Phl deemed ‘WEF darling’

Photo by Yummie Dingding)

Two of the world’s biggest asset managers, Morgan Stanley and BlackRock, are exploring setting up operations in the country, a recognition of the importance of the Philippines in the swiftly developing Southeast Asian region.

“They plan to set up shop in the country, not only because of the ideal investment climate but also due to the competence of Filipino workers,” Speaker Martin Romualdez, who accompanied President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said.

The President and his entourage returned to Manila yesterday after the week-long trip to Switzerland.

Marcos reported his success in enticing investors and in presenting the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund to global government leaders and businessmen.

Romualdez said the Philippines was “the star of this year” at the WEF and will definitely show the world that not only are we open for business, but under the leadership of President Marcos, also proved that the best workers in the world are here.”

He said the MIF generated a lot of interest. The House of Representatives had approved the bill, while Senator Mark Villar, who was part of the delegation to Davos, authored a similar measure in the Senate that is pending.

The President made a soft launch of the MIF during the Philippines’ Country Strategy Dialogue on Tuesday.

The proposal to create the MIF for the Philippines gained support from WEF participants as Marcos said the fund would be used to diversify the country’s financial portfolio.

“We have to design it very specifically to the Philippine condition. And that’s what the legislators are trying to do now — to make sure that it will be suitable for us. So that’s the process that we’re undergoing now,” Marcos said.

In his arrival speech at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Marcos said he took the chance to consult world and business leaders on possible sources of capital for the MIF.

“I took the opportunity as well to consult with our friends and partners in Davos on the sovereign wealth fund as a means for us to diversify our income sources, and to generate various welfare effects for the Filipino people while recognizing that this is a collaborative work with experts and our lawmakers so that its final form is what we intend it to be,” he said.

Input gathered for MIF
Marcos described his discussion on the sovereign wealth fund with the WEF delegates as “interactive,” saying that he also received advice on how the Philippines could welcome more capital through the investment mechanism.

“The discussion about the sovereign wealth fund, the Maharlika Fund, was an interactive one wherein not only did we present our ideas on what the fund should look like,” he recalled.

“But we asked them: ‘What do you think would be most advantageous for the Philippines as to allow the potential investments that you are thinking about bringing into the Philippines’ and ‘how the fund would be best designed to service that investment,’” he went on.

His attendance at WEF, the President said, enabled him to deliver the “good news” that the Philippines is efficiently recovering from the pandemic mainly through its “resilient hardworking people.”
“Our WEF engagement has enabled the many leaders and experts in government, in business, civil organization, and in the academe that were in attendance to receive the good news that the Philippines is leading the economic recovery and performance not only in the Asia-Pacific but also in the whole world,” he said.
“That the Philippines is not only driving economic growth, we are also helping mend the fissures that have fragmented the world of late and doing our part to avert an economic crisis.”

Economic execs
still at work
The chief executive revealed that Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan decided to remain in Davos to pursue more meetings with various economic and political leaders.
“You will notice of course that Secretary Ben Diokno and Secretary Arsi Balisacan are not with us as they had remained to follow up on meetings that were not scheduled before but were scheduled after,” he said.
Aside from several government officials, Malacañang disclosed that seven business tycoons had joined the President on the trip.
Diokno earlier defended the size of the President’s delegation, saying that its members had equally important roles on the trip.
At the forum, Marcos highlighted his administration’s work across trade and investment, monetary and fiscal policies, food and energy security, climate action, structural reforms, digitalization, public-private partnerships, health and nutrition, education and other social services.
“I highlighted this administration’s policies, including the Philippine Development Plan, the 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda, and various other policies and legislations that spotlight the economic reforms of the Philippines that have led to our sustained growth, even post Covid-19 and amid the current global economic downturn,” he said.

The chief executive revealed that Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan decided to remain in Davos to pursue more meetings with various economic and political leaders.

Moreover, he emphasized his administration’s “active policies toward public-private partnerships and other forms of collaboration in infrastructure.”
During his meeting with the Filipino community in Zurich prior to his departure for Manila, Marcos told the Filipinos that his mission in Switzerland was to show the world what was happening in the Philippines.
Through this, he said, the Philippine government would have more partners as his administration embarks on an aggressive economic development initiative.

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