It took only 18 days for the House of Representatives to pass the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) Bill, but Quezon 2nd district Rep. David "Jay-Jay" Suarez chose to describe the rather quick process as "congressional surgery".
“The approval of the bill went through congressional surgery. We made sure that not only is it compliant to local laws but congruent to international standards as well,” Suarez said of House Bill (HB) No.6608, or the MIF Bill.
The measure, which is envisioned to become to the Philippine sovereign wealth fund, was approved by plenary on third and final reading last Dec. 15. It was initially penned and filed by members of the House leadership on Nov. 28.
Over 280 House members ended up co-authoring the controversial measure.
"I am pleased that even members of the House of Representatives who were initially opposing the bill are now co-authors of the final version that was approved by the lower house. That is proof that the measure was well-thought of and sufficiently deliberated upon," said Suarez, a deputy majority leader.
According to him, the proposal underwent exhaustive review and rigorous plenary discussions. He said the MIF itself was “fortified with safeguards and safety nets to ensure that fund managers will not be able to dip their hands into the fund’s investments".
Speaker Martin Romualdez—one of the prime movers of the MIF–said the fund was principally envisioned “as an effective vehicle to execute and sustain high-impact infrastructure projects, urban and rural development, agricultural support, and other programs that would generate more income and economic activity in the country”.
Suarez said the public should not be misled into believing that the proposed MIF will be disadvantageous to the public and would benefit only the administration and its allies.
"Our people need more information about the MIF so that they can see that the benefits outweigh the unwarranted fear. This is why I am appealing to all Filipinos to support measure," he said.
"There are 79 sovereign investment funds from other countries, of which 78 were successful. It is an issue of management and with so many brilliant minds in the Philippines, the Maharlika fund will be successful," the Quezon solon noted.