Sunday, March 3, 2024
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Philippine Congress passes controversial USD2B wealth fund bill

MANILA (AFP) – Philippine legislators endorsed yesterday a proposed law to create a USD2 billion sovereign wealth fund but slashed its planned initial capital following public fears of corruption.

President Ferdinand Marcos has called for a swift passage of the bill, filed by his son and a cousin, to enable the debt-laden government to earn extra funds to finance huge infrastructure projects.

The Senate must pass a counterpart bill for the measure to become law.

The version of the “Maharlika Investment Fund” passed by the House of Representatives on a second reading yesterday will have two state banks initially providing a total of PHP75 billion (USD1.3 billion).

Central bank profits, which the bill’s authors estimate at PHP35 billion this year, will make up the balance.

The total is far smaller than an earlier version of the bill that envisioned a PHP275-billion fund, mostly capitalised by two state-run pension funds.