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Davao positioned as retirement haven

Vol. XXI, No. 251 [ BusinessWorld Online ]
Wednesday, July 23, 2008 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

DAVAO CITY — The Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) has set up an office here in an effort to lure both investors and retirees to the city.

This developed as two foreign companies have started evaluating prospects of investing in retirement facilities here, with one firm announcing it is ready for an initial P50 million investment.

Meno Gaia, a Japanese company set up in the city to teach English online to both Japanese and Korean students, has set up another company, Good Morning Land Inc., that will oversee its investments in retirement facilities, said Teolulo T. Pasawa, head of the National Economic Research and Business Assistance Center.

A South Korean company, which he did not identify, has also started negotiating for the establishment of similar facilities and even a retirement village, he added.

Edgar B. Aglipay, PRA chairman, said the city is among the six retirement hubs nationwide. The most popular of these points is Baguio City, which has about 20,000 retirees, he said.

Davao City, he said, can be attractive to foreign retirees due to low cost of living, good hospitals and medical practitioners, as well as friendly residents.

Just last month, the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. bought 34% of the Davao Doctors Hospital for about P500 million with an objective of going into medical tourism.

At present, Mr. Aglipay said both Japan and the US have funded a study on the retirement potentials of the Philippines. He said the studies will prepare the Philippines to compete with other countries ahead in the game, particularly Malaysia and Thailand, starting with its English-proficient work force. "Here in the Philippines, a retiree does not need two interpreters," he said. — CQF

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