Palace denies huge WEF delegation: 'Only 11 are registered'

DAVOS, Switzerland — Malacañang denied that President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. brought a whopping 70-person delegation for the 2023 World Economic Forum here, saying only 11 were registered for the annual event.

Communication Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, and Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista

Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil said this in response to a Vera Files report claiming that "a delegation of at least 70 members, including private and business people, names and designations unknown," came to Switzerland.

The report compared the said number to the US delegation, with 19 members; India, with four union ministers plus three state chief ministers; and Finland, with only four members.

In an interview, Garafil told Manila-based reporters in Davos that there were only 11 people who were registered to attend WEF events from Jan. 16-20, 2023.

Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual and Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno confirmed this, saying only 11 members of the Philippine delegation are wearing badges released by the WEF.

While they did not give a specific number, the two Cabinet members said all those who came with President Marcos to Davos were essential people who had roles to play.

A list released by the Presidential Communication Office (PCO) listed the following, aside from the President, as part of the Filipino delegation to Davos

  1. First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos
  2. Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
  3. House Speaker Martin Romualdez
  4. Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno
  5. Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual
  6. Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista
  7. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan
  8. Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople
  9. Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil
  10. Special Assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo, Jr.
  11. Presidential Adviser on Foreign Affairs and Chief of Presidential Protocol Adelio Cruz
  12. Sen. Mark Villar
  13. Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Marcos III
  14. Tingog party list Rep. Yedda Romualdez
  15. Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Carlos Sorreta
  16. Finance Undersecretary Zeno Abenoja
  17. Migrant Workers Undersecretary Patricia Caunan

The so-called "Magnificent 7," or the seven of the country's most prominent business tycoons, were earlier reported to have flown to Switzerland to express support for Marcos' inaugural participation in the WEF:

  1. Sabin Aboitiz (Aboitiz)
  2. Kevin Andrew Tan (Alliance Global)
  3. Jaime Zobel de Ayala (Ayala Group)
  4. Lance Gokongwei (JG Summit Holdings)
  5. Ramon Ang (San Miguel Corp.)
  6. Teresita Sy-Coson (SM Investments)
  7. Enrique Razon (International Container Terminal)