Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

RP safer than LA—Retirement authority chief

HALINA KAYO! Former National Police chief Edgar Aglipay (left) urges countrymen not to hesitate deciding on retirement in the Philippines. Out there you simply can’t beat low cost of living, the language facility of people, natural beauty, and safety, he says. Also in photo are (from right) Pastor Miguel de Guzman, David Paraiso, and Philippine Consul Ma. Hellen Barber.

LOS ANGELES—Former National Police (PNP) chief Edgar Aglipay is a man driven with a sense of mission. These days he is breezing in from one foreign city to another selling the Philippines. On Oct. 1 he was at the Mission Community United Methodist Church in Rosemead, exhorting countrymen to invest in a hurry in the Philippine retirement program before foreigners beat them to it.

“As of now,” he proclaimed, “the country has established six retirement villages in Bagiuo, Subic, Clark, Tagaytay, Manila, Cebu, and Mindanao. World class facilities are available such as hospitals, shopping centers, golf courses, and entertainment centers. The Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese have been coming to enjoy our country but you are our priority. That’s why I am here, to extend you the invitation.”

The recently retired general was appointed by President Gloria Arroyo new retirement czar. Philippine For all of its two decades of existence, the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) was able to entice a total of only 12,500 retirees compared with Malaysia and Thailand which attract 20,000 every year. He proposed a plan to create a national retirement industry banking on the Philippines low cost of living, its people and other resources, language facility, natural beauty, and safety.

Safety? Indeed the authority encountered concerns in some countries regarding the reported instability and deteriorating peace and order in the Philippines, Aglipay said. What they did was invite officials from those countries for a two-week stay in Philippine retirement facilities and they came back to him saying that our country is safer than Seoul or Tokyo. On Sunday, he made the claim that retirement villages in the Philippines are safer than being in Los Angeles.
He added: “Lahat ng retirement villages gated, may fence at may gwardiya. At binibisita po ng PNP at pinapatrolyahan. Kaya ina-assure ko kayo na lahat ng retirement villages sa atin, retirement places, tourist places ay very safe po para sa inyong lahat [All the retirement villages are gated, fenced and have guards. These are also being visited, patrolled by the Philippine National Police. That’s why I assure you that all the retirement villages in our country, retirement and tourist places are very safe for all of you].”

The authority envisions a conservative 1,000 retirees this year and in the long haul, they’re targeting at least one for every 1,000 retirees in 2015. Such goal is doable, he said, because of changing demographics: People in advanced countries are getting old; they have fewer children to take care of them. Meanwhile, advances in science and technology are prolonging people’s lives.

PRA is promoting a so-called Special Resident Visa. Those who register are afforded courtesy at the airport such as a special lane for arrivals, a help desk, the use of the VIP Room, and transportion direct to their hotels using PRA vehicles. Should problems still arise, there’s a special call center that would respond 24/7. Even those situated in remote provinces can avail of retirement/tourist desks in police stations, Aglipay said.

Asked whether the political instability of the country doesn’t bother him, Aglipay said of President Arroyo: “I haven’t seen a leader who is braver; all those who wanted to wrest from her the position have been thwarted until now. They couldn’t do it, they don’t have basis to drive her out. That’s why she will continue to govern until the end of her term in 2010.”

The Rosemead forum was facilitated by Reverend Miguel A. de Guzman, David Paraiso, and Philippine Consul Ma. Hellen Barber. General Aglipay had planed in from a presentation at the Naffaa Conference in Hawaii; he was scheduled to proceed next to San Diego. (DIONESIO C. GRAVA)


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