Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – The Maharlika Investments Corp. (MIC) is expected to be fully operational before the end of the year, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.

In a briefing late Friday, Diokno said the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) Act of 2023 is expected to be signed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. before his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July.

Once enacted into law, Diokno said "we're expected to prepare the implementing rules and regulations (IRR), we're expected to look for people to man the MIC."

"That is the direction and I see this to be fully operational before the end of the year," he added.

The Congress approved last week the MIF Act of 2023.

The MIF will be the Philippines’ first-ever sovereign wealth fund that will optimize national funds by generating returns to support the administration’s economic goals.

The Fund will be invested in a wide range of assets, including foreign currencies, fixed-income instruments, domestic and foreign corporate bonds, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, real estate and high-impact infrastructure projects, and projects that contribute to the attainment of sustainable development.

Diokno said the MIC would have at least PHP75 billion in paid-up capital this year.

Of the total, PHP50 billion will come from the Land Bank of the Philippines while the remaining PHP25 billion will be from the Development Bank of the Philippines.

Despite concerns that raising additional investments for the fund will be quite challenging this year given the economic environment both here and globally, Diokno assured that "the Philippines is in a better position now compared to years ago."

"Globally there's a lot of distress but for us, we got an upgrade [from Fitch]. It's like our star is shining bright so maybe that will help attract more investments," Diokno said.

National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon for her part said that the government would be "very aggressive" to make sure that there will be resources for the MIF.

"Let's look at this, if Maharlika's not there, how do we fund our projects? Before it's debt but this time around it can be equity so we can reduce government debt," she said. (PNA)