Marcos: State pension funds not to be used as seed capital for Maharlika

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 31) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assured the public on Wednesday that state pension funds will not be used as seed money for the controversial Maharlika sovereign wealth fund.

But the President said the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS) could invest in the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) if they find it a "good investment."

"We will not use it as a seed fund," he said during a media briefing. "However, if a pension fund, which is what pension funds do, is they invest. If the pension fund decides that the Maharlika fund is a good investment, it's up to them if they want to invest in it."

His statement on pension funds' possible investment in the MIF contradicts the present version of the bill.

The Senate swiftly approved before dawn on Wednesday its version of the Maharlika fund bill, which Marcos certified as urgent. Hours later, the House of Representatives adopted the upper chamber's version of the proposed measure.

The early iteration of the bill sought funding from the GSIS and SSS to bankroll the sovereign wealth fund, but that provision was dropped by the House Committee on Appropriations in December last year after several groups argued that doing so may put the people's pension funds at risk.

Under Senate Bill No. 2020, the upper chamber's final version, agencies such as the GSIS, SSS, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office "are absolutely prohibited, whether mandatory or voluntary, to invest in the MIF."

To support the Maharlika Investment Corporation, the Land Bank of the Philippines will invest ₱50 billion; the Development Bank of the Philippines, ₱25 billion; and the national government, ₱50 billion.