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Dropping BSP, DBP as a reliable source of Maharlika funding: solon

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The recently “improved” Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) was applauded by a senator on Tuesday, who noted that this version will be more feasible and sustainable.

Party-list Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera said that the financing sources for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Development Bank of the Philippines had been removed from the updated bill on the sovereign wealth fund.

Herrera claimed that there would be significantly fewer legal and financial issues if the number of fund sources was restricted to a portion, rather than all of the dividends, of a select group of government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), whose dividends are not reserved or restricted by law.

The removal of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Development Bank of the Philippines as funding sources is a “positive development,” according to Herrera. “It is feasible, sustainable, and has significantly fewer legal and financial obstacles to source from certain of the GOCCs, and only in part.”

The transfer of the GOCC dividends from their current uses as a part of the General Fund and Special Purpose Funds to the proposed sovereign wealth investment fund, according to her, would have an impact on which agencies and to what extent.

“Having all of this information will help Congress get ready for the 2024 budget cycle. To ensure that the most crucial budgets for the Filipino people are maintained and fully supported, awareness of this is required, she continued.

Meanwhile, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. reiterated his appeal for Congress to carefully consider the planned MIF, saying that doing it incorrectly would be “a very bad error.”

Marcos remarked this in response to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri’s prediction that the MIF legislation will be approved by the upper house after Holy Week in March.

On December 15 of last year, the House of Representatives enacted House Bill (HB) 6608, also known as the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) Act. On Dec. 19, it was delivered to the Senate.

“Ninyo suriin ng mabuti. Always, more beautiful than the others in the long madaling panahon, yet impossible to ignore due of its importance. In an interview with a few reporters on Monday at Malacaang Palace, Marcos remarked, “Of course, it is ideal to finish as soon as possible, but it should not be rushed because it is very important.

“Mas importante na maging tama kaysa maging mabilis” (Being correct is more crucial than being swift). We must do it correctly. Making a mistake here would be extremely detrimental, he continued.

Marcos concurred with the parliamentarians in noting that it is against the law to use funds from GOCCs for the proposed sovereign fund.

“You are not permitted to use GOCC monies. What will the government do with that pera ng gobyerno (that’s government money)? It is a suggestion. We have not adopted it,” he declared.

He claimed that the concept of using GOCC funds for the proposed MIF was first floated in Davos, Switzerland, but that after speaking with Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, he was “lukewarm” about the notion.

Rep. Edcel Lagman of the Albay First District had earlier claimed that the “re-engineered” MIF bill would violate a 1993 statute requiring GOCCs to give the government of the country half of their profits.

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