The approval of the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) must be recalled by the House of Representatives, independent minority solon Albay 1st district Rep. Edcel Lagman said on Saturday, Jan. 21.
This, after he got wind of a new MIF that was based from House Bill (HB) No.6608, or the MIF Bill. The measure--principally authored by members of the House leadership, was approved by the chamber on third and final reading last Dec. 15.
"Since the so-called 'reengineering' of the MWF (Maharlika Wealthv Fund) was not deliberated in the House of Representatives, the approval of the bill must be recalled so that the House of Representatives can further deliberate on the belated innovations," Lagman said, referring to the MIF by its old name.
A fellow Bicol solon, Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda, volunteered information during an ANC Headstart interview Friday that he took part in the "rewriting and reengineering" of the MIF after Christmas, Dec. 25.
Salceda said that under the new MIF, the capitalization of the sought Philippine sovereign wealth fund would now come from dividends of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs).
"It must be recalled that dividends from GOCCs have been used for budgetary support. These dividends must not be parked in long-term contingent investments as they are urgently needed for immediate utilization to address the requirements of basic services like education, health, employment, fund security and infrastructure," Lagman said.
Lagman also chided Salceda, saying that the latter had defended the inclusion of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and the Bangko Sentral of the Philippines (BSP) as principal funding sources for the sovereign wealth fund.
Lagman said he opposed this, only for Salceda to drop the DBP and BSP in the new version of MIF.
Lagman, president of the Liberal Party (LP), also disagreed with the initial public offering or IPO provision in the tweaked MIF.
"A sovereign wealth fund must be essentially controlled by the government. It must not be eventually controlled by the private sector through an initial public offering," said the former minority leader.
"It is a grim lesson that important proposals should not be approved in its embryonic stage. All relevant aspects and implications must be thoroughly studied by the proper committee before the bill is endorsed to the plenary for approval with the full backing of the House leadership," Lagman further said.