Cebu eyed as haven for retirees – Retire in the Philippines

(The Freeman) Updated November 25, 2009 12:00 AM
CEBU, Philippines – Cebu City is now being promoted as one of the country’s havens for both local and foreign retirees through a memorandum of understanding signed between the Cebu City government, the Philippine Retirement Authority and the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
With over 2,000 foreign retirees currently in the Visayas bringing retirement spending to over two million dollars a year given each retiree spends 1,000 dollars a month, Cebu City sees that the development of retirement industry here will expand the economy thus bringing more jobs to the community.
PRA chairman Edgar Aglipay, who is himself a retired general of the Philippine National Police, was in Cebu yesterday to encourage more local government units and private sectors to be PRA accredited.
The MOU declares Cebu City as one of PRA’s Local Integrated Retirement Areas (LIRA) committed to attract foreign nationals and former Filipinos to invest, reside and retire in the Philippines, particularly in Cebu City.
Making Cebu City as a LIRA is seen to accelerate the socio-economic development of the locality, contribute to the foreign currency reserve of the economy and provide retirees the best quality of life in the most attractive package.
There will be communication and interaction among government agencies and industry stakeholders in order to facilitate development efforts. Further, they intend to develop and operationalize a Retiree’s Incentive Program that will be made available to the existing holders of the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa.
All partners in this endeavor have agreed to promote tourism in the retirement industry in focal areas in order to step up tourist arrivals of foreign retirees.
Each committed to continually develop and transform their existing resources into retiree-friendly facilities, amenities or services to ensure and sustain their level of competitiveness in the global market.
Aglipay said that Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who has been very supportive of the program, has expressed his intention to address other issues and concerns that confront the retirement industry, one of which is the constitutional policy that prevents foreign retirees to own property here.
Aglipay however said that while there is still no law passed to amend this policy, PRA has an alternative solution in the establishment of condominiums. Through this, they can own a property where they can stay and they will be given certificates of condominiums though not titles.
Philippine Retirement Inc. chairman Frank Esmendi assured that the market for the retirement industry is huge. He said that the aging population is growing and the cost of retirement is becoming more and more expensive in other countries.
Today is a great opportunity to promote the country to foreigners, Esmendi said, since the cost and quality of living that the country can offer is highly competitive.
Based on statistics as of 2006, there are around 726,900,000 retirees aged 45 and above all over the world.
There are over 2,000 foreign retirees who have chosen to stay here and more are expected to come with the intensive marketing and promotional efforts that PRA has exerted to help boost the Philippine economy.
– Jessica Ann R. Pareja/BRP (FREEMAN NEWS)