PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. showcased in the World Economic Forum (WEF) the government’s initiatives in order to make it more conducive for businesses.

During the Country Strategy Dialogue at the WEF in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday, January 18, 2023, Marcos discussed the country’s economy and opportunities waiting to be unlocked.

He said the Philippines is projected to grow its economy by around seven percent in 2023 even while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projection for the 2023 global economic growth will only be at 2.7 percent, slower than the 3.2 percent posted last year.

“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.

“We have seen inflation accelerating globally in recent months… We are mindful that while protectionist policies may be appealing, even necessary in the short term, there will ultimately be no long-term winners… We join the call for all governments to unwind any trade restrictions and reinforce our commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO) reform,” he added.

Marcos said countries should ensure there are sufficient welfare measures to cushion the impact of elevated inflationary pressures, especially toward the most affected and vulnerable sectors.

In terms of geopolitical risks, he said the Philippines support timely and effective delivery of practical, workable outcomes and encourage economies to leave no stone unturned in finding common ground in these critical global issues.

Marcos said economic and technical cooperation to assist the development of smaller economies and enable their participation, especially of small businesses and economic segments with untapped potential in the global economy is also important while the Philippines focus on sustaining recovery, promoting a local environment that will nurture businesses by helping them maximize their competitiveness, and facilitate their entry into the global market.

“The government also recognizes the importance of digitalization as a key driver for long-term economic growth and as a tool for economic transformation,” he said.

“We have begun large-scale deployment of digital connectivity across the Philippines to ensure universal connectivity, particularly in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas,” he added.

Marcos also mentioned the importance of education, skills development and lifelong learning to enhance the employability of workers, strengthening of government interventions and public-private partnerships (PPPs) to improve access to employment opportunities and enhancement of health systems and social protection to abate and mitigate present and future risks.

Meanwhile, Kevin Tan, chief executive officer (CEO) of Alliance Global Inc. who was with Marcos during the event, said the President has been successfully showcasing the Philippines to the world especially its strength and its openness for businesses and partnerships with other governments, the private sector and foreign investors.

“On a political front, I think also 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 towards the West or the East, that we’re very, very balanced in where we are positioned. And I think that’s the right strategy because you know our location as a country is so strategic,” he said.

Sabin Aboitiz, president and CEO of the Aboitiz Group, lauded Marcos’ economic vision for the country, which he said, excites the private sector.

With Marcos’ ambitious outlook for the country, which needs a huge amount of money, he said the Philippine private sector is willing to partner with the big and best businesses overseas to realize the country’s goals.

“So we’re gonna need a lot of the funds to come into agriculture. So we’re gonna need a lot of the funds and the expertise from countries around the world,” Aboitiz said.

“And so for us, the private sector, we can partner with the best in the world… to be able to solve problems and not band-aid [solutions] but to structurally change so that it works for the generations to come and not just, you know, for three months or one year,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)