MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Sunday flew to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum (WEF), vowing to entice investments and highlight the country’s willingness to participate in regional and global expansion plans as nations recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The World Economic Forum is hosting a Country Strategy Dialogue for us where we are given the opportunity to promote the Philippines as leader and driver of growth and a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region,” said Marcos in his pre- departure at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City at around 9:00 a.m.
Marcos is the only leader from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and one of the only two leaders from Asia who will attend the WEF.
“Open for business”
“One that is open for business – ever ready to complement regional and global expansion plans of both foreign and Philippine-based enterprises anchored on the competent and well-educated Filipino workers, the managers, and professionals,” he added.
Marcos said he will look for partners who will back his administration’s infrastructural plans, and ensure food and energy security, as well as its work in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I will draw attention to our efforts at building resilient infrastructure that bolsters our effort to reinforce robust and resilient supply chains, ensures food security, including critical interlinkages with the health and nutrition, while furthering climate-friendly, clean and green energy to power the Philippine economy,” the President said.
“Moreover, I will share our experience as a model for managing – with our global partners – the disruptive and transformative impact of COVID” the President pointed out.
He then also vowed to raise the need to reinforce post-pandemic economic recovery efforts, tackling major challenges such as rising food prices, which he attributed to conflicts and climate change.
Sovereign wealth fund
During his trip to Davos, the President will promote his proposed sovereign wealth fund, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Foreign Undersecretary Carlos Sorreta told reporters last week that it was the President who said he wanted to discuss the sovereign wealth fund before political, business, and civil society leaders during the WEF.
The proposed sovereign wealth fund has yet to secure approval from Congress.
“The WEF is a great venue to do a sort of soft launch for our sovereign wealth fund, given the prominence of the forum itself and global and business leaders will be there,” Sorreta said.
The WEF is a global business forum attended by world and business leaders alike to come up with ideas and plans to address challenges facing the economy. This year’s WEF, with the theme “Cooperation in a Fragmented World,” is the forum’s first in-person gathering since 2020.
Marcos was invited by Prof. Klaus Schwab, the founder and Chair Emeritus of the WEF at the sidelines of both the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Phnom Penh and Bangkok, respectively, in November last year.
This is Marcos’ eight foreign trip in under seven months, or since he assumed office on June 30.
The president will also meet with the Filipino community in Switzerland and other parts of Europe.
After his trip to Switzerland, the President will fly to Japan in mid-February upon the invitation of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.