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MIF receives Senate approval but is now under bicam scrutiny

With 19 votes in favor, one against, and one abstention, the Senate passed Senate Bill (SB) 2020, also known as the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) Bill, at precisely two in the morning on Wednesday.

This came after the proposal underwent a marathon of revisions in the plenary after Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III expressed some reservations in his turno en contra address on Tuesday afternoon, claiming the measure was “unjustified and unneeded.”

The MIF, which Senator Mark Villar is supporting, aims to create the Maharlika Investment Corporation (MIC), which “shall act as the sole vehicle to mobilize and utilize the MIF for investments in transactions to generate optimal returns on investments (ROIs).”

Maintaining the nation’s economic growth, it is also anticipated to support the government’s overarching objectives of reviving job creation and quickening the decrease of poverty.

Villar listed several advantages that the nation will experience if the MIF bill is signed into law during the interrogations.

“The MIF bill has been carefully examined and researched. To ensure that the version will benefit the Filipino people, we revised it and included extra safeguards, he said.

According to Villar, the many advantages of the proposed policy are the job possibilities that would be brought about by the infrastructure projects that the fund will assist in supporting.

According to him, the legislation will “promote economic growth since better infrastructure leads to more efficient transportation, communication, and other systems.”

“Also, this will be a vehicle to reduce poverty; this would help the government manage its budget and mitigate fiscal pressures during economic downturns as it acts as a safety net for the country,” he said.

According to Villar, the MIF could finance infrastructure projects in various industries, including energy and agriculture.

According to him, the purpose of the Maharlika is to create jobs and attract capital to underdeveloped industries.

The MIF is a sovereign wealth fund that will be used to invest in various assets, including foreign currencies, fixed-income instruments, domestic and foreign corporate bonds, commercial real estate, and infrastructure projects. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has certified the MIF as “urgent.” The fund is anticipated to bring in money for the government and support economic growth.

According to SB 2020, the MIC must have its main office in Metro Manila, while it may also keep branches and agencies in other cities inside and outside the nation.

The Philippine government, its agencies, and instrumentalities, such as government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) or government financial institutions (GFIs), except for the Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund, may subscribe to its common shares, which have an authorized capital stock of PHP500 billion and a par value of PHP3.75 billion.

The fund will receive contributions totaling PHP50 billion from the Landbank of the Philippines (Landbank), the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), and the national government.

Senators and House of Representatives members quickly discussed the MIF bill by calling a bicameral conference on Wednesday to iron out the differences between the Senate and House of Representatives versions of the measure.

Translation into Filipino

Senator Robinhood Padilla made reference to the requirement that documentation about MIF and MIC be translated into Filipino, made available to the public, and understood by regular Filipinos during the amendments phase of the measure early on Wednesday.

He referred to Section 6, Art. 14 of the Constitution of 1987, which requires the government to “take steps to initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication and as the language of instruction in the educational system.”

Villar agreed to his proposition and his request that a copy of the legislation be published in a publication with a wide readership in the Philippines after it has been approved and signed into law.

Leave politics alone

On Wednesday morning, just before the bicameral conference on the MIF bill began, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano went live on Facebook. He urged detractors to be impartial in evaluating the proposal.

“A senator close to former President Aquino filed this in 2016, and I wondered to myself, what if this was a priority under Duterte? I therefore evaluate the bill objectively, asking myself, “Why would it be bad if it were under the Marcos administration, if it were good for the Aquino administration, or if it were good for the Duterte administration?” said Cayetano.

Villar, who was present with him at the bicameral conference in Makati City, was also defended by him for sponsoring the MIF bill.

“(He was not required to defend this) Hindi naman siya napilitan lang i-defend to. Keep in mind that Mark is a financial expert. Before his career in government service, he is a successful businessman. I recall that he received his master’s degree from Singapore, eh? He is, therefore, knowledgeable about finance, both academically and practically, Cayetano stated.

He also emphasized his neutral stance on the proposal, reminding the legislators of the Senate’s responsibility to approve a bill with the necessary protections.

Accordingly, there was neither abuse nor exploitation of the Masama. The purpose of public funds is to benefit the general population, specifically to prevent misuse or ill intent. He continued, “This means that the public cash would only be used for the public.

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