Marcos to take up Maharlika fund during Davos trip —DFA exec
The proposed sovereign wealth fund will be taken up during President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s trip to Davos, Switzerland next week.
According to Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Carlos Sorreta, Marcos will bring up the sovereign wealth fund during the World Economic Forum (WEF) scheduled from January 16 to 20.
"It's really more of a soft launch, to introduce it," Sorreta said during a press briefing.
Sorreta said it was the President's idea to tackle the wealth fund, which seeks to maximize the investible funds of state-run financial institutions and ultimately increase public funds for nation-building.
"He said, 'You know let's talk about the sovereign wealth fund.' That's being set up. And I agree completely with the President, the World Economic Forum is a great venue to do sort of soft launch for our sovereign wealth fund given the prominence of the forum itself," Sorreta said during a press briefing in Malacañang.
Sorreta said global and business leaders would directly hear from Marcos the fundamentals about the sovereign wealth fund.
He, however, clarified that Marcos is not fully launching the controversial wealth fund in Davos as they have respect for the congressional process here in the Philippines.
The House of Representatives already approved on final reading House Bill 6608, which creates the Maharlika Investment Fund and was certified as urgent by the President.
"It's really more of a soft launch, to introduce it. I understand it's evolving. We have full respect to congressional process and the open hearings that they're having to work out the details," Sorreta said.
The measure creating the MIF states that it would be funded by the investible resources of the Landbank of the Philippines (P50 billion), the Development Bank of the Philippines (P25 billion), and the dividends/profits of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
According to retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the MIF could be a losing proposition as the cost of putting up the fund could exceed the expected returns.
Sorreta also said Marcos is expected to interact with global business leaders, noting that there are more than 200 events that will be held in five days.
He clarified that the bilateral talks would be different from his various meetings with world leaders.
"One-on-one bilaterals might be difficult because all the leaders are either leading opening sessions or are panelists," Sorreta said.
"It's not like APEC or ASEAN, it's a different dynamic. The bilaterals will be mostly when they are in the same room together," he added.
Sorreta also said Marcos will participate in a high-level dialogue session with other leaders, including the president of South Africa, prime minister of Belgium, and the president of the European Commission.
Meanwhile, Sorreta did not disclose the investments that the Marcos administration could secure during the trip as he said this is being bared at the end of the trip.
Sorreta also mentioned that Marcos would meet with the Filipino community, not just those living in Switzerland, but also those from other areas in Europe.
This year's WEF theme is "Cooperation in a Fragmented World." Marcos will be the only ASEAN leader who will participate in Davos, and will be only one of two leaders from Asia, Sorreta said. —KBK, GMA Integrated News