I wondered how the World Economic Forum came to bring itself to invite and listen presumably to Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The annual forum is supposed to assemble, in Davos, Switzerland, many of the “foremost” leaders of nations and sectors of society with the expectation that they would contribute to discussions aimed at “improving the state of the world.”
But then I realized the forum also offers, necessarily, an exploitable platform for lobbying. Oh, and did Marcos exploit it! He flew to Davos on a big PR offensive – naturally at the taxpayer’s expense – bringing a reported entourage of 70, which dwarfed every one of the delegations, even outnumbering some of them combined. And the number does not yet include his security detail and technical-support staff.
I don’t know who among the Philippine delegates qualified as “foremost” personages; some of them were more like hangers-on, if not downright infamous characters. Marcos himself falls into the last category, being an heir to the plunder perpetrated during his father’s dictatorship (1972-1986). Switzerland itself should feel discomforted by Marcos’s presence: it was in one of its banks that his family hid some of its loot.
In any case, going by the absence, so far as I could tell, of any mention of him in the news, except here at home, where its own media covered him dutifully, it appears Marcos played an obscure part at the forum. To be sure, being at the forum, being there at the invitation of the forum’s founder no less, had news value in itself. Never mind how he wangled the invitation; it opened for him an opportunity to make a pitch for his nation on the world stage.
The privilege, however, only proved indulgent; true to character, Marcos was clueless, pretentious, deluded, self-interested. He exposed himself shooting his mouth off on three main issues he chose to address.
To suit his escapist non-position, he oversimplified the trouble in the West Philippine Sea as a “conflict” between the United States and China. “I don’t work for either,” he said, altogether ignoring the facts that inform the issue.
The sea was the object of territorial dispute between China and the Philippines. They had agreed to arbitration, but China bellicosely refused to accept the unfavorable ruling. Rodrigo Duterte, Marcos’s predecessor, did not himself say he worked for China, but gave in all the same. China has since had a run of the sea, monopolizing its resources and, backed by a dedicated sea and air force, dictating its use as international waterways, an arrangement the U.S. questions.
Marcos has allowed the treasonous arrangement to continue, telling what audiences he could herd at Davos that the situation “is dynamic…constantly in flux.” That’s the description he uses routinely to justify his unwillingness to drive away the Chinese encroachers.
In the gathering global economic crisis, due to the COVID pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine, the recovery of the West Philippine Sea becomes a matter of desperate need for its marine and mineral wealth. Choosing to spare China, however, Marcos is pushing a diversionary alternative: a sovereign wealth fund. At Davos, he promoted the idea to investors he was courting as an example of his self-proclaimed wealth-management sophistication. That was after his nation’s independent economists had come out in one voice and general agreement that the fund was a mistake, pointing out that, as a rule, such a fund is for the well-off nations, who can afford to risk public money in alternative investments, but not for the poor ones, who look on it as an emergency resource and, as in our case, lose yet a scandalous proportion of it to official corruption.
To cap his Davos offensive, Marcos launched himself into a fraudulent portrayal of his family’s rise and fall and rebound. In fact, it seems he had got so carried away by his own lies, so confident he had primed his Davos audiences, the unconfessed, if unsurprising, truth just slipped out of him. He said he had run for President “to defend ourselves,” meaning him and his family, whose persecution he constantly fictionalizes.
No doubt they need protection. Not even half of the $10 billion they stole has been recovered. His mother was convicted of seven counts of graft, but has remained free on presidential intercession – Duterte’s then, now her son’s. Her son himself owes P203 billion in estate tax, which should give an idea of his scandalous worth, but refuses to pay in defiance of a court order.
What is he President for, after all? Not to mention, he was just recently – if you listen to him and his cronies – the toast of Davos, and he’s back home with the news that we’ve become a favorite destination for foreign investment.
If that’s not fake news, especially coming as it does from certified lying lips, I don’t know what is. – Rappler.com
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