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‘New Maharlika bill version has better chance for approval’ – senator

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
�New Maharlika bill version has better chance for approval� � senator
File photo shows Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero.
Chiz Escudero / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — The latest Senate version of the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) bill may have become “totally unrecognizable” from its original form, as many senators introduced safeguards and put the interest of the Filipino people first, but it has a better chance of being approved, according to Sen. Francis Escudero.

With so many amendments, Escudero said the latest version of the proposal seeking to create the MIF has a better chance of being passed in the Senate after key changes were made in the measure meant to raise funds for the government.

The revised MIF version in the Senate is Senate Bill 2020, a consolidation of SB 1670 authored by Sen. Mark Villar and SB 1814 authored by Sen. Raffy Tulfo.

“As I stated from the beginning, when we started to review the original bill filed by Sen. Mark Villar, we will provide a better version. I said then that the Senate counterpart would not be in the same shape, size, color or form because as it was passed in the House, it clearly will not pass the Senate. It will not pass scrutiny,” Escudero told “The Chiefs” in an interview aired on Cignal TV’s One News last Friday night.

“The Maharlika that they rushed at the House of Representatives, you hardly recognize it now after we reviewed in the Senate,” he added.

The senator disclosed that he had already signed the committee report reflecting the major amendments to the previous version of the MIF bill, which many of his fellow senators deemed unacceptable.

Escudero also expressed his intention to be among the interpellators of the committee report prepared by the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies, chaired by Villar, who was also one of the authors of the proposed measures.

“I want to make sure that the bill from the Senate will have the necessary safeguards and, more importantly, puts the interest of the Filipino people first,” Escudero said.

“If you will compare SB 1670 and SB 2020, there’s a huge difference – it is now totally unrecognizable,” he said.

The senator noted that one of the major improvements introduced to the measure through SB 2020 is to allow the Maharlika Investment Corp. (MIC) to issue bonds. It is accompanied by provisions detailing the authorized and subscribed capital stocks to be created.

He said SB 2020 provides for P500 billion in authorized capital stocks that will be P375 billion worth of common stocks to be subscribed by the national government and P125 billion worth of preferred stocks to be subscribed by the national government and reputable private financial institutions and corporations “subject to certain conditions.”

The bill further prescribes that of the initial P125 billion worth of MIC common stocks to be subscribed by the national government, P75 billion shall be fully paid P50 billion by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and P25 billion by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), according to Escudero.

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