have a capital of over 75 billion pesos coming from the Land Bank of the Philippines, the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp (PAGCOR), and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as the MIF contributors.
However, the MIF bill has met criticism from its content to its approval. President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. categorized the MIF bill as something urgent, leading to its swift approval in the House of Representatives due to the provisions of Article VI, Section 26 (2) of the 1987 Constitution.
“There is no necessity to certify as urgent the Maharlika Investment Fund. It is not needed by the people who are already deep [in] debt,” voiced France Castro, representative of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Partylist. She also highlighted the public’s outcry by expressing that organizations, economists, academics, and more have opposed a bill “that prioritizes an investment fund over budget for social services even with a deficit budget.”
In an interview, Co-author Sandro Marcos remarked that although the President favors the bill, he did not spearhead its proposal.
“Yes, it became apparent that the President was in support of creating a sovereign wealth fund, but it didn’t— the idea did not come from him per se because this is something that has been in the works or something that has been pushed by not even this administration but administrations past,” he expounded.
“The intention of sovereign wealth funds is very laudable,” Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr. expressed his views.
“Indeed, Mr. Speaker, putting up a sovereign wealth fund through Maharlika Investment Fund can be beneficial to the country IF done properly and [at] the right time,” Bordado Jr. added, pointing out that the MIF bill was created at the wrong time.