March 3, 2024

Bicol Express News

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Maharlika Investment Fund draws flak from lawmakers, netizens

Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez. Photo: House of Representatives of the Philippines

As the House of Representatives are set to pass the House Bill 6389 or the Maharlika Investment Fund, lawmakers and critics are up in arms against the said proposed measure citing “red flag” particularly the planned use of SSS and GSIS members contributions as part of pump priming the its fund.

According to Makabayan Bloc lawmakers, the said measure will utilize the contributions of SSS and GSIS members, using its interest for other investment schemes. They pointed out that the country has the worst pension system in the world according to the Mercer CFA Institute of Global Pension Index, they are wary that the proposed law is setting up the workers’ hard earned money into a major disaster.

The Makabayan Bloc lawmakers said that if the government needed funds for strategic economic development, they suggest that Marcos should impose wealth tax to those Filipinos listed in the Forbes Billionaires. Aside from imposing wealth tax, they also impose windfall tax to oil companies which in the first quarter of 2022 have recorded a double net income.

House Bill 6389 is authored by Pres. Marcos cousin Speaker Martin Romualdes and Sandro Marcos, the presidents’ son. Latest report said that the house leadership will attempt to pass the proposed bill by December 12.

Netizens were also quick to decry the said proposal saying that this is like those investment schemes under the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. that duped mostly the rural sector.

“We haven’t forgotten how Marcos Sr. allowed the collection of coco levy funds to small coconut workers and only benefited his cronies, until today, coco farmers have yet to claim their share”, said one netizen.

One netizen also wrote; “The Maharlika Investment Fund is nothing but a scam in the highest degree, I worried about the contributions of my parents, di pa ba sapat na taasan nila ang contribution, ngayun, gusto nilang galawin para sa ibang negosyo? Paano kung malugi? Paano na ang hinulog ng mga magulang ko?”.

Meanwhile, in a series of twitter messages, user @prinzmagtulis points out the danger of using the hard earned pension of the contributors as the bulk of the seed money.

“This is dangerous because of its unclear goals of the SWF (Maharlika Sovereign Wealth Fund). In other countries with SWF’s come from excess/ windfall earnings of gov’t reserves. We are in freaking deficit, gov’t is spending more than it generates revenues, our trade deficit is up, and our reserves are depleting” his twit said.

“Using pension funds as SWF money, it makes no sense to say that the Maharlika SWFis to preserve intergenerational wealth. The problem is SSS and GSIS are allowed to diversify their investments beyond gov’t assets. The result? Take it this way; SSS is hiking contributions next year’ said in another twit.

Former lawmaker and senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares also in a twit message, express his opposition on MIF “Ang kailangan natin ay dagdag na SSS pension, hindi dagdag sa pagkakataon sa corruption. I say no the Maharlika Wealth Fund”.

One twitter has a practical suggestion, he said that, instead of using the contributions of SSS and GSIS members, Pres. Marcos should pay up the P203B estate tax they owed to the gov’t and use it as the seed money.