SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Tuesday said the bright economic prospect of the Philippines and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) amid fears of global slowdown leverages President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr.’s efforts to lure more investments into the country during his participation at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
During a luncheon hosted for President Marcos’ delegation to WEF here, Finance Sec. Benjamin Diokno said the government is expecting a strong full-year gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2022, and around 6.5% GDP growth in 2023.
“President Marcos’ participation in the Davos meet this year is timely as favorable economic forecasts for both the Philippines and the ASEAN would serve him in good stead in his effort to secure more investments to allow our country to shake off the effects of the pandemic and protect us from global headwinds,” Romualdez said.
Romualdez cited the January 14, 2023 article of Jo-Ok Lee, head of the Regional Agenda for the Asia Pacific region at the WEF, who noted that ASEAN is one of the few bright spots as the global economy continues to stall.
Lee noted that ASEAN economies enjoyed strong growth in 2022 amid a post-COVID-19 surge in activity.
He added that while the global chill will have some effect, overall growth forecasts for 2023 are pegged at 4.4 percent for the Asean-6 (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam).
In addition, Lee said the pandemic prompted a huge update in online trade in the region that several ASEAN countries are now leading globally in some sectors of digitalization, including e-commerce retail growth.
According to Lee, the Philippines and Malaysia are the two top countries in this respect, “registering growth of 25 percent and 23 percent respectively per year,” aside from the fact that the Philippines is also continuing to serve as a steady source of online labor to the rest of the world.
“Taken together, these factors make a compelling case to showcase the Philippines as an investment hub during President Marcos’ interaction with global industry and government leaders at the World Economic Forum,” said Romualdez who is part of the President’s official delegation to WEF.
President Marcos is the lone ASEAN leader, and one of the only two leaders from Asia, attending this year’s forum.
The same conditions are also favorable to President Marcos’ plan to soft launch of the Maharlika Investment Fund at the WEF, according to the Speaker.
Romualdez is the principal author of House Bill (HB) No. 6608, which the chamber approved by an overwhelming majority last December 16, 2022, creating the sovereign wealth fund to help President Marcos keep the country on the high-growth path.
The MIF, according to the Speaker, will adhere to the best practices and the principles of transparency and accountability.
Apart from members of the Cabinet, seven of the country’s top businessmen are in Davos to support President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s inaugural participation in the WEF 2023 meet.
Earlier, President Marcos noted that normally the biggest deals are accomplished on the sidelines of international forum when parties engage in pull away interactions to discuss possible trade or investment partnerships.
The second day of the WEF is scheduled to kick off Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. here (around 4:30 p.m. PH time) with the speech of Switzerland’s President Alain Berset.
Among the key activities President Marcos is scheduled to join includes the Philippines Country Strategy Dialog with the economic team, as well as separate bilateral meetings with Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and with officials of the mining and commodities trading giant Glencore.
Later Tuesday, President Marcos and First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos was scheduled to join WEF founder and Chair Dr. Klaus Schwab and his wife Hilde in a private dinner.
It was Dr. Schwab who invited President Marcos to attend the WEF during a breakfast meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN summits in Cambodia.
Speaker Romualdez was instrumental in arranging the breakfast meeting between President Marcos and Schwab.(END)