PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. announced on Monday that private money may be used for the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), but gave assurances that safeguards will be in place so it cannot be used for money laundering.
Marcos made the remarks amid concerns by some lawmakers that the MIF can be misused or could drain the government of much-needed funds.
“Yes, private money will be involved in the fund, but it is not [like] a savings account,” Marcos said in an exclusive panel interview with television networks.
He said the use of the fund will be project-specific to ensure it will be properly used.
During the interview, he also explained that the MIF, which will be created via a new law, will only serve as “seed fund” for the country’s sovereign wealth fund.
The President also stressed that he is lukewarm to the proposal made during the 2023 World Economic Forum last week that funds from government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) be used to finance the MIF.
“You cannot use funds from the GOCCs. That is the money of the government. So what will the government spend?” Marcos said.
“I don’t think that is a viable proposition. At least not for us,” he added.
Marcos urged Congress to pass the legislation creating the MIF since he said it will help boost the country’s capability to invest in much needed projects in infrastructure and energy.
The House of Representatives (HOR) already passed on third and final reading its House Bill (HB) No. 6608 or the Maharlika Investment Fund Act last month.
However, the Senate has yet to pass its own version of the bill.
Marcos said the Senate leadership already committed they will pass their MIF bill by Holy Week in April, but stressed that he would rather have them go over it very carefully.
“My message to the Senate is for them to study [the bill] well so that it will be the best version . . . it is better for the bill to be done thoroughly, than hastily made,” Marcos said.