Marcos certifies as urgent Senate bill creating Maharlika fund

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri (L) and House Speaker Martin Romualdez (R) congratulate President Ferdinand Marcos Jr (C) after he delivered his first State of the Nation address at the House of Representatives in Quezon City on Monday, July 25, 2022.
AFP / Jam Sta Rosa, pool

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:31 p.m.) — President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has certified the Senate bill seeking to create the Maharlika Investment Fund as urgent, which will allow the swifter passage of the measure in the chamber.

Marcos’ certification of Senate Bill 2020, which is currently under the period of interpellations, was read out by Senate secretary Renato Bantug Jr. as part of the Wednesday session’s reference of business.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri then referred Marcos’ message to the Senate rules committee chaired by Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva.

In his certification at the Senate a copy of which was obtained by Philstar.com, Marcos cited the “downgrade of the global growth projection” due to inflation, the Ukraine-Russia war and international interest hikes.

“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,” Marcos continued.

A presidential certification that a bill is urgent allows the legislature to bypass the three-day rule or the constitutional requirement for bills to be approved on third and final reading three days after it is approved on second reading.

House bill marked as urgent 

Marcos earlier certified as urgent the House bill that seeks to create the Maharlika fund, which allowed the lower chamber to pass it in just 17 days from its filing.

In his message to the House, Marcos said he was certifying the Maharlika fund bill as urgent "in order to establish a sustainable national investment fund as a strategic mechanism for strengthening the investment activities of top performing government financial institutions, and thus pump-prime economic growth and social development."

Debates on the Maharlika fund bill have been ongoing for a week now, with senators taking turns asking questions to Sen. Mark Villar who is shepherding the passage of the measure in the upper chamber.

After interpellations end, the period of amendments will start. Once senators finish introducing further amendments to the bill, the Senate can pass the Maharlika fund measure on second reading and right away approve it on final reading.

Under the Senate measure, the fund’s initial capital will come from the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, dividends from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, and from the privatization of government assets.

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