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Puyat seeks repeal of policy allowing 35-year-old retirees

Bernadette Romulo-Puyat
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat

TOURISM Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) board of trustees would move to repeal its current policy allowing foreigners as young as 35 years old to retire in the Philippines.

“I have directed General Manager (Bienvenido) Chy of the PRA to review and change this long-standing policy. We will move for its immediate repeal,” she said in a text message.

The board of trustees, chaired by Romulo-Puyat, is expected to meet soon and reassess the said policy. No specific date as regards the meeting, however, has been identified by the agency.

Lawmakers, during the DOT budget hearing on Monday, grilled Chy for accepting retirees as young as 35 years old, most of whom are Chinese nationals.

Senator Richard Gordon said a large number of Chinese retirees at this age raises “concerns” as Manila has an “existing issue” with China and that “35 years old is (a) soldier’s age”.

“How can they retire at 35 years old? That is just too young to retire. A retiree has just finished his job and wants to spend his money and later years here in the Philippines… I’m disturbed by it,” he said.

“(The number) that’s several regiments, almost three. That’s dangerous, most of them are 35 years old? Why would they retire here at 35?” he said.

Senator Nancy Binay also questioned if the PRA can ensure that these young Chinese retirees are not working nor engaged in the operations of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO).

Binay said the number of Chinese retirees is too big and the government perhaps does not have the budget to monitor them if they are not working in POGOs because at their age the probability that they are working is big.

Based on PRA data provided by the DOT, some 26,969 Chinese nationals have been allowed to retire in the Philippines, topping the list as of December 2019, followed by 13,912 Koreans; 5,951 Indians; 4,801 Taiwanese; and 3,950 Japanese.

Other foreign retirees include 3,615 Americans; 1,836 Chinese from Hong Kong; 1,571 British; 778 Germans; 743 Australians; and some 4,069 unidentified nationalities.

Meanwhile, there are a total of 14,987 active retirees or those who continue to keep the retirement visa as their status of stay in the Philippines ages 34 to 49 years old.

Of this number, more than 50 percent or 8,130 of whom are Chinese nationals from mainland China, followed by the Koreans at 2,257 and Indians at 1,891.

About 52.63 percent or 36,852 of the total retirees reside within the National Capital Region as of June 30, 2020. Philippine News Agency