By Prince Golez
The money to be invested in the proposed Maharlika Fund would be protected and used only for specific and accountable projects, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assured the public Monday.
In a media interview, Marcos Jr. allayed concerns about potential money laundering, saying while private money will be involved with the fund, it’s not a savings account where people deposit money to keep it there.
The multibillion-peso Maharlika Fund will serve as seed money for the sovereign fund, according to the President.
“Now, whenever we come into partnership, we do a (Government-to-Government) with Japan, for example, or we do a PPP (public-private partnership) with some big outfit, then that is only the time that the money has come into the fund to be used for the program,” he said.
“Hindi ‘yun basta’t, ‘O sige, bigyan niyo ako ng ilang bilyong dolyar tapos ilalagay lang ‘yan basta akong bahala na diyan.’ It’s not like that at all. And in fact, even on our end, we will only deploy funds when there is a very specific project to be paid for. So money laundering just won’t come into it,” he furthered.
Marcos Jr. also responded to lawmakers’ concerns about the use of funds from government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) for the sovereign fund, saying it is not allowed under the law.
“I agree with that. 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,” the chief executive said.
He stated that each GOCC has its own charter, and the government must revise all of them 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,” said Marcos Jr.
“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,” he concluded.