Mong Palatino

Blogging about the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific since 2004


@mongster is a Manila-based activist, former Philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of Asia-Pacific affairs.

Written for The Diplomat

Late last month, the two houses of the Philippine Congress approved the controversial Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) bill amid persistent criticisms from opposition leaders, lawyers, economists, and civil society groups.

It took the House of Representatives only 17 days to pass the MIF bill in December. Responding to the concern of labor groups, legislators removed pension funds as a source of capitalization for the MIF. President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. certified the bill as a priority measure, which allowed the Senate to hasten the committee and plenary deliberations until it was passed on May 31.

Marcos, who will soon mark his first year in office, needs to prove that the MIF is what the country needs today amid rising prices and economic uncertainty. He should also justify why billions of pesos will be channeled into an investment scheme instead of using the money to expand social services and provide wage hike subsidies as demanded by various basic sectors over the past year.

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Philippines ‘Suspends’ Its Sovereign Investment Fund

Written for The Diplomat

The Philippine government has suspended the implementing rules and regulations of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), three months after it was passed into law. MIF critics welcomed the decision and urged the government to conduct more studies and consult stakeholders about it. But President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. clarified that his government is merely “finding ways to make it as close to perfect and ideal as possible” and that the fund will be operational before the end of the year.

The suspension provides an opportunity for the Marcos government to rethink the MIF concept. At a time of continuing economic uncertainty, it is unwise to divert much-needed funds into a controversial financial undertaking with no guarantee of public benefit.

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