Davos forum draws to close

ZURICH, Switzerland — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. motored down from Davos to Zurich on Friday for a scheduled meeting with the Filipino community here, as well as a briefing with members of the local press before his departure for Manila.

Mr. Marcos and his Cabinet secretaries have declared the Philippines’ participation in the World Economic Forum both a success and a learning experience amid forecasts by international finance experts that a global recession may be on the horizon in 2023.

Also on Friday, leaders from about three dozen countries agreed to meet in Germany to answer the call made by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky for more arms with which to fight Russia.

Zelensky made the plea for more weapons, especially tanks, a day before the WEF drew to a close in the skiing resort town of Davos nestled atop the Swiss Alps.

On the sidelines of the forum –— themed “Cooperation in a Fragmented World” — Marcos drew pledges from several foreign companies to do business in the Philippines.

He was consistent with his messaging that countries should not resort to protectionism, but instead move to boost global trade to bring their economies back to their pre-pandemic levels.

Marcos echoed the sentiment of most leaders assembled in Davos that the headwinds of the Ukraine-Russia conflict would impact economies until next year.

Meeting with the President, officials of the American multinational investment and financial firm Morgan Stanley agreed to include Manila as a regional service hub.

DP World, a logistics company, vowed to expand its operations in the Philippines by setting up an industrial park in Clark, Pampanga.

“We are committed to investing in the Philippines, we’re committed to expand,” Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, DP World chief executive officer, told the President. “So we’re interested in the Philippines, in industrial parks.”

In various talks, the President admitted to losing sleep over China’s moves against Taiwan and its territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea. Marcos pushed for the peaceful resolution of all conflicts among nations.

As Zelensky took to the WEF to press the United States and its allies to provide his country with more weapons, the Pentagon announced $2.5 billion worth of fresh military supplies for Ukrainian forces.

In the latest shipment from the US would be Bradley fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, air defense systems and thousands of rockets and artillery rounds.

The United Kingdom also announced it would send 600 Brimstone missiles, while Denmark will supply Ukraine with its Archer artillery system.

Enplaning for Zurich on Monday, Marcos called for a stop to the fighting and killing in Ukraine, urging Zelensky and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to talk to stop the war.

The 50 countries meeting in Ramstein, Germany to look at what other support they could give Ukraine including all 30 NATO members.

Addressing WEF delegates in Davos, Zelensky said, “There are times where we shouldn’t hesitate.”

“When someone says ‘I will give tanks if someone else will also share tanks’… I don’t think this is the right strategy to go with,” Zelensky said, apparently peeved at such a precondition made by the United Kingdom to the United States.

Elsewhere at the WEF, climate change activist Greta Thunberg criticized those gathered in Davos by citing the “absurdity” of listening to them talk about peace and development while they play a big role in “the destruction” of the planet.

“We are right now in Davos where (there are) basically the people who are mostly fueling the destruction of the planet,” Thunberg, now 20 years old, said.

“Without massive public pressure from the outside, these people are going to go as far as they possibly can… They will continue to throw people under the bus for their own gain,” she said.

Thunberg made her reputation as a feisty teenage Swede campaigning for climate change when she attended the forum in 2020.

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