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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Jun 14, 2023

Maharlika can fund crucial gov’t projects

Infrastructure development is crucial in the growth strategy of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s administration. Among the infrastructure projects that are being prioritized are those that would improve physical and digital connectivity, water resources, health, energy, and agriculture.

In fact, several of the projects under the previous Duterte administration are being continued by President Bongbong through the Build Better More program. And Senator Mark Villar sees the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) as a mechanism to fund many of these high-impact projects.

According to Senator Villar, principal author and sponsor of the MIF bill, about 97 high-impact projects could be financed by the fund once approved by the President. Included in the 97 projects are 72 national public-private partnership (PPP) projects and 25 local PPP projects. There are also 190 infrastructure projects in the pipeline under the Build Better More program.

These infrastructure projects are crucial in our economic development and Senator Villar knows this very well — how as secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) from 2016 to 2021, he steered the country to its golden age of infrastructure, completing 29,264 kilometers of roads, 5,950 bridges, 11,340 flood mitigation structures, 222 evacuation centers,133 Tatag ng Imprastraktura Para sa Kapayapaan at Seguridad (TIKAS) projects, 150,149 classrooms, and 739 Covid-19 facilities during his term.

He explained that the government’s source of fund is only through taxes, but the MIF can provide the State a new source of funding for many of its capital-intensive projects. The MIF is also very encompassing since infrastructure projects cover agriculture, air and sea transportation, tourism, health, and digital connectivity.

The MIF is set to be the country’s first-ever sovereign investment fund that is expected to generate income for the government and help promote economic development. Many of our neighbors in the ASEAN and other nations have their own sovereign wealth funds (SWF), which allow them to pursue investments that will generate new income for the state and pave the way for the funding of programs and projects that will benefit present and future generations.

The Maharlika is also projected to generate about 350,000 jobs in the country. Moreover, since the MIF could accumulate capital over time, it will provide a long-term source of investment capital for the government as well as funding for projects that promote sustainable development in the country.

It is also important to stress that, to ensure transparency and accountability, necessary safeguards were put in place to ensure that the MIF will ultimately benefit the Filipino people.

Among this is the adherence to the Sovereign Wealth Funds: Generally Accepted Principles and Practices, or commonly known as the Santiago Principles, the global standards for operating SWFs, promoting good governance, accountability, transparency and prudent investment practices.

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