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Changes sought in proposed sovereign wealth fund board with directors from private sector 

AMENDMENTS were proposed on Thursday to the composition of the board of directors for the planned sovereign wealth fund, with the inclusion of representatives from the private sector and academe who will not be chosen by the president.   

At an online hearing of the House banking committee, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) President Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso and Albay 2nd District Rep. Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda recommended appointing one director each from the Philippine Stock Exchange, Bankers Association of the Philippines, and the University of the Philippines School of Economics.  

They said these three would serve as the “independent” directors of the board of the sovereign wealth fund, a state-run investment fund that is generally intended to help stabilize a country’s economy and generate wealth for future generations.  

“They all have the background to be able to address investments in the sovereign wealth fund and be able to represent the private sector and address concerns about the misuse of funds and the like,” Mr. Veloso said.  

GSIS, the pension fund for government workers, has committed to provide P125 billion to the sovereign wealth fund, which is half of the total capital.  

Senior Deputy Minority Leader Paul R. Daza also questioned the proposed bill’s provision that makes the country’s president chair of the wealth fund’s board of directors, with the authority to appoint the directors.   

“A director appointed by the president is not independent,” Mr. Daza said.  

House Bill 6398, filed on Monday, seeks to create the Maharlika Wealth Fund (MWF), with capital to be sourced from major pension funds, government banks, and the national budget under the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).  

Mr. Daza questioned tapping funds from the annual budget, saying this is counterintuitive with 30-40% of the GAA coming from loans.   

ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France L. Castro on Wednesday also noted that sovereign wealth funds are typically taken from a country’s surplus reserves.   

Ms. Castro, in a statement, said the proposed MWF would only “endanger (Filipinos’) hard earned money and pension for their retirement” and is counterproductive to uplifting the quality of life of Filipinos. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz

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