QUEZON City District 1 (QCD1) Representative Juan Carlos“Arjo” Atayde, a freshman legislator, on Thursday said he would support moves to include additional safeguards in the management of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) to prevent corruption and to ensure that the fund will truly benefit the country.
According to the solon, “the amendments already adopted by the House of Representatives in the ongoing deliberations of House Bill (HB) 6608 or the Maharlika Investment Fund Act are proof that we in Congress are serious about making the MIF as corruption-free and as risk-free as possible.”
The lawmaker was referring to recent amendments to HB 6608 that had previously been announced, including the decision to not include the Government Service Insurance System and Social Security System as funding sources for the MIF.
Under the amended bill, contributors to the fund now include the Development Bank of the Philippines, the Land Bank of the Philippines, the Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
Atayde pointed out that he and other members of the House “will continue to scrutinize this measure so that safeguards are instituted to protect the MIF from irregularities and questionable investments.”
“This is just to be fair to all those who have questions and concerns regarding the fund that need to be addressed. Maaasahan po nila at ng ating kababayan na todo bantay po tayo dito para todo rin ang benepisyo nito para sa taumbayan.”
Atayde explained that the addition of a penal provision punishing directors, trustees, or officers of the Maharlika Investment Corporation for violating MIF investment policies and guidelines “is another example of the steps we in Congress are taking to protect the interests of our constituents, the Filipino people.”
Under Section 44 of the bill, those found guilty of irregularities can be fined between 50,000 pesos to two million pesos, or could face jail time ranging from one year to five years.
HB 6608 seeks to establish the MIF, a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) that can be invested in order to stabilize and augment the national budget, create savings for Filipino citizens, and promote economic development.
At present, close to 50 countries around the world have SWFs, including Singapore, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and East Timor.