A BUSINESS leader defended the foreign trips of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., saying these are vital to the goal of generating more jobs and foreign investments.
“The private sector will not support something that we don’t believe is the right step. For us, we believe that the President being visible all over the world and selling the vision and mission of the Philippines is very important,” Go Negosyo Founder Jose Maria A. Concepcion III said in a televised briefing on Monday.
“What is important is we attract foreign investments and assure them that the Philippines is really open for business,” he said.
Mr. Concepcion said communication needs to be reinforced so that “the Filipino people, who are the shareholders of the Philippines,” will understand that the “game plan” is job creation.
“The game plan is very clear. Create more jobs. How do you create more jobs? Bring in more investors to invest in the Philippines. Not only money but technology,” he said.
Mr. Marcos returned Saturday from a week-long participation in the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, his 8th foreign trip since assuming office in July.
The Davos trip drew flak for the number of delegates, which included the president’s family members and legislators.
“Many people start to criticize why the President is going here, going there. We have to trust that as a chief executive officer of a company, a CEO of the country, he is basically the one that will create the greatest opportunity,” Mr. Concepcion said.
Lawmakers, meanwhile, justified the attendance of House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez at the World Economic Forum (WEF) as part of Mr. Marcos’ delegation.
Deputy Speaker Aurelio D. Gonzales Jr. said the issues discussed in Davos need “the collaboration of all sectors,” including Congress, which can fast-track legislation for economic growth.
“No investor in his right mind would sink his money in a nation with a fractious national leadership,” Mr. Gonzales said.
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace S. Barbers said, “The President’s job of convincing foreign businessmen to invest here would be easier if he impresses them with a government that is acting as one in welcoming them.”
Mr. Marcos Jr. himself has also defended Mr. Romualdez, his cousin, and Senator Mark A. Villar, who represented the Senate in the trip.
“The Speaker needs to be here and that also includes Senator Mark Villar, because we have to present members of the legislature because of all of these changes in policy that we are talking about,” Mr. Marcos said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave and Beatriz Marie D. Cruz