WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Months after telling media that flying to Switzerland for the World Economic Forum (WEF) is “traveling too much,” President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is in Davos to attend the annual gathering of the world’s business and political elite.
There, according to Marcos himself, he wants to “soft launch” his administration’s controversial sovereign wealth fund proposal, even if it has yet to pass the Senate.
In Davos, where attendance is expect to hit pre-COVID-19 lockdown levels, it’s going to be conflict – between countries, ideologies, and economic boundaries, among others – that will take the spotlight. The theme is “Cooperation in a Fragmented World,” so what will that mean for the Philippines?
Bookmark this page for updates on the goings-on in Switzerland as Marcos embarks on yet another trip abroad.
Marcos arrives from WEF trip, brings home ‘beneficial outcomes,’ Maharlika Fund tips
Fresh from his trip to Switzerland, President Ferdinand Marcos reported on Saturday, January 21, that his participation at the World Economic Forum “yielded beneficial outcomes relative to new trade and investment opportunities, and key partnerships forged to support our development program, a better appreciation for Filipino workers and professionals, and the promise of increased level of cooperation with various countries around the world.”
“We now will be working to consolidate and develop these contacts and discussions that we have begun. The measure of success will be how much of this we can bring to fruition. That process has begun, and we will continue until we see the final results of these endeavors,” he said in his arrival statement.
In Davos, Arroyo praises ‘Western-educated’ Marcos
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s chief “consultant” in Beijing is also among his cheerleaders during their five-day visit to the posh and snowy Alpine town of Davos.
In an interview conducted and released by RTVM, an agency tasked to document the President’s activities, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo piled on praises for Marcos at the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Allies and appointees – members of the Philippine delegation to Davos – are interviewed on government-run RTVM about the supposed gains of joining WEF.
Read the full Inside Track.
Marcos meets with OFWs in Zurich
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. introduced the new Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and its secretary, Susan “Toots” Ople, to the Filipino community in Zurich, Switzerland, as he met with them on Friday, January 20.
“Itong department na ito ay walang gagawin kung hindi intindihin ang kalagayan ng ating mga OFW na alam kong nagsisikap at kung minsan ay nangangailangan ng tulong, kaya’t nandiyan na ngayon,” said Marcos. (This department will do nothing but focus on the situation of our overseas Filipino workers, that I know work hard and sometimes need help, which is why they are there now.)
The DMW is the Philippine government’s newest department, created by then-president Rodrigo Duterte in December 2021 to consolidate offices related to OFWs under the foreign affairs, labor, and social welfare departments. It became fully operational in 2023.
Marcos also told the community about the Philippine delegation’s efforts in the World Economic Forum in Davos to convince the international community to visit the Philippines for tourism and business.
Marcos: ‘No conflicting claims with China’
A huge chunk of his conversation with WEF President Børge Brende was on the Philippines’ relationship with China – especially in relation to the South China Sea, which the regional giant is claiming in its entirety.
Marcos repeated a line he’s said before, referring to overlapping claims in parts of the South China Sea. “We have no conflicting claims with China. What we have is China making claims on our territory and that is our – that is how we approach the problem that we find.”
He added: “Because we’ve established our baselines. The baselines was drawn out, was given to the UN and UNCLOS has accredited those baselines as the baselines of the Philippines. And we live with them for many, many years without a problem. And suddenly, things have changed. So I supposed China has some strategic concerns that have caused them to do this. So it is again – we are always…. If you have been listening to the ASEAN pronouncements, it is always to the rule of law, it is always UNCLOS that we talk about.”
Marcos also thumbed down a military solution, even as he acknowledged calls for Manila to “do more.” “And if they are going to be military, then they are not solutions because this will – it will end badly if it goes that way. It will end badly for everyone involved. And even those who are not involved,” he said.
Marcos credits PH growth to MSMEs
Speaking to WEF President Børge Brende on January 18, Marcos credited the Philippine economy’s growth to the micro, small and medium enterprises in the country. His administration, said Marcos, “concentrated on the MSMEs…because that comprises such a large part of our economy and it’s the same in most ASEAN countries.”
Marcos is also banking on keeping unemployment low is key to surviving the threat of a global economic slump. “My theory, my belief, and I think I’m right in that is that, as long as the unemployment rate stays low, then the recessionary forces are something that we can resist,” he said.
How Marcos is pushing for Maharlika fund in Davos
Speaking to World Economic Forum attendees at a Philippines-hosted event, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the proposed Maharlika wealth fund would “generate stable returns, but also welfare effects spanning employment creation, improvement of public service, and a decrease in costs of economic activities.”
A press release from Malacañang quoted several members of the delegation – Senator Mark Villar and Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno – to make a case for the controversial fund.
Villar, whom House Speaker Martin Romualdez said could champion the measure in the Senate, said the fund would “improve the financial situation” of the Philippines.
LIST: Filipino tycoons in Davos
The country’s business elite are also in Davos.
According to a release from the Palace, they include: Sabin Aboitiz, who also heads President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s Private Sector Advisory Council; Alliance Global’s Kevin Andrew Tan, Ayala Group’s Jaime Zobel de Ayala, JG Summit’s Lance Gokongwei, San Miguel Corporation’s Ramon Ang, SM Investments’ Teresita Sy-Coson, and ICT’s Enrique Razon.
The Filipino executives were invited to a lunch with the country’s economic team and President Marcos ahead of the official start of the WEF.
Marcos eyes Maharlika fund ‘soft launch’ at WEF in Switzerland
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. plans to do a “soft launch” his administration’s proposed Maharlika Investment Fund during his five-day visit to snowy Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum.
“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 the global and business leaders who will be there, and they will hear directly from the President the fundamentals that we have that led us to decide that we should have a sovereign wealth fund,” said Foreign Undersecretary Carlos Sorreta.
Read the full story here.
World Economic Forum to host country dialogue for PH at Davos, says Marcos
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the World Economic Forum (WEF) will host a “country strategy dialogue” for the Philippines to discuss its economic plans and attract foreign investments.
The Philippine leader said he planned to use the platform to highlight the country’s plans for developing “resilient infrastructure,” that would reinforce supply chains, and strengthen food security. Marcos said he will also tackle the country’s strategy for responding to COVID-19 and its lingering effects as well as its efforts to prepare for the next health crisis.
Read the full story here.