DBCC assures ‘enough safeguards’ for Maharlika fund

Published December 6, 2022, 3:29 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), an inter-agency body tasked to set the government’s macroeconomic assumptions, assured that the planned sovereign wealth fund will have enough safeguards.

Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman, who chairs the DBCC, assured that enough safeguards will be put in place to ensure accountability and transparency in managing the Maharlika Wealth Fund (MWF).

Pangadaman said MWF will abide to the Santiago Principles of the International Working Group of Sovereign Wealth Funds, and establish a three-layer mechanism for checks and balances.

MWF will also have internal audit, external audit, as well as examination and audit by the Commission on Audit, Pangandaman said.

Additionally, there will be an executive department reportorial requirement which will be implemented together with congressional oversight, she added.

Pangandaman, meanwhile, underscored the benefits of institutionalizing the MWF.

She said the fund will be used by the government to invest in a wide range of outlets, such as foreign currencies, fixed-income instruments, domestic and foreign corporate bonds, commercial real estate, and infrastructure projects, among others.

Moreover, Pangandaman said the MWF will help the Marcos administration achieve its agenda for prosperity.

Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said the country should have had the sovereign wealth fund a long time ago to set aside funds for the future generations.

According to Diokno, the government’s share in the Malampaya Fund should be earmarked for the sovereign wealth fund.

Likewise, royalties from mining projects should used for the fund, the finance chief said.

Wick Veloso, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) president and general manager also believes that a number of key industries in the country can move forward upon investment in high capital expenditures through the MWF.

Veloso said MWF investments would improve employment, taxation, and economic activities.

He also allayed fears that the MWF would follow the same path as the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MdB) fund which had a single signatory. On the contrary, the MWF provides for checks and balances.

A total of P250 billion startup investment for the MWF will come from government financial institutions such as the GSIS, Social Security System, Landbank of the Philippines, and Development Bank of the Philippines.

This will be supplemented by annual contributions from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Fiannce, and other sources.