Tuesday, June 19, 2007

RP targets close to 1M retirees abroad to live here

Cebu City (18 June) -- As much as 3M retirees can be absorbed by the Philippines in the global market to attract senior residents to live in the country but the government is only targeting close to a million, according to a former top official of the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA).

PRA's former general manager Col. Doy Francisco said the Philippines has a high potential market for retirees quoting a US Health Care Co. as a source due to the Big Boom between 1946 until 1964 that will see a huge number of aging population in the present times.

Retirement villages is one of the flagship programs of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the government provides incentives to investors to develop retirement villages as there is definitely a market, Francisco said.

Among the incentives given by the National Government to investors in putting up retirement villages include the project being classified as a special economic zone that also carries with it special benefits and five percent tax on gross income as well as endorsement from the PRA and approval from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, this is learned.

Francisco who guested in the two-day Cebu Asean Tourism Forum said there is an estimated more than 326M retirees worldwide last year while the figure will significantly increase to about 869M by 2010.

The Philippines is targeting retirees from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, US, Europe and China to consider the country as a retirement destination. The country prides itself with certain advantages such as warm climate, caring and friendly people, low cost of living, natural attractions and world-class healthcare and safety measures, Francisco bared.

Francisco stressed the categories of retirees are those that are active senior citizens, assisted living retirees and continuous retirees and not necessarily those that are already sickly and needs aid in daily living.

The PRA on the other hand, also follows standards of the retirement industry as creating retirement villages do not only refer to the type of housing and leisure facilities it offers but also more importantly, the healthcare provisions, safety and security and lifestyle as well, this is said.

One prominent service the PRA is offering to the retirees is a one-stop shop where basic procedures required can be done such as visa processing, NBI clearance, medical diagnostic clinic as well as a lounging and orientation room, Francisco declared.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas OsmeƱa meanwhile, is keen on developing a portion of the South Reclamation properties that overlooks the sea as a retirement village encouraging investors to undertake such a lucrative project. (PIA-Cebu/FCR)

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