My lovely wife just pointed this out in today’s news:
By Ma. Elisa P. Osorio (The Philippine Star) Updated August 26, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Investments in the retirement industry are expected to increase this year in spite of the slowdown in the global economy, the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) said.
In a press conference yesterday, PRA acting general manager Reynaldo D. Lingat said they expect more investments in the retirement industry even if investments in other sectors are declining.
He said they are negotiating with several foreign investors for retirement villages. Lingat said an American firm will build a continuing care facility in Clark. He said the firm is looking at an idle land beyond Subic.
Lingat said a European firm has likewise expressed interest in investing in a retirement facility.
PRA chairman Edgar B. Aglipay said these investments came about as a result of a more integrated and wholistic approach combined with a sound partnership with the private sector.
PRA has adopted a program called Local Integrated Retirement Area (LIRA) system. “With LIRA local government units and private business organizations are bonded together to support our retirees in areas of safety, health and wellness,” Aglipay said.
Editor’s note: This would be a real plus if it can actually be brought to fruition, would be nice to have an example for present retirees to check out. As it is now, the same banks the PRA want retirees to deposit money in often erroneously require applicants to have a retirement visa before opening and account. Similar artificial hurdles from non-PRA agencies and organizations abound. Anyone you see ‘retired; here in the Philippines has persevered through many hurdles to get his or her visa, it is not made easy, and foreign investors can’t cure these anti-foreigner attitudes.
Aglipay said the new theme line for Philippine retirement captures the spirit of the lifestyle and mindset we can offer to retirees.
He said that no one else in the world smiles from the heart the way Filipinos can, and the phrase “Smile at Life” promises the retiree that the second half of his or her life can be the best it can possibly can. It is also a phrase that can mean many things to many people, wonderful landscape and climate; warm, friendly people; an affordable yet luxurious lifestyle, he added.
Very nice words. Now put those words into action. Make the PRA website a one stop shop to get a visa, rather than a list of requirements for a retiree to hurdle before s/he reports, standing tall, with all requirements in hand. There is already a cottage industry here in the Philippines of folks (I hesitate to use the term ‘fixers’, but actually that is what they are) who charge as much as $1,000 YSD or more to fill up an SRRV application. I can’t blame these folks for performing a service, but I can tell the PRA that they leave no doubt in the average retiree’s mind that they only want to deal with big money foreign investors and not with individual retirees who might be considering the Philippines.
The ‘smiles’ theme is nothing but fluff, the retired person who might want to come to the Philippines doesn’t get the ‘smiles’ until he or she has run a gauntlet and paid a lot of money. I’m pleased by the foreign investment, I am not at all pleased by the PRA’s attitude to potential clients.
Instead of crating a culture where the forms are so onerous people pay $1,000 just to get help in filling them up, why doesn’t the PRA have a staff section that helps people get visas and gets paid only for each approved candidate? This would turn the whole process around if staffers were paid by visas granted rather than by standard salaries that they receive no matter what kind of service they provide? Or so Dave opines.