"What is the Maharlika Investment Fund? Why has it been met with opposition?"
The Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), also known as Maharlika Wealth Fund (MWF), is a proposed sovereign wealth fund for the Philippines. A sovereign wealth fund is a state-owned fund that invests in real and financial assets such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and precious metals, as well as alternative investments like hedge funds and private equity.
The MIF was proposed by lawmakers allied to President Bongbong Marcos, including his son Sandro Marcos and brother-in-law Martin Romualdez. In late November 2022, the lawmakers filed House Bill 6398, which proposed the fund. After President Marcos certified the bill as urgent, it was passed on its third reading in the House of Representatives on 15 December, with 279 congressional votes against only six opposing it.
Groups have aired their concern regarding the Maharlika Investment Fund, particularly when it was initially reported that the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS) were obliged to contribute to it. People feared their contributions to the social insurance systems would be compromised if invested in the fund.
Opposition leaders, meanwhile, questioned the very nature of the fund. Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas remarked, “This is a poorly and hastily designed sovereign wealth fund that has all the indications of opening pathways to corruption and unscrupulous use of public funds, as this proposal institutes various regulatory exemptions to the Maharlika Investment Corporation.”
Economists have also expressed their opposition to the bill, saying there is no “missing institution” that requires the creation of a sovereign wealth fund.