Maharlika fund to be protected by safeguards, says BTr chief
The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said on Wednesday that measures are in place to ensure the integrity of the planned P275-billion Maharlika Wealth Fund amid mounting criticism against the measure due to the timing and risks involved with the investment instrument.
National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said they support calls to study House Bill No. 6398, or the Maharlika Investments Fund Act, to ensure that risk management is in place.
“Upon reading the bill, we note that there are already eight measures that will safeguard the integrity of the fund,” De Leon said of the proposed legislation filed by House Speaker Martin Romualdez, Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro Marcos and four other lawmakers.
The first was that the sovereign wealth fund will adhere to the “Santiago Principles,” a set of 24 generally accepted principles and practices voluntarily endorsed by the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds, a group of more than 30 sovereign wealth funds.
Secondly, all financial transactions will be governed by the applicable government laws, rules and regulations.
Third, there will be an internal audit, which includes financial reporting and audit of records wherein the financial statements and reports will be prepared.
The reporting and auditing will be done upon the guidance of the advisory body in accordance with the relevant provisions of the law and its implementing rules and regulations and the International Financial Reporting Standards.
The fourth reason cited by the BTr official is that there will be an internationally recognized auditing firm that will serve as the external auditor of the fund to review its financial statements.
Fifth, the fund will be scrutinized by the Commission on Audit.
Sixth, there is an advisory body that will assist the board of directors in formulating general policies related to investment and risk management.
There will also be a joint congressional oversight committee tasked to oversee, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the fund, the BTr cited as the seventh safeguard.
Lastly, the BTr said there is a specific provision to prevent unnecessary withdrawals from the fund, citing in particular, section 15 of the bill which states that no withdrawals of equity shall be made before 2028.
Past 2028, equity withdrawals will be made in accordance with the guidelines prescribed by the board or the implementing rules and regulations of the act, the Treasurer added.
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