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GSIS president defends Maharlika wealth fund

Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) president and general manager Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso on Monday defended the proposed Maharlika sovereign wealth fund, as he said now is the time to invest and reap more funds for member benefits.

Responding to queries regarding the proposed fund, Veloso made an impassioned speech saying the measure has the necessary safeguards and that additional funds are needed to provide benefits to members.

“Ang trabaho po namin ay ang pera ilagay sa tamang lugar na kikita nang mas malaki at para pag maibigay sa amin ay maibigay naming benepisyo sa mga miyembro namin,” he told reporters in Manila.

(Our job is to put money in the right place where it will reap more so that when the proceeds are given to us, we can provide more benefits to our members.)

Under Republic Act 656 and as amended by Presidential Decree 245, the GSIS is mandated to insure all properties, assets, and interests of the government against any insurable risk.

It offers various non-life insurance products which provide protection to both institutional and individual clients.

Veloso’s remarks come as a lawmakers in the House of Representatives filed a measure which seeks to establish the Maharlika Wealth Fund, which aims to allow the government to invest surplus reserves or revenues in real estate and financial assets.

Among the authors of the proposed measure are House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, and Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos III, cousin and son, respectively, of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Under the proposal, government financial institutions (GFIs) such as the GSIS, the Social Security System (SSS), the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank), and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) will be allowed to invest their funds for higher returns.

Veloso said the proposed measure will ensure transparency as it will be overseen by a board of advisers, with the possibility of adding members from the private sector such as the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) and the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP).

He also said that investing at the current market conditions are more beneficial for the country as this will ensure higher returns moving forward.

“I’ve always believed, in my years of investing, you invest when the market is down, you invest when there’s blood on the streets,” Veloso said.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Wednesday said the proposed fund is seen to be up and running within six months after the measure creating it is enacted into law.—AOL, GMA Integrated News