Marcos certifies as urgent Senate measure creating Maharlika fund

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has certified as urgent a Senate bill on the establishment of the Maharlika Investment Fund.

In a letter addressed to Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, Mr. Marcos certified Senate Bill No. 2020 as urgent, citing “the downgrade of global growth projections this year on the account of debilitating inflation.”

Mr. Marcos also cited the continued conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has resulted in “fluctuating and unstable prices of crude oil and other fuels.”

He also said that “continuing interest rate hikes in the international financial sector” justify the creation of the sovereign wealth fund.

“There is a compelling need for a sustainable national investment fund as a new growth catalyst to accelerate the implementation of strategic and high-impact large infrastructure projects that will stimulate economic activity and development,” Mr. Marcos said.

The Senate is currently deliberating on the measure. Once interpellation wrap up, the period of amendments will start.

An urgent certification expedites a bill’s passage by allowing its approval on second and third reading without any intervening three-day delay.

The counterpart House of Representatives measure creating Maharlika — House Bill (HB) No. 6608 — was also certified as urgent in December and was duly passed by that chamber.

The Supreme Court recently rejected a petition filed by House opposition legislators seeking to void the HB 6608 certification.

The Maharlika legislation calls for initial capital for the wealth fund to be provided by dividends from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, contributions from the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp., Land Bank of the Philippines, and the Development Bank of the Philippines, as well as proceeds from the privatization and transfer of government assets.

Other sources such as royalties and special assessments may also be tapped. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz