PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said his attendance at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland has yielded beneficial outcomes for the Philippines, especially in terms of trade and investment opportunities.

During his arrival in Manila on Saturday, January 21, 2023, Marcos touted the fruitful outcome of his “crucial participation” in WEF that generated medium- to long-term goodwill for the country, enterprises and people.

“The trip has yielded beneficial outcomes relative to new trade and investment opportunities, and key partnerships forged to support our development program, a better appreciation for Filipino workers and professionals, and the promise of increased level of cooperation with various countries around the world,” Marcos said.

Marcos earlier said global leader in investment banking Morgan Stanley committed to investing in the country and establishing an office here as it expressed support to the administration’s aggressive development agenda.

Logistics company DP World also committed to expanding its operations in the Philippines and eyes to setting up an industrial park in Clarkfield in Pampanga.

Marcos showcased the development of the country, saying it is leading the economic recovery and performance not only in the Asia-Pacific but in the whole world.

He said economic leaders at the WEF tagged the Philippines as part of the “VIP Club,” a list of Southeast Asian countries with best-performing economies.

He also shared the country’s insight and experience in being resilient and hardworking people, noting that the strong Filipino labor force propels the Philippines to new heights.

“Kahit saan mo ilagay ang Pilipino, sisikat ‘yan. Kahit saan mo ilagay ang Pilipino, magiging successful ‘yan dahil lahat ng katangian na kinakailangan ng isang labor force na para maging matagumpay ang mga plano tungkol sa ekonomiya, tungkol sa sariling buhay, ay nasa Pilipino,” Marcos said as he pointed out that the Filipino workforce is his greatest asset.

(No matter where you put Filipinos, they will be popular. No matter where you put Filipinos, they will be successful because all the characteristics needed by a labor force to make the plans about the economy, about one's own life successful, are in Filipinos.)

Marcos recognized the sacrifices of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) worldwide, noting they have kept the Philippine economy afloat even during times of uncertainty.

Filipinos in Switzerland alone remitted about $73.242 million from January to September 2022, based on data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Switzerland is host to around 14,000 Filipinos, including those who hold dual citizenship.

Marcos said the Philippines is not only driving economic growth but is also helping mend the fissures that have fragmented the world of late and doing its part to avert an economic crisis.

During the conference, the President highlighted his administration’s policies including the eight-point agenda, development plan, and others such as legislation toward economic reforms.

He said these drew the attention of WEF participants, particularly investors, to the Philippines’ 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 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 to 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,” Marcos said.

He said the discussion about the proposed Philippine sovereign wealth fund was an “interactive one wherein not only did we present our ideas on what the fund should look like but we asked them what do you think would be most advantageous for the Philippines.”

Marcos said the proposed sovereign fund is being tailor-fitted to ensure it suits the needs of the country.

“You know, going on about the fund, the more we study it, the more it’s clear that... Although the sovereign wealth funds around the world have the same name, they’re all very different. They’re different in purpose, they’re different in methodology and of course, they operate in a different context of law,” he said in a separate interview.

“So 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 na babagay para sa atin and it will be a good thing for us. So that’s the process that we’re undergoing now,” he added.

Under the proposed measure, the Maharlika fund shall be used to invest on a strategic and commercial basis in a manner designed to promote fiscal stability for economic development and strengthen the top-performing government financial institutions through additional investment platforms that will help attain the national government’s priority plans.

The Maharlika bill, which was introduced by House Speaker Martin Romualdez, Marcos’ cousin, in November 2022 was approved on third and final reading by the House of Representatives on December 15, 2022, and was transmitted to the Senate on December 19, 2022.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said he sees the passage of the bill on final reading after their Holy Week break in April. (SunStar Philippines)