Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

PRA targets 4 million retirees in 10 years

Olongapo has the largest concentration of American retirees because some American navy men, who used to be stationed at the Subic Naval base, have chosen to retire in Olongapo.

With the current financial crisis in the U.S., the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) is moving to register 4.0 million foreign retirees in 10 years as strong marketing campaign is being launched to capture the influx of retirees whose pension funds and health benefits have been affected by the financial crunch.

PRA general manager Reynaldo Lingat said that only one percent of the estimated over 200,000 foreign retirees who have been coming in and out of the country is enrolled in the PRA’s Special Resident Retiree Visa (SRRV) program.

Pension funds and medical benefits of foreign retirees can no longer cover their huge medical expenses that they need to relocate to cheaper places to spend their retirement and medical treatment.

The excellent medical and resort facilities and good climate of the Philippines are the major attractions for foreign retirees to come in.

For this year, PRA is targeting 3,600 registrations from last year’s 3,200 registered retirees.

For the past 20 years, PRA has 20,000 registered retirees’ in its program of which 5,752 were registered or since Gen. Edgardo Aglipay was designated PRA chairman.

Topping the enrolled retirees in the past three years are Chinese, Koreans and Japanese. Fil-Ams do not normally register with the PRA.

Olongapo has the largest concentration of American retirees because some American navy men, who used to be stationed at the Subic Naval base, have chosen to retire in Olongapo. Pampanga, which used to host the U.S. military operations at the Clark airfield, has over 1,000 retirees.

Under the PRA’s SRRV program, foreign retirees between 35-49 years old are required to deposit $ 50,000 and for the 50 years old and above have to deposit $ 20,000.

Once enrolled, a retiree is entitled to benefits including work permit. Associate members are not required to deposit the required amount and are not entitled to special privileges including permit to work here.

"Under this program we are strengthening the foreign exchange positions of the country," Lingat said.

To pursue the 4 million target, the PRA is strengthening its tie-up with the Department of Tourism on their new long stay tourists and vacation homes approach.

"Retirement is now in the heart of the tourism program of Secretary Ace Durano," said Ernesto M. Ordonez, chairman of the private sector group Philippine Retirement Inc.

PRI has also commissioned the Havoc Digital, a leading digital marketing company, to create a website for the industry. The new site www.yourhome.ph supports all the concurrent efforts of recently announced or to be announced websites that sell the Philippines as a destination for retirement, long stay or tourism.

The site is a marketing tool to invite the international market to consider the Philippines as their second global home.

The site provides commercial, targeted and casual information useful to the curious consumer or shopper who is seriously thinking of an ideal second country and home.

It provides a directory of some of the finest names in the real estate, healthcare, lifestyle and allied industry suppliers to help interested investors or retirees in their search for basic and advanced services. Inquiry forms are on the sites which are link to the providers. By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT - Manila Bulletin

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