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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sept. 5, 2023 (Photo: Presidential Communications Office)

Marcos halts Maharlika Fund implementation pending review

by Carl Santos

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has suspended the implementation of the Maharlika Investment Fund Law pending review, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Marcos gave the directive on October 12 in a memorandum issued by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin to the Bureau of the Treasury, the Land Bank of the Philippines, and the Development Bank of the Philippines.

”President Marcos issued a suspension because he wanted to study the IRR (implementing rules and regulations) carefully to ensure that the purpose of the fund will be realized for the country’s development with safeguards in place for transparency and accountability,” the Office of the Executive Secretary said in a statement.

Reacting to the development, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III said the Marcos administration ”appears to listen to reason.”

”Very good development. The law has a lot of defects. The concept has not been fully studied from the very start. Hence, we should not wonder why apparently the law is not ready for implementation,” he said.

Albay Representative Joey Salceda said the suspension was a presidential prerogative.

”The letter of the law will still be followed without exception. But the IRR should anticipate future issues. If he sees issues in the Executive branch’s IRR draft, he can resolve them. [It’s] better to do so before full implementation,” Salceda said. 

”We are still on track to get the ball rolling by the end of this year. With the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) Code to be enacted this year, I also expect very direct investments in development projects in 2024. Don’t overthink this. It’s the Executive Branch working things out among themselves, as is proper at this stage of the law’s implementation,” he added. 

Marcos signed Republic Act 11954 in July despite opposition from some quarters, which questioned the necessity of a sovereign wealth fund in light of the government’s budget deficit and expressed concerns about the possibility of corruption.

The MIF aims to execute and sustain high-impact infrastructure and development projects, ease fiscal constraints, and maximize expected returns for the country’s investments, according to the Marcos administration’s economic managers.

They said that safeguards have been put in place based on the version passed by Congress, such as the formation of a risk management committee to make sure that adequate steps are taken to achieve a prudent balance between risk and reward in both continuing and new business activity, as well as congressional oversight.

It also bars government-owned and controlled corporations that provide social security and health benefits from investing in the Maharlika Investment Corporation (MIC). 

The MIF will have a P500 billion authorized capital stock, P125 billion of which will initially come from investible funds of specific government financial institutions (Landbank: P50 billion; DBP: P25 billion), and the remaining P50 billion will come from contributions from the national government.

The fund will be managed by the MIC, which has a nine-member board chaired by the Secretary of Finance. 

A petition challenging the law’s constitutionality was filed by Bayan Muna and Pimentel with the Supreme Court in September.



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