Marcos son defends bill creating Maharlika Investment Fund
Presidential son and Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro Marcos on Monday defended a bill that seeks to establish the country’s sovereign wealth fund.
Sandro, one of the principal authors of House Bill (HB) 6398, said the creation of the Maharlika Investment Fund was being “politicized”.
“We are not controlling the pension of Filipinos, I think that might’ve been just a misunderstanding or maybe this is political,” Sandro said in a TV interview.
“The whole point of this, and you can see it’s been politicized, but the whole point of this is that it's free from politics. It will run like a private corporation, hopefully, by technocrats that know what they’re doing, to be able to make sure that the government's money is used properly and invested the right way,” he added.
Sandro had filed the proposed measure with his uncle, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, with four other lawmakers.
He stressed that although his father, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. will be the chairperson of the Maharlika Investment Fund, people have to “look beyond this administration.”
Sandro explained the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund was “not a new idea”, citing other lawmakers that had previously filed similar measures.
“It became apparent that the President was in support of creating a sovereign wealth fund but the idea did not come from him per se. Because this is something that has been in the works or something that's been pushed by not even this administration but past administrations," he said.
“It just so happens that we are lucky because the administration just started. So we have six years to hopefully be able to craft a piece of legislation that will see out and go beyond the President’s term,” he added.
House Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo backed the creation of the sovereign wealth fund, saying its success depends on the “quality of its management.”
In a statement released Monday, Arroyo said: “The success of any fund, whether sovereign or private lies in the quality of its management.”
“In the current version of the Maharlika Investment Fund, the President of the Philippines chairs its governing board. This is a powerful statement that the highest official of the land will hold himself as ultimately accountable to the Filipino people for the performance of the fund,” she added.
The Maharlika Investment Fund would source its money mainly from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), Land Bank of the Philippines (Land Bank), and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
It would be used to fund priority government projects and other assets.
The bill was approved at the committee level in the House Committee on Banks and Intermediaries last week.
The Ways and Means Committee, which is chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda is deliberating on the bill.
Several lawmakers have opposed the measure, including presidential sister and Senator Imee Marcos who said it was “scary” and “high-risk” to use the funds GSIS and SSS pensioners to invest in the sovereign wealth fund. Jaspearl Tan/DMS