Who’s who: Philippine delegation to World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

January 16, 2023 - 6:49 PM
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President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos arrived in Switzerland on Sunday, January 15, for the president’s inaugural participation in the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. (Presidential Communications/Released)

(Updated Jan. 18, 6:47 p.m.) President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos arrived in Switzerland on Sunday evening, January 15 for the World Economic Forum. 

This forum is attended by leaders in business, government, and civil society around the world. 

The Philippines has a total of 18 delegates for this forum based on the official list shared by ABS-CBN reporter Pia Gutierrez. 

Marcos came with some of his family members who hold government positions. 

Among them are Marcos’ cousin and House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, (Leyte, First District), Martin’s wife Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez (Tingog Sinirangan) and the president’s son and House Senior Deputy Majority Floor Leader Rep. Sandro Marcos (Ilocos, First District).

Marcos also brought with him his Cabinet secretaries namely:

  • Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno 
  • Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual
  • Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista
  • National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan
  • Migrant Workers Secretary Maria Susana Ople
  • Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil 
  • Special Assistant to the President Antonio Ernesto Lagdameo Jr. 
  • Presidential Adviser on Foreign Affairs and Chief of Presidential Protocol Secretary Adelio Angelito Cruz

Sen. Mark Villar, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Carlos Sorreta, Finance Undersecretary Zeno Ronald Abenoja, and Migrant Workers Undersecretary Patricia Yvonne Caunan were also part of the delegates. 

The president is also joined by former president and House Deputy Speaker Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Pampanga, Second District). 

This is not the first time Arroyo, who Marcos described as his “secret weapon” joined him on international trips. 

Last November 2022, Arroyo accompanied Marcos in Thailand for the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting. 

This was followed by a trip to Brussels, Belgium for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and European Union Summit in December 2022. 

More recently, Arroyo joined Marcos in his first bilateral meeting with China in the first week of January 2023. 

Apart from government officials, Filipino business tycoons joined the Philippine delegation, namely:

  • Sabin Aboitiz (Aboitiz)
  • Kevin Andrew Tan (Alliance Global)
  • Jaime Zobel de Ayala (Ayala Group)
  • Lance Gokongwei (JG Summit Holdings)
  • Ramon Ang (San Miguel Corp.)
  • Teresity Sy-Coson (SM Investments)
  • Enrique Razon (International Container Terminal).

Number of delegates

The number of Philippine delegates more than those of other countries.

India is represented by four union ministers and three state chief ministers, while Finland only has its prime minister Sanna Marin and three ministers.

Meanwhile, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson said that their president canceled his trip to Davos due to the country’s ongoing energy crisis.

On the other hand, the number of Philippine representatives is close to the United States of America‘s 19 delegates.

In a separate reportVera Files there are at least 70 included in the Philippine delegation. The report noted that the delegation included those from the private sector, particularly business executives.

Marcos agenda

One of the major agendas of Marcos at the World Economic Forum is to “soft launch” the proposed Marlika Wealth Fund

Undersecretary Sorreta said other countries and business leaders have also done similar “soft launches” of their local initiatives of the business products during the past forums. 

Last December, the House of Representatives passed the Marlika Wealth Fund bill after the president certified it as urgent.

RELATED: With Marcos certification, House hastily approves Maharlika Investment Fund

Meanwhile, the Senate has yet to deliberate on the proposed bill but it was identified as among the legislative priorities for 2023. 

RELATED: Maharlika fund among Senate’s legislative priorities in 2023

The Maharlika Wealth Fund bill was marred with criticism from various sectors such as businesses, academics, and civil society given the growing debt of the country and lack of surplus money.

RELATED: Does the P250-B Maharlika Wealth Fund make sense? | What’s inside the ‘refined’ Maharlika Wealth Fund bill?

Meanwhile, World Economic Forum will be held in the resort town of Davos from January 16 to 20.

 

Erratum: An earlier version of the photo caption mistakenly identified that the first lady pictured is Imelda Marcos. This has been corrected. It is the current first lady, Liza Araneta-Marcos, in the photo. We regret the error.