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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Pension-funded MIF set for OK

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The Senate is set to approve a version of the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) that will reinstate the use of workers’ pension funds following the removal of such funds in the House version, the Makabayan bloc revealed.

In a statement, the Makabayan bloc also said the Senate version of the proposed fund increased the capitalization of the Maharlika Investment Corporation to P500 billion from P75 billion, with portions coming from pension funds, GMA News reported.

The bloc said the “wording” in the Senate version of the measure allows the reinstatement of seed funding from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Social Security System (SSS), and Pag-IBIG.

“We are dismayed that the Senate is choosing to disregard the widespread sentiment expressed by its workers in the private and public sector throughout the country for the government to keep its hands away from their pension funds,” the Makabayan bloc, quoted by GMA News, said.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III meanwhile said the proposed fund “should not be forced.”

“I have studied it for a long time and have tried to dig what’s really in their minds, but still, I’m not convinced,” Pimentel said. 

Pimentel said while the fund is a state-initiated investment,   it can no longer be considered a sovereign wealth fund because it was open to the private sector.

Pimentel also said he is “baffled” and does not know the intentions of his colleagues in pushing for the MIF. 

He also warned against the economic dangers and further questioned the need for the government to enter into this kind of investment. 

“We already have investible funds assigned to banks,” he said. “So why do we need to get it from the bank? It’s dangerous.” 

He sounded the alarm that the Philippines will be indebted and the possible losses from the MIF. Pimentel also said there are still several issues in the MIF that should be considered.

Pimentel also said he was surprised with the apparent “VIP treatment” the bill has been getting from the senators.

“I was surprised. Is this that important? Is this that earthshaking? This can be done on a regular phasing,” he said. 

He also suggested the time allocated for the interpellation of the MIF should also be allocated to other important bills like the revival of the salt industry and jobs for the country.  He said lawmakers should focus their time on these more pressing concerns.

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