Cong Joey responds to Imee’s worries on ‘Maharlika’ fund

Published December 3, 2022, 4:28 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda said Saturday, Dec. 3 that he would welcome further discussion on House Bill (HB) No.6398 or the proposed Maharlika Wealth Fund (MWF) from the upper chamber.

Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda (left) and Senator Imee Marcos (Facebook)

This, after presidential sister Senator Imee Marcos aired corcerns over the proposed Philippine sovereign wealth fund amid the current economic hardships.

“As chair of the House TWG (technical working group) on the bill, I welcome continued discussion on the matter. I am sure Senator Marcos will also be very active in discussions once the Senate begins hearings on the bill,” he said in a statement.

“The bill will still go through deliberations in both Houses and the Senate, I believe, has already constituted a study group on the matter,” noted Salceda, an economist.

The Salceda-led TWG had amended HB No.6398 before it was approved by the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries last Thursday.

But the Bicolano, who has become the de facto spokesman of the House of Representatives on the MWF, has said that the measure continues to evolve.

“We can discuss the mix of assets that the fund will invest in, but some allocation for foreign securities is necessary. It diversifies the portfolio and allows the fund to take positions in potentially higher-return investments,” he said.

“A fund that grows faster due to some exposure to high-return foreign investments is better than a smaller and severely constrained fund exclusively investing in domestic investments,” added Salceda.

“That said, I would welcome a proposal to ensure that a certain percentage, at the minimum, of the fund should be invested in domestic investments,” he said, referring to the MWF, which will have a start up of P275 billion to be pooled by certain government financial institutions (GFIs).

As to specifying which investments are allowed per GFI, the veteran lawmaker said this might not be possible under the current configuration.

“Pooling of funds is a key feature and advantage of the current proposal, since it maximizes the impact that GFIs can make compared to what they can achieve on their own,” he said.

“That said, we can prioritize certain investments in agriculture, infrastructure, and healthcare,” he bared.