President Benigno Aquino III will showcase the successes of his daang matuwid (right path) campaign when he goes to Switzerland next week for the World Economic Forum (WEF) where he is to deliver the keynote address in the anticorruption forum on the sidelines of the Davos meeting.
The forum, the foremost annual gathering of world business and political leaders, will give Mr. Aquino a golden opportunity to make a pitch for a new Philippines on his watch that is “open for business,” Malacañang said on Saturday.
Nearly 50 heads of state and government will converge on the Swiss ski resort of Davos for five days of discussions and meetings from Jan. 23 to 27.
On Jan. 24, Mr. Aquino will keynote the WEF “Partnering Against Corruption Initiative,” where he will share the Philippine experience in battling corruption, said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.
Glowing reviews from foreign experts on the Philippines’ economic transformation have singled out the Aquino administration’s focus on good governance as the main draw attracting international investors.
Mr. Aquino is expected to chalk up the major successes of his anticorruption drive: the prosecution and jailing of his predecessor, former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on alleged election and plunder offenses and the impeachment and removal of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
The President’s anticorruption speech in Davos foreshadows another keynote address he will deliver on his return to Manila in time for the opening of the 5th Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (Gopac) meeting.
Gopac is the only parliamentary network with the singular focus of combating corruption, said Sen. Edgardo Angara, the current Gopac vice chair who will officially assume the helm of the organization before the end of the four-day conference (Jan. 30 to Feb. 2) to be attended by about 500 parliamentarians from around the world.
According to Angara, a powerhouse cast of anticorruption experts will descend on Manila to discuss best practices in institutionalizing good governance.
“This will be a good opportunity not only to showcase the anticorruption strides achieved by the Philippine government but to learn from leading anticorruption experts as well,” he said.
“Anticorruption must be an integral element in the culture of politics in the Philippines and in other countries worldwide,” the senator said.
Under new management
Among the events that Mr. Aquino will be attending in Davos is the informal gathering of world economic leaders which will pave the way for a discussion of global economic issues with other world leaders, said Valte.
“President Aquino will have the opportunity to meet and to discuss issues with global business leaders as part of our continuing pitch that the Philippines is under new management, and that we are open for business,” she said in a radio interview.
“There will be opportunities for the President to share what we have been doing, given that the Philippine economy has, so far, been surpassing expectations in light even of the global economic slowdown that is happening in so many other economies,” she said.
Mr. Aquino will also meet with the Filipino community in the Swiss capital, Zurich, on Jan. 26, before he leaves for Manila later that day.
Meeting, thanking Lagarde
Finally, Mr. Aquino will have a chance to meet—and perhaps, thank—Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, for her upbeat forecast for the Philippines’ economic future, said Valte.
Mr. Aquino missed a scheduled meeting with Lagarde when she visited the country last November because he was reportedly nursing a flu. She was received by Vice President Jejomar Binay instead.
During her Manila visit, Lagarde said the Philippines was the only country in the world for which the IMF had upgraded its economic forecast for 2012.
The economy registered an impressive 7.1-percent growth in gross domestic product in the third quarter of 2012.
The Aquino administration has set a growth target of between 5 and 6 percent last year, 6 and 7 percent in 2013, and at least 7 percent in the succeeding years.
The President, who leaves at midnight next Wednesday, is taking a lean official delegation with him, composed of seven members of his Cabinet—Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras and Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang.
More than 2,500 representatives from business, government, academe and civil society from more than 100 countries are expected to participate in the 43rd WEF meeting with the theme this year of “Resilient Dynamism.”
Four European leaders—Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti—will address the meeting. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will also participate in the discussions.
First posted 9:30 pm | Saturday, January 19th, 2013