Maharlika fund bill ready for Marcos' signature this week —Zubiri

By LLANESCA T. PANTI, GMA Integrated News

The Maharlika Investment Fund bill, which seeks to tap state assets for investment ventures in hopes of generating additional public funds, will be sent to the Palace this week for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s signature, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said Tuesday.

“By this week, it will be transmitted to the Palace,” Zubiri told reporters in a statement.

Earlier, Speaker Martin Romualdez of Leyte also announced that he had signed the Congress-ratified version of the Maharlika Investment Fund bill alongside House Secretary General Reginald Velasco.

“This [Maharlika bill] was transmitted to the Senate yesterday,” a statement from Romualdez’s office read.

The Maharlika Investment Fund bill was ratified by Congress before it adjourned session last May 31, but the final copy of the bill has since been modified since it contained different provisions on the prescriptive period for filing charges involving crimes related to Maharlika Fund misuse, among other errors.

The initial version provided for 10 years and 20 years prescriptive periods, but the final version adopted the 10 year prescriptive period.

But for House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro of ACT Teachers party-list, the Marcos administration should prioritize laws that will benefit the people instead of the Maharlika Investment Fund.

"We urge President [Ferdinand] Marcos, Jr. to focus on legislation which addresses the pressing concerns of the people, such as salary increases for workers, nurses, teachers, and government employees," Castro said in a separate statement.


"Additionally, the allocation of an equivalent of 6% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to education and the provision of free land to our farmers should be top priorities. These are the needs of the people, not new taxes or the Maharlika Investment Fund,” she added.

Administration ally and Dasmariñas Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, however, believes the Marcos administration is making the right call.

"The President buckled down to work and took the bull by the horns, so to speak. He was humble enough to give himself an 'incomplete' grade in his first year while being firm in saying that it's best to take things in stride as the country is getting back on its feet post-pandemic," Barzaga said in a separate statement.

Barzaga cited that the economy grew by 7.6 percent and 7.2 percent in the third and fourth quarters of 2022 and 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2023 which is well within the government’s target.

"The Marcos Jr. administration is doing something right. We just have to remain on track and ensure that this growth is trickling down to the grassroots level," Barzaga said. 

President Marcos last week said he will sign the Maharlika bill "as soon as he gets it".

Marcos, who had certified the MIF bill as urgent, stressed that the MIF, once established through law, will be independent from the government.

"The key to the success of any fund, hedge funds, pension funds, sovereign fund, investment fund is the management,” he said. —VAL, GMA Integrated News