A high–powered group of business leaders accompanied Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong”
Marcos Jr. or BBM to Davos, Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum.
The business delegation includes Teresita Sy–Coson of SM Investment Corp., a leading Philippine
company in retail, banking and property.
Sy–Coson is the daughter of tycoon Henry Sy. In banking, she is the chairperson of BDO Unibank (BDO),
the Philippines’ leading bank. She sits as an adviser to the board of directors of SM Prime Holdings, Inc.,
one of the largest integrated property developers in Southeast Asia with interests in malls, residences,
commercial buildings, leisure and tourism development. Sy–Coson is also the vice chairperson of SM
Foundation, Inc. (SMFI).
The delegation also includes Alliance Global Inc. CEO Kevin Tan.
In a report by the Manila Times, Tan said Marcos was successful in showcasing the Philippines at the
World Economic Forum.
“I believe President Marcos has been very effective in showcasing the Philippines… [and] also
showcasing that this government is open for business and open to partnerships with other
governments… as well as with partnerships with [the] private sector…,” Tan said.
“On a political front, I think… my view is that the President has really shown that the Philippines really is
a friend to all, and we’re not necessarily leaning more toward the West or the East; that we’re very, very
balanced in where we are positioned.”
Sy–Coson and Tan are among the seven business tycoons who joined Marcos in Davos.
The others are San Miguel Corp.’s Ramon Ang, Ayala Corp.’s Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, JG Summit
Holdings Inc.’s Lance Gokongwei, International Container Terminal Services Inc.’s Enrique Razon Jr. and
Sabin Aboitiz, head of the Marcos government’s Private Sector Advisory Council.
Aboitiz said in the Manila Times report that the Philippines is “the next big thing in Asia” given the
country’s rosy economic prospects and reforms being initiated.
Aboitiz, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Aboitiz Group, made the statement as he
lauded Marcos’s vision for the country.
“Like I always say, you know I think [the] Philippines is really gonna be the next big thing in Asia. We are
very excited to work with the government today because we see that they really appreciate, you know,
the private sector,” he said during an interview at the sidelines of the ongoing World Economic Forum.
During the 2023 World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meet in Davos, Switzerland, Marcos Jr. presented
the state of the Philippine economy, telling investors about initiatives being undertaken to ensure the
country’s continued recovery and making it more conducive for business.
Tuesday (January 17), according to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).
“Our strong macroeconomic fundamentals, fiscal discipline, structural reforms and liberalization of key
sectors instituted over the years have enabled us to withstand the negative shocks caused by the
pandemic and succeeding economic downturns and map a route toward a strong recovery,” Marcos
said, as quoted by the PCO.
Marcos Jr. and First Lady Liza Araneta–Marcos left for Davos, Switzerland on Sunday morning (January
15) to attend the 2023 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum from January 15 to 20.
In his pre–departure speech, Marcos vowed to promote the Philippines as a “leader”, “driver of growth”
and “gateway to the Asia–Pacific region.”
“The Philippines is also being given a unique opportunity to highlight the significant economic gains we
have achieved in the last part of the year as attested to by upward growth projections of the World Bank
and the Asian Development Bank,” he said.
“I will draw attention to our efforts at building resilient infrastructure that bolsters our efforts to
reinforce robust and resilient supply chains, ensure food security including its critical interlinkages with
health and nutrition, while furthering climate–friendly, clean and green energy to power the Philippine
economy,” Marcos said.
He said he will also share the country’s experience as a model for managing the impact of Covid–19.
“I intend to share our efforts in saving both lives and livelihoods, as well as the people–centered next
steps that we are taking to ensure that we are ready to meet the lingering effects of the pandemic and
address the occurrence of the next one,” he said.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Carlos Sorreta earlier said Marcos will also make a
“soft launch” of the Philippines’ proposed sovereign wealth fund (SWF), otherwise known as the
Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) which is crucial in boosting the Philippine investments and economic
The House of Representatives on Dec. 15 approved on the third and final reading House Bill 6608 or the
MIF bill after being certified as urgent by the President.
Under the proposed measure, the MIF will be financed through pooled funds from state–owned financial
institutions and state pension funds.
Marcos will be the only leader of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) who will attend
the 2023 Annual Meeting of the WEF.
This year’s annual meeting of the WEF is the forum’s first in–person gathering since 2020.
The WEF, established in 1971, serves as an international organization for public–private cooperation