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National Treasurer supports creation of a government wealth fund

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The proposed Maharlika Wealth Fund (MWF) is supported by National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon, who also points to the eight safety provisions that safeguard public monies.

“We support the requests to analyze the law to ensure that risks management is in place,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.

This, is as objections have been raised regarding the proposed sovereign wealth fund, sponsored by House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, due to issues on budgetary leeway, independence of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and transparency, among others.

Citing the proposed bill, de Leon stated among the safeguards of the MWF include the rigorous adherence to the Santiago Principles, which promotes openness, good governance, accountability, and smart investing practices.

The application of applicable laws, rules, and regulations on all financial transactions, she said, as well as internal audit, with the latter aiming to use the services of internationally renowned auditing organizations, among others, as well as the Commission on Audit, were also mentioned in the plan (COA).
“The books and accounts of the MWF must be subject to the review and audit of the Commission on Audit pursuant to Article IX of the 1987 Philippine Constitution,” she added.

De Leon underlined the development of an Advisory Body, which will be represented by the Secretaries of the Department of Finance (DOF) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the National Treasurer, and the Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) (NEDA).
She added the proposed law also mentioned the necessity for a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC), to be constituted of five members each of the House of Representatives and the Senate, to monitor and review the wealth fund’s operation.

De Leon said the precise clause that forbids needless withdrawals from the Fund before 2028 and withdrawals beyond that period should be in line with the standards provided by the Board or the proposed measure’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) (IRR).

“We agree that we need to ensure that all these protections are in place for the security of the people’s funds. However, I think we should be able to move through with the Maharlika Wealth Fund with the right safety precautions because this would ultimately help our people, she continued.

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