ZURICH, Switzerland: President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has defended his participation in the recently-concluded World Economic Forum (WEF), saying the Philippines is “positioning” itself so that it is ready “to respond to the needs of the new global economy.”
The President, who was in Switzerland for a six-day working visit, made this remark amid criticisms that branded his trip as “lavish.”
Speaking to journalists who covered his visit here, Marcos said the Philippines’ participation in the WEF is vital to seal important deals and enhance strategic investments and partnerships with key economic leaders. Including the chief executive officers (CEOs) of Fortune 100 companies.
“Again, you know, this is a process. You don’t go one time and you come home and you know, everybody is going to invest one trillion dollars already. Hindi ganun. We have to introduce them to the Philippines again. We have to ask them to come to them to come to the Philippines, send the team to make assessments on the business side et cetera. And then eventually kung magkaintindihan, magkakaroon ng bagong investment,” Marcos said.
“So this is how it works and so that’s why the conference was important because you meet the CEOs of the top 100 — fortune 100 companies here. And you also run into other heads of state and heads of the World Bank, the IMF. It’s all about the economy, the global economy itong Davos,” he added.
Marcos stressed that “we have to position ourselves properly for the new global economy.”
“That’s what we are doing now. We are trying to find — we’re positioning ourselves so that we are ready to respond to the needs of the new economy. Para pagbukas niyan, pag-akyat niyan sabay tayo,” he added.
When asked for comment about the inclusion of lawmakers that included Speaker Martin Romualdez and Sen. Mark Villar, the President said that legislation is “an important part of what we are doing.”
“Let’s say you talk to a.potential investor, sasabihin niya ‘yung batas ninyo hindi maganda eh. Kami naiipit. And it’s not a good law, et cetera, et cetera. So at least we have the legislators here who can say: ‘Well, we can do something about it;’ or ‘No, that is important to us that we maintain it, et cetera, et cetera,'” Marcos said.
“Because legislation is an important part of what we are doing. So there’s always a legislator. And in the case of former president GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo), we’re lucky to have her onboard,” he added.
His economic managers earlier said that Marcos has accomplished a lot in his participation in the WEF in Switzerland, particularly by telling the Philippines’ success story and encouraging investors to come to the country.
Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said the President’s WEF attendance aroused investors’ interest in areas such as digital economy, minerals processing, logistics and transport, as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) operations.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, meanwhile, said from the perspective of key decision-makers abroad, they would want to hear where the Philippines stands at the moment.
WEF President Børge Brende earlier lauded the Philippines for its high gross domestic product growth, surpassing other countries in Southeast Asia.