In second overseas trip in two weeks, Marcos off to WEF in Switzerland

In second overseas trip in two weeks, Marcos off to WEF in Switzerland
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. delivered his speech at Villamor Air Base on November 14, 2022 after attending the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related summits in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
STAR / KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2:07 p.m.) — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. flew out of Manila on Sunday to attend the World Economic Forum, which will hold its first in-person conference since 2020 in Switzerland this week.

Marcos Jr. will be in the resort town of Davos from January 16 to 20 to attend the forum with the theme "Cooperation in a Fragmented World." This is his second foreign trip in a month.

He said the Philippine delegation, composed of the economic team and business leaders, will "highlight the steps the Philippines is taking to mend fissures, especially in our country, but certainly in partnership with our friends, allies, and partners around the world."

The forum will also open doors for the Philippines to score more investments and pledges from other countries —  the usual goal in a bid for post-pandemic recovery as seen through his previous foreign trips.

"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," Marcos Jr. said in his pre-departure speech on Sunday.

While there, Marcos Jr. will also host an event to meet the Filipino community in Switzerland and in other European countries. 

According to a briefing by the Department of Foreign Affairs last week, Marcos will be the only leader from the ASEAN and one of the two Asian leaders to attend the WEF this year. The focus of his discussions will be on food security, nutrition, energy, and security in general.

Marcos Jr. will also hold high-level dialogue sessions with the president of South Africa, the Prime Minister of Belgium, the president of the European Commission, among others. 

Maharlika Fund 'soft launch'

Marcos Jr. did not mention the “soft launch” of the proposed sovereign wealth fund during his pre-departure speech, but the DFA said that it was the chief executive himself who proposed to discuss with other country leaders the Maharlika Wealth Fund that still awaits a greenlight from the Senate. 

RELATED: Marcos to pitch Maharlika fund in 'soft launch' at World Economic Forum

Since it has yet to be created, Marcos Jr. will only discuss in "broad strokes" the proposed sovereign wealth fund.

However, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said this would "tie the hands of the Congress, particularly the Senate, on the controversial measure."

Pimentel voiced concern that discussing it with other global leaders would pressure senators to enact it swiftly, noting that the proposed fund would be vulnerable to abuse and corruption. 

WEF trip for 'Marcos’ international prestige'

Marcos Jr's. second trip abroad this year and his eighth since taking office in June last year has also been met with criticisms on whether the WEF trip is even necessary.

"The WEF is mainly an international chest-beating exercise by billionaires and international personalities seeking a high-level and broad platform for their various agenda," Infrawatch PH convenor Terry Ridon said in a statement on Sunday.

"It was never meant to drumbeat economic interest towards the countries of participating heads of state."

Ridon, a former party-list lawmaker, adds that foreign investments, specifically European commitments, should have already been hammered out when Marcos went to Brussels for the ASEAN-European Union Commemorative Summit last month.

The DFA was also mum last week on what kind of investment pledges the Philippine delegation could secure while in Davos.

"There is no beating around it – the WEF trip is mainly for the president’s international prestige, nothing more," Ridon said.  with report from Xave Gregorio

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with