Press Release
May 29, 2023

Pia: we need to assure the people that their money in pension funds are secure, and would not have additional exposure to MIF

Manifestation of Senator Pia S. Cayetano on the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF)

Thank you. I actually wanted to take the floor earlier in the middle of Sen. Risa Hontiveros' questioning but I didn't also want to interrupt her flow. So with the permission of the gentleman, I will just make an additional comment to something that was discussed earlier?

Your honor, if I recall, before we went on break, one of the topics being discussed is the same topic I raised when I took the floor a week ago. This is about the investment of our pension funds. Her honor, Sen. Risa, mentioned that her concern, like my concern, is about the exposure of the funds that are already supposed to be used for pension. And his honor will recall, I asked the same question.

In response to Sen. Risa, the sponsor said, how would it look? What signal would it send if our own funds...are not invested? And I just wanted to react to that, Mr President, because we do have a history of funds not being taken care of.

And the signal that I think is most important is the assurance to the Filipino people that their hard-earned money in the pension funds are secure. Just for the record, your honor. Because I cannot sit here and not make a comment because -I'll speak for myself - it is my solemn duty to ensure that.

I know the circumstances are different. But I was already a senator. Sen. Bong [Revilla], who is sitting in front of me, was also a senator, and I am looking for Sen. Jinggoy [Estrada] because I am about to read something that quotes Sen. Jinggoy. This is on the Senate website, dated October 5, 2006, bata pa tayo nun, Bong.

[Reads 2006 press release] "Jinggoy blames Palace for not saving RSBS... Opposition stalwart Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada yesterday blamed the Arroyo administration for neglecting the welfare of military pensioners and failing to rescue the beleaguered Armed Forces of the Philippines Retirement and Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS)."

I won't go into details, your honor. I know the circumstances are very different, I will not waste his honor's time. This [RSBS] was based on a Presidential Decree, and I think it was just the Chief of Staff who will make the sole decision. So I understand there are a lot of safety measures already in this measure. There is a board of directors, there will be COA, and many others. But, I just want his honor to understand that it is still our job to ask these questions to analyze it, and to find our comfort level on how we can give whatever assurance we can to the Filipino people that ang pinaghirapan nilang pension is [protected]. And this is really the worst: nag-retire ka na, you are going to have to rely now on the money you put in over the last 20-30 years when you were still able-bodied and working. So, it's our job to be able to assure them.

So I just again am reacting to the 'signaling' that I feel is equally, if not more important. That we give the assurance to the Filipino people that inasmuch as this fund [is concerned], we do hope that it will produce the positive results that we want. It is our humble position that the pension funds need not have additional exposure.

I do not have the amount of funding that GSIS or SSS have already made in Landbank and DBP. But what I do know is for PhilHealth, they already have P75 billion in Landbank and DBP. And that is equivalent to the contribution of Landbank and DBP to the Maharlika Fund. So to say that they will not have the positive exposure, if it is positive, is not correct. Because their investment in Landbank and DBP will also yield positive results for them. And if it's negative, it will also yield negative results. So the position we take, and we will put this forward during the period of amendments, is that huwag na silang dagdagan kasi they will benefit naman through their investments in Landbank and DBP.

So that, Mr. President, is our manifestation during this time. Thank you.

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