Romualdez welcomes survey half of Pinoys back Maharlika Fund
SPEAKER Martin G. Romualdez on Monday welcomed the result of a recent nationwide survey showing that half of Filipinos support the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF).
“We are happy with the survey, which to us means that we are on the right track in advocating the establishment of this sovereign wealth fund, which is intended to benefit future generations of Filipinos,” Romualdez said.
“It shows that our advocacy has the support not just of major business groups but of the general population as well,” Romualdez said.
The mobile-based poll was conducted by data research firm Tangere last December 8 to 10, before the House of Representatives approved the MIF bill on third and final reading last Thursday.
The survey had 2,400 respondents: 12 percent from Metro Manila, 23 percent from North and Central Luzon, 22 percent from South Luzon, 20 percent from Visayas, and 23 percent from Mindanao. It had a margin of error of 2.191 percent.
According to Martin Peñaflor, chief executive officer and founder of data research firm Tangere, 2,010 or 83.75 percent of the 2,400 respondents were aware of the MIF bill.
He said of those aware, 54.08 percent either strongly supported (21.84 percent) or somewhat supported (32.24 percent) the bill’s passage into law, while 21.34 percent were neutral and 24.58 percent either somewhat or strongly opposed the measure.
He said 45.87 percent agreed to have government institutions as MIF contributors, while 6 out of 10 approved of having President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to head the management of the fund.
He said half of those aware of the MIF bill either strongly believed (22.39 percent) or somewhat believed (27.01 percent) that the establishment of the MIF could be safeguarded from corruption.
Some 65.47 percent were of the opinion that its creation was timely, 56.67 percent expressed the view that it would help the economy grow, and 57.86 percent strongly or somewhat believed that the fund would finance government projects, he added.
Peñaflor pointed out that 73.14 percent “also believe that the government should be coming up with creative sources of revenue, other than raising or requiring additional taxes.”
Romualdez is the principal author of House Bill (HB) No. 6608, which seeks to establish the MIF.
PSE supports MIF
The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) is the latest business group to support the measure.
In a statement for his organization, PSE president and CEO Ramon Monzon said the proposed sovereign wealth fund would be helpful in mobilizing capital for development.
“Since the MIF seeks to attract and invest capital for big-ticket infrastructure projects, sustainable green and blue infrastructures and countryside development, we believe these investments will create a multiplier effect that would attract more fund-raising activities and portfolio investments and in turn contribute to the growth and development of our capital markets,” he said.
He said the PSE’s primary mission “is to facilitate the flow of capital into more productive and beneficial channels and as a result contribute to efficient capital formation for the country.”
Romualdez earlier said enough safeguards, including transparency, have been written into the bill to ensure proper use of the planned sovereign fund and prevent abuse and corruption.
“During the lengthy and exhaustive plenary deliberations on the MIF bill, we have adopted various safeguards to ensure we can achieve the objectives of the Maharlika Investment Fund, and one of such is a provision to ensure transparency on relevant financial matters pertaining to the MIF,” Romualdez aid.
He referred to a particular provision stating that the public can exercise the right to freedom of information regarding MIF financial issues.
Another provision states that all documents of the MIF and the Maharlika Investment Corp. – the independent body created to manage the fund – shall be open, available and accessible to the public.
These documents include, but are not limited, to the following:
(a) All investments thereof, whether planned or under negotiation by the MIC and on the portfolio of the MIF; (b) The statements of assets and liabilities (SALNs) of the members and officials of the board of directors, risk management unit, and advisory board; (c) The SALNs of those who appointed and designated the said members and officials; (d) Audit documents from the internal auditor, external auditor, and the COA; and(e) Similar documents and information.
Likewise, the measure provides that the records on the MIC pertaining to its investment activities shall be secured and maintained pursuant to the rules of the National Archives of the Philippines.
In addition, the disclosure rules under Republic Act No. 8799 or the Securities Regulation Code, Republic Act No. 11232, or the Revised Corporation Code, and other relevant laws, rules, and regulations shall apply to the MIC.
HB 6608 earmarks at least 25 percent of the net profits of the MIF for social welfare programs.