Karapatan slams railroading of Maharlika bill

Human rights alliance Karapatan condemned the railroading of the Maharlika Investment Fund Bill, with the Senate version involving the use of at least PhP 500 Billion, mainly from public funds through the Land Bank, Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and other government agencies. There is likewise no explicit prohibition on the use of pension funds from the Government Service and Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS).

Said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, “The Filipino people scored a victory last December 2023 when the House version removed the GSIS and SSS pension funds from the list of seed fund sources.”

“But this Senate version, without sufficient inputs from broad public consultations, contains vague provisions on the use of pension funds and retains the use of billions of public funds, even raising the Maharlika Investment Fund’s capitalization from PhP7 billion to a whopping PhP500 billion,” said Palabay.

“Whatever interpellations will be made on the Senate floor will be perfunctory,” said Palabay. “With Ferdinand Marcos Jr. already certifying the Maharlika bill as ‘urgent,’ the Senate version is set to be railroaded before the Senate’s break on June 3, 2023. Like the House version, it may be passed on final reading in just one day.”

“Imagine the immense monopoly power that will be vested in Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his trusted lieutenants who will be put in charge of this gargantuan fund,” said Palabay.

She added, “We will not relent in exposing and opposing these shenanigans being perpetrated by the Senate and the Marcos Jr. regime, especially as it concerns funds painstakingly contributed by the working people and entrusted to the government.”