The economic managers, led by Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, are seeking the approval of Senate Bill No. 2020 establishing the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) on third reading before session adjourns on June 2, 2023.
“The Maharlika Investment Fund bill is making significant progress in the Senate, and we hope to see it signed into law before the President’s second State of the Nation Address on July 24,” Secretary Diokno said.
Secretary Diokno, together with Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, attended the Senate plenary session on May 15, 2023 to show their full support during the period of interpellation and debate on the measure.
Senator Mark Villar, the sponsor of the bill, explained that the MIF will be able to generate bigger returns for the government, setting it apart from other Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations (GOCCs).
In response to the interpellation of Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Senator Villar further clarified that the returns from the Fund will maximize the government’s assets and generate robust returns that will be used to invest in flagship projects.
Senator Villar cited his previous experience as Secretary of Public Works and Highways, saying, “Ako po, galing po ako sa infrastructure dahil ako po yung dating Secretary of DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways], at nakita ko rin po na maraming infrastructure projects na nangangailangan ng karagdagang pondo at minsan hindi rin kaya ng GAA or General Appropriations Act ng gobyerno. Kaya kailangan natin magkaroon ng ibang fund sources.”
(I came from the infrastructure sector when I was the Secretary of the DPWH. I saw that there were a lot of infrastructure projects that needed additional funding when the GAA or General Appropriations Act cannot fund these projects anymore. This is why we need to have other fund sources.)
“Isa po itong additional source of funding na wala po tayo ngayon,” he added.
(This is an additional source of funding that we do not have now.)
The government’s funding sources for big-ticket projects usually come from foreign loans and internal funds through the National Budget.
The Sponsor also said that the MIF can collect equity investments from foreign and institutional investors.
On managing the Fund, Senator Grace Poe sought clarification on the qualifications and standards for the nine (9) Board of Directors, which will be further elaborated in the implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
Under the current bill, the Advisory Board, composed of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), shall recommend to the President the appointment of members of the Board of Directors.
The period of interpellation and debate will resume tomorrow, May 16, 2023.