‘Maharlika label not important’


THE economic managers are amenable to changing the name of the country’s proposed sovereign wealth fund after some lawmakers raised concerns about the name “Maharlika” Investment Fund, Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said.

Pangandaman said a few lawmakers have told the economic team of their apprehensions regarding the use of the word “Maharlika” in the name of the country’s proposed sovereign wealth fund.

Pangandaman disclosed that the economic managers are open to changing the name of the wealth fund, noting that the name of the fund is not a “dealbreaker.”

“What is important is to establish the fund, not the change of name. Some of the Senators asked if we were okay to change the name. Then I asked [Finance] Secretary Ben [Benjamin E. Diokno] and he is okay with it,” she told reporters in an interview last Thursday.

“Hindi siya dealbreaker; ang importante ma-establish ang fund. Hindi importante ang pangalan, but yung concept ng sovereign wealth fund at iyong creation,” she added. [It’s not a dealbreaker. What is important is that the fund is established. The name is not important but it is the concept of the sovereign wealth fund and its creation.]

Pangandaman said they would defer to the Senate, especially during the bicameral conference committee, regarding the possible new name of the proposed sovereign wealth fund of the country.

Earlier, some senators such as Sen. Ana Theresia Navarro “Risa” Hontiveros aired their sentiments that the use of “Maharlika” in the sovereign wealth fund’s name is aimed at “rehabilitating” the image of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.

Some critics of the fund have also noted that the use of Maharlika seeks to popularize a myth about a so-called guerilla unit called “Ang Mga Maharlika,” which was allegedly led by Marcos Sr. during the Japanese occupation. The narrative has been repeatedly debunked by historians and archival documents, according to fact-checker reports.