Senator Mark Villar on Thursday, June 8 said there are about 97 high-impact projects that the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) can finance once the bill is approved into law by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Senator Mark Villar (MB File Photo)
At least 72 of these projects are Private-Public Partnership (PPP) projects and 25 local PPPs, said Villar, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies.
Aside from the 97, there are also 190 infrastructure projects in the pipeline under the President’s Build Better More (BBM) program.
Some senators have earlier raised concern over the lack of a test of economic viability submitted by state economic managers on the Maharlika bill.
“Sa totoo lang po madaming (The truth is, there are so many) high-impact infrastructure projects na pwede ma-finance (that can be financed) through the Maharlika Fund. According to the economic team, there’s about 97 projects,” said Villar principal author and sponsor of the MIF bill in the Senate.
“Maraming nagtatanong paano nga ba tayo kikita kapag nagpagawa tayo ng kalsada? Simple lang po, kapag private ang nagtayo ng project para sa public utilities, for example toll roads. Paano kumikita ang gobyerno? Through tax lang (Many people ask how will we make money when we build a road? It's simple, when private builds a project for public utilities, for example toll roads. How does the government make money? Through tax only),” he explained.
“As of now, walang vehicle ang gobyerno para gumawa ng pera kung hindi thru tax. Kapag naibigay na natin ang proyekto na kailangan ng bansa, lahat ng returns nito babalik sa gobyerno. Mapapa-ikot natin ang pera (As of now, the government has no vehicle to make money if not thru tax. Once we have provided the project that the country needs, all its returns will go back to the government. We can get the money rolling),” Villar pointed out.
“Also when we say infrastructure po, let’s not limit ourselves to roads and bridges. May ibang infra sa list na (There are infrastructure projects in the list that are) related to agriculture, air and sea transportation, internet, health, and tourism sectors. Which makes the MIF very encompassing,” the lawmaker assured.
Villar had served as secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) during the Duterte administration.
The enrolled copy of the MIF bill has yet to reach Malacañang. Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva earlier said the measure could be submitted to the Palace this week.