Cayetano urges gov't to first test viability of Maharlika Fund

The government should first test the viability of having a sovereign wealth fund before proceeding with the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) through existing government corporations like the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS).

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano made the proposal saying questions surrounding the MIF is all about the timing of the measure.

"I do not think the issue of Maharlika (Investment Fund) is good or bad. It's really a matter of what's best and the timing,” Cayetano said in an interview with reporters on Tuesday, February 14.

If enacted into law, the seed capital of the MIF will be invested in foreign currencies, bonds, commercial real estate, and other real assets which will be sourced from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Landbank of the Philippines (LBP), and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

Proponents of the measure claimed that the profit will be used to fund the government’s priority programs.

But Cayetano said it is too early to create the MIF given the doubt, criticism, and the administrative cost needed to put together the money.

"Precisely because there are so many investment fund created that failed and there are many controversies regarding Filipino oligarchs participating directly,” he pointed out.

Cayetano suggested that government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) like GSIS and SSS be allowed to invest in infrastructure projects under public-private partnership contracts (PPP) like Skyway and train constructions as this is better than forming another corporation.

"Because people trust SSS, GSIS, Pag-Ibig, and they have a long record," he said.