DBM backs Maharlika Wealth Fund

Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman believes the proposed Maharlika Wealth Fund will help the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. administration achieve its "Agenda for Prosperity," the Department of Budget and Management said on Monday.

The DBM said the country's economic team tackled the "benefits" of institutionalizing MWF during the 183rd Development Budget Coordination Committee meeting on Monday at the Department of Finance Press Conference Room.

Pangandaman, alongside Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Socioeconomic Planning Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon, Bangko Sentral Monetary Board Member Bruce Tolentino, and Government Service Insurance System President and General Manager Jose Arnulfo "Wick" Veloso led the meeting.

During the meeting, the DBM said Diokno expressed the belief that the country "should have had the Sovereign Wealth Fund a long time ago to set aside funds for the future generations."

Proposed by House Speaker Martin Romualdez and presidential son Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro Marcos in the Lower House, the MWF is aimed to "be used by the government to invest in a wide range of outlets such as foreign currencies, fixed-income instruments, domestic and foreign corporate bonds, commercial real estate, and infrastructure projects, among others."

The DBM said Veloso believes a number of key industries in the country can move forward upon investment in high capital expenditures through the MWF which will, in turn, improve employment, taxation, and economic activities. The GSIS GM also allayed fears that the MWF would follow the same path as the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund which had a single signatory, noting that the proposed MWF provides for checks and balances.

Under the measure, a total of P250 billion in startup investment for the MWF will come from government financial institutions such as the GSIS, Social Security System, Landbank of the Philippines, and Development Bank of the Philippines.

This will be supplemented with annual contributions from the BSP, DOF, and other sources.

The economic team collectively believes enough safeguards will be put in place to ensure accountability and transparency in managing the MWF.

The bill includes provisions on abiding by the Santiago Principles of the International Working Group of Sovereign Wealth Funds and establishing a three-layer mechanism for checks and balances, which feature internal audit, external audit, and finally, examination and audit by the Commission on Audit.

There will also be an executive department reportorial requirement implemented along with congressional oversight.

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