Maharlika Investment Fund: What it is and how it can affect Filipinos

June 2, 2023 - 4:32 PM
Senate Building
Undated photo of the Senate Building. (The STAR/Miguel De Guzman)

An investment of hard-earned savings with uncertain benefits.

This was how some personalities described the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) following its recent passage at the Senate.

Senate Bill No. 2020 is the proposed measure that will create the MIF. Once signed into law, it shall generate income for the government to supposedly help promote economic development.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has previously certified the bill as “urgent,” thus prompting its swift approval in the Senate.

Senate Bill No. 2020 received 19 affirmative votes, one negative vote and one abstention.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros was the lone dissenter of the approved legislative measure, while Sen. Nancy Binay abstained from voting. Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III was not present to cast his vote.

One of the amendments to the Senate’s version of the measure include the prohibition of investments in MIF from the Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Philippine Health Insurance Corp., Home Development Mutual Fund, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and Philippine Veterans Affairs Office.

President Marcos assured Filipinos on Wednesday that the government will not use state pension funds as “seed money” for the proposed MIF.

However, it would still be up to the SSS and GSIS to invest in the state sovereign fund, the president added.

READ: Who voted for it? Senators’ positions as Maharlika bill gets approved Maharlika fund clears Senate hurdle 

In layman’s terms

This news also triggered polarized views on social media. Several Filipinos lauded the passage of the bill. Others were alarmed and dismayed by the Senate’s decision to approve it.

A blogger named Chef Gelo Guison was among those who opposed the MIF.

In a Facebook post on May 30, Guison made an investment offer to his followers in jest to explain how the MIF process will work.

“May suggestion ako. Sino dito ang may mga naipong pera? Heart react naman kayo oh,” he said.

“Bale ganito, hihiramin ko sana ‘yung mga naipon niyong pera. Oo, ‘yung pinagtrabahuhan niyo ng ilang taon at dekada. Sige na, hiram lang naman. Nagtitiwala naman kayo sa akin di ba?” he added.

He then emphasized the caveat.

“Pero ganito ha, kapag nalugi ‘yung investment, quits quits lang tayo. Ganun talaga e, may risk ang mga investment, ‘di ba?” the chef blogger said.

Mae Diane Azores, a 2019 bar topnotcher and current auditor in the Commission on Audit, likened it to suspicious investment offers to spell out how the MIF will affect the Filipino people.

“Isipin mo, baon na baon ka sa utang tapos may lumapit sayo na may history ng pang-sascam, hinihingi natitira mong pera,” Azores tweeted.

“Iinvest niya raw, pero ‘di sigurado kung kikita at ‘di niya rin ma-explain [nang] maayos kung saan iinvest kasi gusto niya ibigay mo na lang ang pera agad. Payag ka ba?” she added.

A professor at De La Salle University named David Michael San Juan, meanwhile, launched a petition seeking to stop the passage of the MIF into law.

“We still intend to send this to the Senate (may bicams pa), and then, possibly, eventually to the Supreme Court,” San Juan tweeted.

The petition has so far garnered 84,520 signatures from the target 150,000 signatories.

San Juan also listed the numerous reasons for their position against this measure.

This can be accessed through this link here Petition · Hands off taxpayers’ money, NO TO Senate Bill No. 2020! ·

Other discussions

Guison’s post about the matter soon reached subreddit forum r/Philippines.

Maharlika Investment Fund, in layman term by Chef Gelo Guison
by u/ArgumentTechnical724 in Philippines

In the discussion section, several Redditors expressed their worries about the source of MIF’s funding.

“The issue is that the source fund would be forcefully taken without the consultation of the holders,” a Redditor said.

“Walang say ‘yun mga magiinvest kung payag ba sila o hindi, kasali lahat walang reklamo. Tsaka ‘yun transparency neto, for sure mahirap silipin ‘to kung san napupunta,” another Redditor commented.

According to the bill, the funding will be sourced from different state-run financial institutions. These include the Land Bank of the Philippines, the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Philippine Gaming Corp.