General Santos City (29 March) — Smile at life…in the Philippines!
Retired Police Director General Edgar Aglipay, chairperson of the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) proudly enunciated the agency’s battle cry shoving the Philippines as retirement hub in the world.
“We have this branding because Filipinos are by nature happy people and it is the kind of service Filipinos provide – from the heart,” he explained.
PRA, a government-owned and controlled corporation supports the Philippine economy through the foreign currency remitted by foreign nationals to the country.
As lead government agency, Gen. Aglipay said PRA “has a mandate to attract foreign nationals, 35 years and above and former Filipino citizens to retire in the Philippines.”
He said its (PRA) program particularly aimed at those retirees born after World War II whom he described as “baby boomers,” and who, according to him have “a great deal of income.”
Aglipay believes that the Philippines has the best features in store for retirees, namely: climate, safety, proximity to medical supplies, highly skilled and caring people, low-cost living, natural attractions, and desirable facilities.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared the Philippine retirement industry as a key flagship program armed with the belief that the “country will benefit a lot if the potential of the retirement industry can be harnessed.”
Committed to help the government accelerate “socio-economic development; contribute to foreign currency reserve; and provide in a most attractive package the best quality of life to its foreigner-retirees,” PRA expects to generate thru its program $44B which is expected to snowball by end of 2015.
Aside from that, it also anticipates to pump employment to benefit some 4 million Filipinos. Aglipay was also confident that the program will bring about “reverse migration” and might even convince highly skilled workers and professionals to opt to stay in the Philippines rather than seek employment abroad.
“Last year was a very good year for PRA. The enrollees for special resident visitor’s visa (SRRV) have increased compared to 2004 and 2005,” Gen. Aglipay intoned.
The SRRV is a special visa that allows the holder to stay in the Philippines for one year, from the date of arrival in the Philippines.
All foreign nationals, except those classified as “restricted” by the Department of Foreign Affairs, are eligible to join the program, he stressed as he prodded “marketers and facilities to renew their accreditation for year 2007.”
“We are now working on the different incentive schemes for marketers who enroll more retirees in the program, and for facilities that would attract more retirees to invest in their properties for the coming year,” Aglipay added.
PRA, the retirees’ “home away from home” has participated in different international and local travel and trade expo to promote the retirement program of the Philippine Government.
It also provides assistance to enrollees in facilitating the processing of their application papers, investments and other business transactions in the country.
Aglipay said a retiree can choose to invest their required deposit through the following means: purchase of a condominium unit; subscription of shares of stocks in a non-traded Philippine corporation; purchase of shares of stock in existing corporations registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and selected corporations traded in the Philippine Stock Exchange; long-term lease of a parcel of land or house and lot; construction of a residential unit on a leased parcel of land; and purchase of proprietary shares in golf clubs.
But he said his agency has special offer for former Filipinos “because they can purchase a lot not exceeding 5,000 square meters in urban areas or three hectares in rural areas to be used for business or other purposes.”
Aglipay has been touring the entire country to scout for viable sites where PRA can establish facilities to boost the number of destination areas for the visiting retirees.
“There are lots of existing properties available for retirement facility development that are found in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” he revealed.
For Region XII, he said he is eyeing a particular area in Maasim, Sarangani and Tambler, General Santos City as potential retirement havens. “Both areas have their own unique potential that can be developed into some kind of amenities for this purpose.”
Aglipay was accompanied by Sarangani Governor Migs Dominguez and Col. Willie Dangane during his tour of Sarangani-GenSan over the weekend. (PIA SarGen)