Government Service Insurance System President and General Manager Arnulfo "Wick" Veloso (PNA photo by Wilnard Bacelonia)   

MANILA - Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) President and General Manager Arnulfo "Wick" Veloso said Wednesday that the proposed measure to establish a sovereign wealth fund is an opportunity for government financial institutions like GSIS and Social Security System to improve the benefits of their members.

During the regular Laging Handa Public Briefing, Veloso said GSIS welcomed House Bill No. 6398 being pushed by the House leadership, creating a P250 billion wealth fund where the seed money will come from four GFIs.

Veloso also said that GSIS has been investing its “excess investible funds”, and putting them into “Maharlika fund” even excites them.

"Kami po ay na-excite sapagka't saan po tayo makakakita ng isang korporasyon called the Maharlika na doon magi-invest ang GSIS? So, kami po yung excess funds namin after deducting the benefits of our members ay nagi-invest. Ito po ang ating trabaho at responsibilidad para mapabuti ang ating benepisyo sa ating mga government employees. (We are excited because where can we find a corporation called Maharlika and GSIS will invest there? Our excess funds, after deducting the benefits of our members, have been really investing. it is our job and responsibility to improve the benefits of our government employees)," Veloso said.

He said GSIS' current assets under its management are at PHP1.5 trillion and able to collect PHP26 billion per month.

HB 6398, once passed into law, will mandate GSIS to invest PHP125 billion in Maharlika Wealth Fund, which, according to Veloso, is a small amount compared to its current assets.

"Ang ilalaan po natin dito ay napakaliit na halaga na PHP125 billion sapagka't gusto naming makita kung papaano namin maisisiguro na paglagay namin dito sa kompanyang Maharlika, makikita po namin lahat ng oportunidad na imprastraktura dito sa Pilipinas (We will allot a small amount for this which is PHP125 billion because we want to see how we can ensure that when we invest in Maharlika, we will find all the opportunities of infrastructure here in the Philippines)," the GSIS chief said.

Aside from the benefits the members will get from investing in MWF, this would also help the economy improve more.

"If you are able to support these kind of companies, bababa ang presyo ng kuryente, magkakaroon ang tao ng trabaho (electricity rates will drop, there will be more jobs).

“More jobs equals more taxes. More taxes (will) improve country's economic performance, it will lower the budget deficit, improve the country's GDP, and now the continuous amount of economic activity is good for the Filipino people," he added.

However, Veloso noted that people who should be running Maharlika should be "the best and the brightest" in the financial industry.

The bill, which was sponsored by Speaker Martin Romualdez and the president’s son, Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro Marcos, passed the committee level last week and will be taken to the plenary today for deliberations.

The House leadership believed that the proposal will be passed on the third and final reading next week before Congress goes into Christmas break. (PNA)