By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

(File photo)

MANILA – The government will make sure that the plan to create the country’s first-ever sovereign wealth fund will suit the needs of the Philippines and will be set up depending on the current situation of the country, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Friday.

Marcos gave the assurance, as he noted that the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) is currently under review by Congress to make sure that its establishment would reap significant benefits for the country.

“We have to design it very specifically to the Philippine condition. And that’s what the legislators are trying to do now – to make sure na babagay para sa atin (that it will be suitable for us) and it will be a good thing for us. So that’s the process that we’re undergoing now,” Marcos said in a media interview before departing Switzerland.

The President made a soft launch of the MIF during the Philippines’ Country Strategy Dialogue at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.

The proposal to create the MIF for the Philippines gained support from WEF participants, as Marcos noted that the fund would be used to diversify the country’s financial portfolio.

He said there was even a suggestion from a business leader to raise money for the proposed wealth fund through an initial public offering (IPO), a process that allows a private corporation to sell its shares of stock to the public for the first time.

He said he would gauge if the recommendation would be appropriate for the country.

“You know, going on about the fund, the more we study it, the more it is clear that although the sovereign wealth funds around the world have the same name, they’re all very different,” Marcos said. “They’re different in purpose, they’re different in methodology and of course, they operate in a different context of law.”

House Bill (HB) 6608 or the proposed MIF Act seeks the establishment of an independent fund that adheres to the principles of good governance, transparency, and accountability.

According to the proposed measure, the MIF shall be sourced from the investible funds of select government financial institutions (GFIs), contributions of the national government, declared dividends of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and other funding sources.

The proposed MIF shall be used to invest on a strategic and commercial basis in a manner designed to promote fiscal stability for economic development and strengthen the top-performing GFIs through additional investment platforms that will help attain the national government’s priority plans, the bill states.

HB 6608, certified by Marcos as urgent, was approved by the House of Representatives on final reading on Dec. 15, 2022, and was transmitted to the Senate on Dec. 19, 2022.

Marcos, in a breakfast meeting with top international chief executive officers on the sidelines of the WEF on Wednesday, also assured the “professional” management of the MIF, which is expected to encourage more public-private partnerships. (PNA)