THE Senate version of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) bill which was passed on its third and final reading on the wee hours of Wednesday, May 31, 2023, will be transmitted to the office of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for signature.

This after the House of Representatives adopted during its plenary session on Wednesday afternoon, Senate Bill No. 2020 or the MIF Act.

Senator Joel Villanueva in their plenary session said there is no need for the measure to be ratified by the bicameral committee because the lower chamber adopted the version of Senate.

Senate Bill No. 2020 which was sponsored by Senator Mark Villar, gained 19 “yes” votes in the Senate, one “no” and one abstention following an 11-hour plenary session which started on Tuesday afternoon until around 2:30 a.m. of Wednesday.

Among the amendments adopted by the upper chamber in its version of MIF is the explicit banning of the Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), Pag-IBIG, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), and Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) from investing in the MIF, whether on a mandatory or voluntary basis.

It was one of the main concerns that hounded the measure.

In the earlier versions of the measure the Government Service Insurance system (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS) were identified as the source for the initial capital of MIF.

The provision was later removed following the tremendous backlash even from executives of GSIS and SSS.

The measure also includes imposition of heavier penalties of a fine ranging from P1 million to P5 million, perpetual disqualification from public office, and imprisonment of six years against those who will be involved in the misuse of the MIF.

The House of Representatives passed its version of MIF, the House Bill 6608, on December 15, 17 days after it was filed.

Marcos certified both of the bills in the upper and lower chamber as urgent.

In his letter of certification sent to the Senate last week, Marcos there is a “compelling need for a sustainable national investment fund as a new growth catalyst to accelerate the implementation of strategic and high-impact large infrastructure projects that will stimulate economic activity and development.”

The MIF is a sovereign wealth fund that will be used to invest in a wide range of assets, including foreign currencies, fixed-income instruments, domestic and foreign corporate bonds, commercial real estate, and infrastructure projects. The fund is expected to generate income for the government and help promote economic development. (SunStar Philippines)