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Labor group stages protest vs sovereign wealth fund

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A LABOR group on Wednesday staged a protest against a proposal to establish a sovereign wealth fund, which would source capital from state-run pension funds.  

The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), in a statement, said the government should not gamble funds meant to benefit both private and public sector workers, including minimum-wage earners.  

“The Social Security System’s (SSS) funds came from the blood, sweat and tears of millions of workers, and we are worried this will be wasted through the Maharlika Investment Fund,” BMP Chairperson Leodegario “Ka Leody” de Guzman was quoted as saying during the demonstration held in front of the SSS main office in Quezon City.  

The SSS covers private sector workers while civil servants are under the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).   

He said the government should instead focus on helping micro, small, and medium enterprises and developing local businesses.  

House Bill 6398, filed on Monday, seeks to set up a sovereign wealth fund called Maharlika Wealth Fund, with a P250-billion initial investment that will come from the two pension funds and government-owned banks.  

In a separate statement on Wednesday, GSIS President and General Manager Jose Arnulfo A. Veloso said the measure would bolster economic activity and provide funding for critical infrastructure projects in the country.  

“We can cherry-pick the investments that will suit our risk parameters and credit risk management parameters that will allow our GSIS employees to benefit from all these,” he said.  

GSIS has pledged to provide P125 billion for the wealth fund.  

Mr. De Guzman, on the other hand, asked in Filipino: “If it is true that the plan is to grow the funds of the SSS with consideration for the benefits of its members, the government should not gamble on this big risk.” — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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