Marcos: Maharlika Wealth Fund beneficial to PH, up to Congress to make bill ‘perfect’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 12) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. believes the country stands to benefit from the proposed Maharlika Wealth Fund (MWF), saying assessment of the bill should be put off until the details are finalized.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Marcos expressed support for the creation of the contentious fund, which proponents said will help promote economic development and attract investments.

“For sure, I wouldn’t have brought it up otherwise,” the president said when asked if he thinks the MWF can be advantageous to the country.

“It’s very clear that we need added investment. This is another way to get that,” he continued.

According to the Department of Budget and Management, the sovereign wealth fund – which is typically financed by a state's surplus revenues or reserves – will be used by the government to invest in a wide range of outlets such as foreign currencies, fixed-income instruments, domestic and foreign corporate bonds, commercial real estate, and infrastructure projects.

However, the proposal faced pushback as some questioned the country’s need and readiness for a sovereign wealth fund, given the government's budget deficit and record debt.

RELATED: Some senators want further study on proposed Maharlika Wealth Fund

Critics also hit the provision stating that major pension funds will be used as sources, warning this could put the people’s money at risk.

Following the backlash, authors of the MWF bill made an amendment which provides that dividends of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas would be used as initial investment instead of Social Security System and Government Service Insurance System contributions. Other funding sources include ₱50 billion from Landbank of the Philippines and ₱25 billion from the Development Bank of the Philippines.

Asked to comment on concerns over the proposal, Marcos said it is up to Congress to make necessary refinements.

“Let them do their jobs. Tama ‘yan, para gawin nilang perfect [That’s right, so they can make it perfect],” he said.

“Let’s not debate until we see the final form, because we could be debating about provisions that will no longer exist. So, antayin natin kung anong gawin ng legislature [let’s wait for what the legislature will do],” he added.

Earlier, the bill's co-author Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo also proposed removing the president of the Philippines as chairman of the fund’s managing board and replacing him with the secretary of finance.

Some lawmakers previously said the president sitting as chairman of the MWF managing board would politicize it.