The proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) that wowed potential investors at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland was essentially a rewritten document that's entirely different from the bill passed by the Philippine House of Representatives.
Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda made this rather surprising revelation during an ANC Headstart interview on Friday, Jan. 20.
"I don't know whether I should be revealing this...right after Christmas (Dec. 25), we were commissioned, me and three others to rewrite--essentially reengineer the Maharlika Investment Fund," Salceda said with no coaxing. He didn't reveal who the other three were.
Perhaps the biggest departure of the new MIF from the one contained in House Bill (HB) No.6608 is the feature that it would no longer tap dividends from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for its capitalization.
More importantly, the MIF would now use "real surpluses" just like a traditional sovereign wealth fund.
The lower chamber passed HB No.6608 on third and final reading last Dec. 15.
"Basically now it's just securitization of the dividend excluding BSP, no more asset infusion from DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines) and...basically it's very new. So it's basically securitization of about P44.3 billion in annual dividends. So these are real surpluses, including, for example, PDIC (Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation) at P13 billion, PNOC (Philippine National Oil Company)...Nothing anymore from BSP," Salceda explained.
"These are dividends from GOCCs (government-owned and controlled corporations). So by its nature they are already surpluses. So yung naghahanap na dapat surplus yan, eto surplus (To those who have been saying that capitalization should be from surpluses, here's your surplus)," he said, taking a subtle shot at the MIF's critics.
"We want this to succeed and this was actually the one sold by the President in Davos,," the House Committee on Ways and Means chairman said, referring to President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.. Marcos was a participant at the just-concluded WEF, where key world leaders and the business elite gathered.
Previously dubbed the Maharlika Wealth Fund (MWF), the measure has been quite controversial since its initial version was filed at the House on Nov. 28, 2022.
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To the credit of the proponents, which include Salceda, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, and presidential son Ilocos Norte 1st district Rep. Sandro Marcos, they've either allowed or facilitated the continuous revision of the measure to address public concerns.
"Kaya tuwang-tuwa ako eh tira nang tira yung mga tao eh (That's why I'm amused, the critics keep assailing it but) they are adressing an entirely different animal altogether," Salceda said of the new MIF.
"In Davos, the investors are very positive about it," he underscored