THE Palace decision to halt the implementing rules of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said, does not mean the government has thrown in the towel in the effort to create the fund.
On the sidelines of an event on Wednesday, BSP Governor Eli M. Remolona Jr. said he was aware of the developments, but it was not communicated to him officially.
Remolona said the order merely pushed for the suspension of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the MIF.
However, he said he was not aware of the reason behind the order.
“Someone sent me the memo by the Executive Secretary,” Remolona said when asked how he was made aware of the development. “[It was] addressed to someone. It wasn’t addressed to me.”
Remolona said he does not yet know the impact of the order, only that it will not affect how they regulate the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, two sources of capital for the MIF.
“We will evaluate the request [regulatory relief], as we do for any other request by banks and then we will carry out the usual regulations that we carry out. So they will not be treated in a special way. They’ll be regulated the way we always regulate banks,” Remolona stressed.
BusinessMirror contacted Monetary Board Member Rosalia V. de Leon for comment on the matter. However, none was received as of press time.
De Leon, in her former capacity as National Treasurer, drafted the IRR, the implementation of which was suspended by the order from Executive Secretary Lucas B. Bersamin.
A copy of a Memorandum from the Executive Secretary was released on Wednesday, stating that the IRR of the Maharlika Investment Fund Act of 2023 was suspended as of October 12.
Bersamin said in the memorandum that “upon the directive of the President,” the Treasurer of the Philippines, in coordination with the LBP and DBP, were directed to suspend the implementation of the IRR “pending further study.”
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed the controversial Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) Act in July to help draw more investors to the country.
The signing ceremony was held at the Kalayaan Hall in Malacañang despite criticisms from some groups that it would expose government funds to possible misappropriation.
In his speech during the event, the President said the MIF will allow the government to “leverage a small fraction of the considerable, but under-utilized investable fund of the government” to stimulate the economy without the disadvantage of adding additional fiscal and debt burden.
In August, the BusinessMirror first got hold of a copy of the approved implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act 11954 or the MIF Act.
Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno on Tuesday told reporters that the IRR was published in the Official Gazette last August 28.
The approved IRR, which took effect on September 12, outlined the qualifications for the members of the MIC board from Regular Directors, Independent Directors, and President and CEO.
Under Section 39 of the IRR, the MIC PCEO must hold an “advanced degree,” either an MBA, MA, MSc or even a PhD in finance, economics, business administration or a related field from a “reputable university.”
The PCEO shall also possess “exceptional” experience and expertise in various aspects: corporate management, financial planning strategy, strategic planning and vision, market and business development, and budget development.
The IRR stipulated that the PCEO must have a “minimum” of 10 years experience in finance or investment that including 10 years’ experience in a senior leadership role in a “reputable” financial institution or public/private sector organization.
The IRR added that it is “preferred” that the financial institution or organization has Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria and sustainable investment.