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‘Fine-toothed’ Senate scrutiny of MIF bill pushed

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Labor groups urged the Senate to exercise due diligence in tackling the provisions of the bill creating the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF).

They noted the Senate should conduct exhaustive stakeholder consultations on the matter, which should cover not only government financial institutions (GFI), but also workers and union leaders.

“With widespread corruption in government, it is but right to express fears over this proposal. We thus urge the Senate not to rush the approval of the MIF as it involves hundreds of billions of public funds,” the group said in a joint statement issued on Thursday.

Based on the existing versions of the legislation creating the MIF, they said the program would cover at least P500 billion in public funds.

Among the signatories of the said statement are the Kilusang Mayo Uno, Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, UNI Global Union-Philippine Liaison Council, , Education International, Building and Wood Workers International, Pagkakaisa ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide, BPO Industry Employees’ Network, National Confederation of Transport Union, National Union of Workers in Hotel, Restaurant and Allied Industries, League of Independent Banks Organization, and the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino.

They issued the joint statement after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. recently certified as urgent Senate Bill (SB) No. 2020, establishing the MIF to help the government in making “high-impact large infrastructure projects.”

The House of Representatives already passed its counterpart MIF legislation, House Bill 6608, last December.

The labor groups reiterated their opposition to the creation of MIF, which they noted would only divert much needed government funds from public services to “strategic investments.”

“Should this bill pass into law, it will take away billions from government institutions which should have been spent on workers, farmers, MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises), education, public healthcare and Covid-19 response, and other social services,” they said.

Rather than prioritizing the passage of the MIF bill, they said the President and Congress should focus on legislation, which will grant wage increase, security of tenure, protection of the right to organize, and other workers’ welfare-related measures.  -30-

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