PBBM says GOCC dividends can’t fund Maharlika Investment

President Bongbong Marcos | Photograph by Yummie Dingding for the Daily Tribune

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday rejected the proposal to use dividends coming from government-owned and controlled corporations to fund the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund.

Marcos Jr. said doing so will be “too disruptive” for the Philippine government, a sentiment he shared with several lawmakers.

“You cannot use funds of the GOCC; pera ng gobyerno ‘yun. What will the government spend? It was a proposal. It’s not something that we have adopted,” he told reporters.

The President clarified that the idea that dividends from GOCCs can be used to fund the sovereign wealth fund was proposed to him in one of the meetings he had while he was at the 2023 World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

He emphasized that every single GOCC has its own charter, and the government has to revise all of those charters to align them with the Maharlika Fund, noting this is not the purpose of the GOCC.

“This is a lot of income that goes to the national government that will go into the Maharlika Fund and cannot be used for the budget of the national government. And we have many things… that we would like to appropriate in the coming years, and we will need those funds,” he said.

“So, I don’t think that’s a viable proposition, at least not for us… I know that there are other sovereign wealth funds that have been in that way. But it’s – parang hindi bagay sa atin ‘yun eh. Kaya’t we are a little lukewarm about that idea.”

Lawmakers in the lower chamber initially proposed that its funding come from the Government Service Insurance System with P125 billion, the Social Security System with P50 billion, LandBank with P50 billion, the Development Bank of the Philippines with P25 billion, and dividends and profits of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

After public backlash, however, they dropped the state pension funds GSIS and SSS as mandatory contributors to the proposed sovereign wealth fund.

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