From Davos to Davao

That is the title of the column of Babe Romualdez in Philippine Star today.

He wrote “This may sound corny, but we should have a similar Davos forum in Davao. Mindanao is one of the country’s wealthiest but most undeveloped areas. I am one of those who truly believe that the Philippines is a rich country pretending to be poor. We just can’t seem to get our act together in harnessing our resources and making them grow.

The Davos Forum has opened the eyes of many on what wealth means and what it can do to benefit everyone. Perhaps we can have a smaller forum starting with Forbes Magazine’s “40 Wealthiest Filipinos.” These are just a few individuals, but gifted with enormous wealth and resources. They can utilize their collective talents and resources to make a difference in the lives of Filipinos; ultimately it will redound to their own good when the country becomes wealthier, stronger and more stable. At the end of the day, one always looks for good karma — because all that wealth is useless when one dies — you can never take it with you.”

I emailed Babe in Switzerland to inform him that I share his views and that I attempted to organize one in Davao. Back in 1999 when I chaired the city’s Millennium Celebration committee, we held an eminent persons forum. I was hoping to make it a regular forum ala Davos.

Unfortunately I got little support.

Yup, Davao can host a smaller version of the WEF or for that matter its poor man’s counterpart, the World Social Forum of civil society groups, and contribute to solving the country’s and the world’s woes.