RIYADH: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. continued his push for the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) in Saudi Arabia, saying the Philippines is looking forward to benefiting “from the Kingdom’s extensive experience in managing such funds.”
Marcos made mention of the MIF during a roundtable meeting with Saudi business leaders on Thursday in Riyadh where he urged them to explore the Philippines as an investment hub.
“At the forefront of these opportunities is the recently launched Maharlika Investment Fund, the Philippines’ first-ever sovereign investment fund designed to drive long-term economic development through increased investments in high-impact sectors,” Marcos said.
“We look forward to benefiting not just from Saudi investments, but also from the Kingdom’s extensive experience in managing such funds,” he added.
The President made the pitch for the MIF event after he suspended the implementation of the law, pending a review of its Implementing Rules and Regulations.
“The organization of the Maharlika Fund proceeds apace. And what I have done though, is that we have found more improvements we can make, specifically to the organizational structure of the Maharlika Fund,” Marcos said in his speech before his flight to Saudi Arabia.
“The concept of the Maharlika fund as a sovereign fund, an investment fund…remains a good one and we are still committed to having it operational by the end of the year,” he added.
Marcos said the public should not misinterpret the suspension as “a judgment of the rightness or wrongness of the Maharlika fund.”
“On the contrary, we are just finding ways to make it as close to perfect and ideal as possible, and that is what we have done,” he said.
“This has been in consultation not only with economic managers but also with personalities who will actually be involved in the fund,” he added.
The President is in Saudi Arabia to participate at the 2023 Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit (Asean-GCC) that will be held in Riyadh, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Friday.
In the same speech on Thursday, Marcos reaffirmed the Philippines “readiness for deeper economic partnerships not just within the Southeast Asian region but as well as with our extended neighbors here in the Gulf.”
“We hope that the Philippines will be your chosen gateway to the Asean and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) economies, which was earlier spoken about,” he said.
“And on that note, I hope that the Saudi business leaders present here today will further Make It Happen in the Philippines,” he added.
Marcos expressed hope that “we will further engage our two countries and will develop and explore opportunities that as yet we have not discussed between our two countries.”
“We hope to see all of you to visit the Philippines, to see what the opportunities are and for us as well for our part in the Philippines to bring our teams to the Kingdom and further we already have a very strong and very long-standing people-to-people relationship which can serve as a very good foundation for any future endeavors between our two countries,” he said.
“However, we should not limit ourselves alone to the labor market. We should also explore the new businesses that have come up since the end of the pandemic economy and that is the area where I think that the GCC and Asean will find as a fertile ground for future investment, and also for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of the Philippines to further strengthen the ties, not only in trade but in areas of telecommunication, healthcare, energy, and even agriculture as what’s been spoken about,” he added