Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel III urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to pay heed to the serious concerns raised by economists and faculty members of the University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE) regarding the controversial Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) bill.
Pimentel had earlier described the hastily-approved measure as “unsalvageable” while the 21 economic professors from the country’s premiere state university called Marcos’s priority legislation “still beyond repair”.
“I urge and hope the President will seriously consider the warnings put forth by these distinguished economists,” the veteran legislator said.
The seasoned lawmaker had earlier called on the President to veto the measure.
“Sigurado po tayo na walang agenda itong dalawang dosenang ekonomista ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas kung hindi ang kapakanan ng ating bayan. Please take heed, Mr. President,” the senator stressed.
He has taken a firm stance against the measure, citing its short-term and long-term consequences.
In a 25-page discussion paper, the 21 economists expressed grave concern over the proposed creation of a sovereign wealth fund.
“The MIF violates fundamental principles of economics and finance and poses serious risks to the economy and the public sector.”
“In our view, the MIF violates fundamental principles of economics and finance and poses serious risks to the economy and the public sector – notwithstanding its proponents’ good intentions,” they said.
“MIF poses huge risks to our already strained public coffers and is vulnerable to moral hazard.”
Like the 21 distinguished economists, Pimentel criticized the lack of new sources of funds like surplus in trade or budget to fund the MIF.
“The lack of any surpluses necessarily forces the MIF to scour money from other agencies and corporations of government, posing risks on, say, state-run banks and even the BSP,” the economists said.
Pimentel and the economists believed that MIF “takes away precious funds from the public coffers”.
He also echoed their position that MIF “poses huge risks to our already strained public coffers and is vulnerable to moral hazard”.
The former Senate President also reiterated what he called “super powers” vested in the Maharlika Investment Corporation (MIC) under the measure, particularly the power to incur more debt.
Lastly, Pimentel emphasized how the bill’s lack of transparency safeguards can open the funds to all kinds of abuses.