Source:  Philippine Star
Published on April 9, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the state-owned pension fund for government employees, is eyeing to invest in the administration’s public-private partnership program for infrastructure, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said yesterday.

Purisima said that infrastructure financing is one of the options GSIS has to grow its investments following the pension fund’s decision to pull out their investments from abroad.

“There are ample investment opportunities in the country, including infrastructure financing,” Purisima said.

He said that GSIS’ liabilities are denominated in pesos and can therefore keep its investments in the country.

“Their liabilities are in pesos and, therefore, not necessary to invest in foreign currency which just unnecessarily exposes them to currency risks,Purisima said.

He said he agreed with the GSIS decision to unwind its global investment program (GIP).

The Finance chief said there are other more attractive peso-denominated instruments such as blue chips and even government issued bonds.

The Aquino administration is eyeing to issue infrastructure bonds to finance projects under its PPP program. Proceeds of the bonds would help fund solicited infrastructure projects within the next three years.

The bonds, to be issued locally, will mature in 20 to 25 years or less depending on the terms or length of the infrastructure project.

Purisima said there are about 10 infrastructure projects to be launched this year and another 10 projects in 2012.

The government is also finalizing talks with multilateral agencies on how they can participate in the planned PPP program for infrastructure funding.

Earlier, the Social Security System (SSS), the state-owned pension fund for private employees, also said that it may invest in the government’s infrastructure bonds for PPP projects.

The SSS said this is among the options the agency is exploring to grow its funds. Other options include growing its investments in stocks or companies listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange.