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Metro Opinion

What’s in a Trip

account_balanceMetro Opinion account_circleLeigh Bellosillo chat_bubble_outline0 Comments

Junior will be off again on Thursday, his 9th in his eight month reign, to Japan for an official visit, which means the taxpayers – me and you – will be footing the bill as opposed, state visit when it is the host country that shoulders the bill of the members of the official delegation.

So will the costs of these foreign trips of Junior and his retinue of “alalays,” excluding, of course, the business delegation, who have to dip in their very deep pockets, outweighs the benefits?

Take the case of his attendance to the World Economic Forum in the posh ski resort of Davos, Switzerland. Heard from my view deck that Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo advised otherwise on the trip but was reportedly overruled.


By whom, you may ask? Need I say... the de facto? Your guess is as good as mine.

Fruits from economic-diplomatic trips have yet to be quantified. It’s nice to hear about the pledge of investment and other promises. But based on the timetable, the gestation period for pledges takes two to three years at the earliest. Depending on certain elements, promises may be or could be broken.

For one, Junior and his team showcased the pledge of New York-based financial investment firm to set-up an office in Manila as one of fruits from attending the WEF.

Should we jump like chimpanzees as this was one of the achievements in what was tagged to be the most expensive trip ever of Junior, his eighth in less than seven months he has assumed the Malacanang reign.

From what I know as an ardent market student and observer, Morgan Stanley, not to be mistaken with JP Morgan-Chase Manhattan, already has an office here in the country, located in Makati City.

It’s a representative office, which is established by a company or a legal entity to conduct marketing and other non-transactional operations, generally in foreign country where a branch office or subsidiary is not warranted.

Here, the business structure of a representative office is that it acts as local liaison of a foreign corporation that seeks to establish a corporate presence in the country without engaging in income-generating activities. A representative office is not allowed to generate revenue. In contrast, a branch office is.

So now, may the Palace press briefer fill us in if Morgan-Stanley will, finally, upgrade its presence here to a branch office?

Compared to the Davos trip, which was an expensive way of "selling himself,” as Congressman Joey Salceda puts it: “He has to sell himself as a Marcos, remember that, because the Marcos that the world knew was a very different one, his father but I think the son, I think, is presenting himself to be a better version of the father,” Japan is more acceptable trip.

Not only is the Land of the Rising Sun closer, Japan is the country’s highest bilateral creditor and source of official development assistance. ODA is Japan’s way of contributing to the peace; progress and development of the international community, which in turn helps ensure its own security and prosperity.

This 9th journey, dubbed as “consequential” trip (why such tag Palace press briefer) is expected to strengthen bilateral partnership as well as “facilitate closer defense, security, political, economic and people-to-people ties.”

Let’s see how it goes!

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