Philippines Eyes 80 Infrastructure Projects for Maharlika Fund Investment

The Philippine government, under the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos, is set to revolutionize its infrastructure landscape with an ambitious plan to finance around 80 flagship projects. These projects, aimed at enhancing connectivity and economic growth, are to be funded through the newly created Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF).

Among the key projects is the long-awaited rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), a project that has been in the pipeline for years. This move is part of a larger vision that includes railways in Panay and Mindanao, an expressway in Metro Cebu, and the Ilocos Sur Trans Basin venture. President Marcos, addressing a gathering at the Philippine Economic Briefing in San Francisco, emphasized the MIF’s role as a novel financing mode for projects that promise high returns and significant socio-economic impact.

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board, chaired by the President, approved these projects, amounting to about P9 trillion, showcasing the government’s commitment to upgrading the country’s infrastructure. This includes digital and physical connectivity, as well as improvements in water, agriculture, health, transport, and energy sectors.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan highlighted the selection of these projects based on their expected rates of return, with a focus on urban areas to ensure profitability for the MIF. The Maharlika Investment Corp. (MIC), managing the MIF, will explore investment opportunities in various sectors, including public-private partnership proposals for Naia’s rehabilitation.

MIC CEO Rafael Consing Jr. stated that the government might also contribute assets to the MIC to increase its capitalization and earnings. This strategy, inspired by Indonesia’s sovereign wealth fund model, includes both cash and asset contributions from the government.

With an initial capital of P107 billion, sourced from state-owned lenders and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the MIC is poised to expand its capital to about P500 billion. This expansion plan includes selling bonds and conducting overseas roadshows to attract foreign pension funds and other sovereign wealth funds. The investments are expected to support key sectors like tourism infrastructure, agro-urbanism, energy security, and digital infrastructure.

This strategic move by the Philippine government represents a significant step towards modernizing the nation’s infrastructure, with the potential to create over 10,000 jobs and bring transformative economic growth.

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