Revised Maharlika Fund IRR makes changes in board’s appointments

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

November 11, 2023, 1:52 pm Updated on November 12, 2023, 1:48 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – The revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) 11954 introduced several amendments to the provisions on the appointment of the Board of Directors of the Maharlika Investment Corporation (MIC).

Under the revised IRR, the MIC Board will still be composed of nine members, with the Secretary of Finance sitting as chairperson in an ex officio capacity and the MIC president and chief executive officer (PCEO) as vice chairperson.

The other members are the president and CEOs and presidents of the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, two regular directors, and three independent directors from the private sector.

The new IRR mandates the Advisory Board to submit to the Office of the President the list of nominees to vacant regular and independent director, and PCEO positions not later than 30 days from their vacancy.

It also inserts a new provision that states that the President “may either accept or reject the recommendation of the Advisory Body” and “may require the Advisory Body to submit additional names of nominees.”

Nominations and applications that meet all the qualifications and do not have any of the disqualifications will be transmitted to the Advisory Body for further evaluation and shortlisting.

Marcos earlier ordered the deferment of the implementation of the IRR of RA 11954 to conduct a further review of the law to make sure safeguards are in place to guarantee transparency and accountability in carrying out its provisions.

In a separate statement, Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil said Marcos’ instruction was to give the Board of Directors of the MIC independence to manage the MIF to make sure that the sovereign wealth fund is “free from any undue political interference.”

“President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. guaranteed that the members of the Maharlika Investment Corp. (MIC) will exercise independence to give the body more latitude in managing the fund, thus promoting good corporate governance,” Garafil said.

“This was one of the provisions put forward by the President when he met with officials from the Office of the President, Office of the Executive Secretary, Presidential Management Staff, Bureau of Treasury, and Government Service Insurance System.”

The officials tasked to review the IRR of the MIF law met on Monday to finalize the IRR.

After the issuance of the revised IRR, the corporate structure will be immediately established to get the MIF “up and running,” to ensure that transparency and accountability will be evident in the organizational structure itself, Garafil said.

“To carry out such functions as provided for under the law, the President instructed to strengthen and guarantee some powers that are inherently vested in the Board. These include, among others, the manner by which government contributions shall be deposited, creation of corporate officers, imposition of additional qualifications and/or disqualifications of regular and independent directors, and creation of committees and their functions,” she said.

In a statement, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is said the final IRR will protect and guarantee the fund from the dangers of political interference.

“This move is a significant step towards enhancing corporate governance and ensuring that the MIF is managed with the utmost transparency and accountability,” he said, hailing President Marcos’ commitment to “strengthening the independence”’ of the Board of Directors. 

“The autonomy of the MIC Board allows for more objective and effective decision-making, free from undue political influence. This is crucial in overseeing a fund of this magnitude, which is pivotal to our nation's economic growth.”

He highlighted the specific instruction of Marcos for the MIC Board to enjoy “independence,” which is clearly his demonstration of a “a strong commitment to good governance practices, which will foster investor confidence and attract more investment to our country.” (PNA)