Senator Imee Marcos has described the Malampaya Gas Field as a “missed opportunity” for the Philippine government in its push for the creation of the Maharlika Investment Fund.

In a recent interview on ANC’s World Tonight, Sen. Marcos said the gas field’s operation, which the government opted to award to Enrique Razon’s Prime Infrastructure Capital Inc. (Prime Infra) and Dennis Uy’s Udenna instead of retaining it, would have been a “jackpot” opportunity to fund the MIF.

“Ito sana ang pera at jackpot para sa Pilipinas at para sa Pilipino,” Marcos said.

Marcos was also referring to the statement made earlier this week by Winnie Monsod, former Secretary of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), who claimed that the Gas Field would have been the “perfect source of funds” for the bill.

She further stated that the proceeds from Malampaya should have gone to the government to be used for investing in improving human capital, health, infrastructure, among other things.

Earlier this year, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. awarded an extension of the service contract to the two private companies who will operate it until February 22, 2039.

The National Youth Movement for the West Philippine Sea (NYMWPS), a civil society group, has strongly opposed the service contract extension and award to the Uy and Razon-led firms, sttING that the operation of the Malampaya Gas Field must have gone to the Philippine government for its use and development to generate further substantial financing for national development.

“Senator Marcos’ sentiments on the Malampaya Gas Field as a missed opportunity for a major windfall for the Philippines in oil exploration are exactly what the NYMWPS and its allies have been telling the government, the people and the media through various fora since the issue exploded during the last administration,” it said in a statement.

“In support of former NEDA Secretary Monsod’s statements, the NYMWPS strongly believes that the Malampaya Gas Field and the substantial funds it would generate should be used in developing human assets, infrastructure, health services, as well as investments in education, defense, commerce and the economic sectors,” it added.