Marcos to discuss Maharlika fund in World Economic Forum

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during the APEC Summit in Thailand last November 2022

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 12) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. plans to introduce the proposed Philippine sovereign wealth fund (SWF) to global and business leaders during the World Economic Forum in Switzerland next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Carlos Sorreta told Palace reporters that the chief executive wants to bring up the fund to explain "why we are doing it and why it's a good idea."

"The World Economic Forum is a great venue to do sort of a soft launch for our sovereign wealth fund given the prominence of the forum itself and the global and business leaders who will be there, and they will hear it directly from the president," Sorreta said in a media briefing.

An SWF is a state-owned investment fund commonly financed by a country's surplus revenues or reserves. According to proponents, the so-called Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) was patterned after the SWF of other nations, and will be an investment tool in key sectors to help fund priority programs.

READ: The proposed Maharlika Investment Fund: What you need to know

Sorreta said the DFA is working with the finance and trade departments to come up with "very precise targeted messages" about the MIF which Marcos will use in presenting general details during the forum in Davos from Jan. 16 to 20.

"I understand it is evolving," the DFA official said of the proposal. "We have the fullest respect for the congressional process and the open hearings that they are having and how to work out the details. But the broad strokes of it, the president has a very, very good grasp of what he wants to achieve."

Last month, an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives voted in favor of the MIF despite widespread concerns on its capital sources and timing. The measure was filed by Marcos' cousin House Speaker Martin Romualdez, presidential son and Senior Deputy Majority Leader Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro Marcos, and four other lawmakers.

RELATED: Carpio: Maharlika Investment Fund will be a losing proposition

The Senate, meanwhile, vowed to thoroughly study the proposal beginning this month.

Earlier, Marcos said he believes the country stands to benefit from the MIF, adding he "wouldn't have brought it up otherwise."

During his Davos trip, the president will also participate in a high-level dialogue session with other leaders, including the president of South Africa, the prime minister of Belgium, and the president of the European Commission, according to the DFA.

It added that Marcos is expected to meet with business leaders and the Filipino community not only in Switzerland but those coming from other countries in Europe.