ZURICH, Switzerland – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday said the proposed Maharlika wealth fund will make investments in the basic areas of agriculture, energy, digitalization and climate change.
“Meron na tayong puwede pang pag-usapan na sovereign wealth fund. So sasabihin ko exactly what’s happened that we are forming a sovereign wealth fund for investments, for big investments in the basic areas such as agri, energy, digitalization, climate change — the point being is that now there is a wealth fund,” Marcos told reporters while on board a plane from Manila to Switzerland.
(We have something to talk about, the sovereign wealth fund. So I will tell you exactly what’s happened, that we are forming a sovereign wealth fund for investments, for big investments in the basic areas such as agri, energy, digitalization, climate change — the point being is that now there is a wealth fund)
The announcement was seen as a renewed effort by the government to attract more investments in the country and to create more economic opportunities. Marcos hopes that the wealth fund will be a mechanism to increase the country’s economic stability and alleviate poverty.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Carlos Sorreta said last week that Marcos will bring up the sovereign wealth fund during the World Economic Forum (WEF) scheduled from January 16 to 20 in Davos, Switzerland.
“It’s really more of a soft launch, to introduce it,” Sorreta said during a press briefing.
Sorreta said it was the President’s idea to tackle the wealth fund, which seeks to maximize the investible funds of state-run financial institutions and ultimately increase public funds for nation-building.
The House of Representatives already approved on final reading House Bill 6608, which creates the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) and was certified as urgent by the President.
The measure creating the MIF states that it would be funded by the investible resources of the Landbank of the Philippines (P50 billion), the Development Bank of the Philippines (P25 billion), and the dividends/profits of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The President while en route to Switzerland to attend the WEF in Davos also expressed his excitement for one of the programs set to be featured at the forum, a one-on-one conversation between himself and WEF President Børge Brende.
This conversation will give chief executive officers and global business leaders the opportunity to ask the President questions directly.
“I am looking forward to the one-on-one conversation at the World Economic Forum,” said Marcos. “This conversation will be a great opportunity for CEOs and business leaders to exchange ideas and gain knowledge.”
The President also spoke of his eagerness to speak directly to CEOs and global business leaders at the forum one on one, saying “The best deals are often done informally on the sidelines of forums like this.”
He believes that engaging with these leaders will be the most effective way to attract investors to the Philippine economy.
“That I think will give us… Kasi kung titingnan mo ‘yung mga prepared speeches, maliliit lang, five minutes lang eh. But I think that kind of forum, that kind of format will be — give us a better opportunity to expand and expound on the things that we are doing in the Philippines,” Marcos said.
(If you will see, the prepared speeches are short, just five minutes.)
Marcos added that the WEF is a great opportunity for the Philippines to attract investments but, aside from the formal programs and speeches at the forum, informal talks on the sidelines are a more effective way to do it.
“Sometimes, the best deals are done outside of the forum. In fact, many — I’ll even say, baka most of the best deals — are done informally,” said Marcos.
“They just pull somebody away, ‘usap tayo (let’s talk),'” he said. This way of networking will be beneficial for the Philippines, and Marcos said it will give investors a great opportunity to understand the unique economic and business conditions of the Philippines.
Marcos will speak at the WEF on Wednesday, January 18. He departed Manila on Sunday morning and arrived in Switzerland early Monday morning, Philippine time.
He was invited to greet the participants and to express his perspective on one of the main topics of discussion — the need for increased global cooperation.
The WEF has been held annually since 1971 with the sole purpose of connecting leaders from businesses, politics, academia, and society to shape and collaborate in search of better solutions on global issues.
This year, topics of discussion range from new technologies to global trade and digital platforms. —KG, GMA Integrated News