Wednesday, December 17, 2008 [ sunstar.com.ph ]
By Joy Romares-Sevilla
AIMED at making Davao City a retirement haven for the Eaga Region, the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) will forge an agreement with housing, recreational, and medical and healthcare developers and owners to develop an integrated retirement facility in the city.
The move is also considered to attract more retirees to join the PRA program.
In a press conference Wednesday at the Royal Mandaya Hotel, Retired General Edgar Aglipay, PRA chair, told reporters that this is one of the strategies the PRA has planned for Davao City, being one of the focal areas of the agency in promoting the country as one of the top destinations of foreign retirees in Asia.
"This (Wednesday) afternoon, I will be meeting with housing, medical and healthcare, and recreational providers to ask them to bond together through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to offer and provide integrated services and facilities for retirees," Aglipay said. "We have to do this not only in Davao, but also in other focal areas in the country identified by our agency so that Philippines will not lose out in this business."
Aside from Davao City, PRA identified Baguio, Clark, Subic, and Cebu as focal areas in the Philippines in which retirement industry should be promoted the most, aside from Metro Manila.
Aglipay claimed that other countries have been offering integrated services in one location to foreign retirees.
"In other countries, they have developed a location wherein retirees can avail of services of a hospital, entertainment, recreation like bars, and others. We don't have that yet. How do we address this is to declare focal areas for the development of integrated services," Aglipay added.
"If we are not ready to provide the services which the retirees' need, then they will not come to us," he added.
Aglipay added there are a total of 20,000 foreign retirees who are now living in the Philippines, of which, 12,000 are staying in Baguio, while the rest are scattered in other parts of the country. He said today, Davao has only around 200 retirees since PRA has promoted the city as a retirement destination of the country. PRA has opened its satellite office in Davao earlier this year.
"Davao has its own advantage. We target to have another 300 enrollees in Davao in within next year," Aglipay asserted, saying that in a span of one month, PRA satellite office at the DTI-Southern Mindanao building, was able to enroll 10 retirees.
It was learned that most of the retirees here in Davao are Chinese nationals, Koreans, and Japanese. Likewise, in the national figure of 20,000 retirees, foreign nationals, who have enrolled in the PRA program, include Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Europeans, and Americans.