Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez has highlighted before the global community that with its unique demographic advantage and ongoing reforms to open up the economy, in synergy with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) strength, the Philippines makes for an ideal destination for foreign investments.
Romualdez noted that the beauty of the ASEAN is its centrality, noting that while member countries have diverse cultures, languages and practices, they communicate with each other easily and come together as one to address the common challenges they face.
“And that’s why it’s not such a big surprise that after the COVID pandemic we the ASEAN emerged as the bright spot in the global economy of course I’d like to put the Philippines up front,” Romualdez said as one of the panelists in the “Learning from ASEAN” session at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting live panel discussion hosted by CNN anchor Julia Chatterley on Wednesday afternoon (Switzerland time).
The ASEAN region is expected to continue to be one of the fastest-growing regions of the global economy and an increasingly important growth engine for the Asia-Pacific over the next decade.
“And we like to herald the fact that we have a very, very young working population with the median age of 25 years old. We also have an English-speaking population that provides this facility for communications not just within the ASEAN but throughout the international global community,” said Romualdez, head of the Philippine delegation to the 2024 WEF meet.
“We are announcing to the global community that as opposed to the past decade when there was a bit of an isolation of the Philippines the Philippines is open for business: we welcome the global community we want to share our talents, our gifts to the whole world,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Romualdez informed executives of international business groups during a breakfast roundtable discussion of the ongoing initiative to remove the restrictive provisions in the 1987 Constitution.
“We want to share our talents, our gifts to the whole world. We leverage from the experience of our neighbors in the ASEAN (like) Vietnam and Thailand that have proven to be stalwarts in the region,” Romualdez said.
“And this is where we see what we call nationalism within the region. We try to prosper in this global community environment. And that’s why we try to strive to celebrate our individuality but then we come together and we share.”
Meanwhile, Romualdez also announced the launch of the country’s first sovereign wealth fund, the Maharlika Investment Fund.
“This forum is an auspicious time for us because it is the very first time that the Philippines is presenting to the WEF our first Sovereign wealth fund called the Maharlika Investment Fund. We have just launched it this morning and our CEO now is meeting with a number of fund managers and we are trying now to reach out to the world,” Romualdez said.
As envisioned, Maharlika is pursuing the double objective of achieving an optimum return on investment and the equally important goal of helping meet the socio-economic needs of the country, particularly by revitalizing job creation, alleviating poverty, sustaining high economic growth, and promoting sustainable development.
The fund strategy is aimed at sectors that drive and ensure multi-generational growth, particularly energy security, food security, physical connectivity, technology, and sustainable use of national resources.
According to Maharlika Investment Corporation CEO Rafael Consing, Jr. the MIF was crafted to ensure its long-term sustainability and effectiveness.
He added that Its governance structure aligns with international best practices, ensuring transparency, accountability, and adherence to the highest standards.