Senator Nancy Binay on Wednesday backed a review of the present policies of the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) amid concerns over the high number of Chinese nationals being allowed to retire in the country.
Binay said she too echoes the concerns of fellow senators who believe the PRA’s policies of allowing the entry of retirees aged 35 and up, with at least $50,000 cash on hand, is dangerous and should thoroughly be reviewed.
The senator said the PRA should review its existing policies to lessen the probability of foreign nationals exploiting the special resident retiree visas (SRRV) to stay in the Philippines, endangering the country’s economy and national security.
She said it is high-time the PRA imposes stricter vetting process for foreign retirees especially since under their policy, foreigners aged 35 years old and above are eligible for SRRV. This age, she said, falls in the bracket of the so-called “soldier’s age.”
“Alam naman natin at 35 years old malakas pa po ang katawan niyan. Lalong-lalo po mayroon tayong problema ngayon na kung saan may issue tayo na apparently ang mga kababayan natin ay nagkakaroon ng job displacement pagdating dito sa pagpasok ng mga Chinese nationals sa ating bansa (We know that 35 year old persons are still capable of working. We have so many problems and issues apparently regarding job displacement especially when it comes to the entry of Chinese nationals in our country),” Binay said in an interview over DZMM Teleradyo.
“Pwedeng nagta trabaho sila sa POGO, or pwede din po baka nandiyan sila sa Divisoria. Kaya nga po magandang tingnan at pag-aralan kasi baka ginagamit nila itong paraan to circumvent the law, (They could be working here through the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators, or they could be there staying in Divisoria. That’s why it’s best to look into this and study, because they might be using this policy to circumvent the law),” she pointed out.
The rise of Chinese retirees in the country has also contributed to the surge in the price of condominium units and apartments, and displaced Filipino tenants since landlords prefer to rent out their places to those working in POGOs.
“Ang balita ko doon sa iba, two years advanced payment (binibigay nila), eh. So at the end of the day, ang kawawa ang mga kababayan natin (I heard that these people are willing to give a two-year advanced payment), so, at the end of the day, it’s our people who suffer),” she lamented.
PRA records show that there are about 28,000 Chinese “retirees” who have been allowed to permanently reside in the country.
During a recent budget hearing, Sen. Richard Gordon urged the Department of Tourism (DOT) to submit a report on the foreign retirees in the country and on the PRA’s policies, as he too, is greatly disturbed over the rapid rise of Chinese retirees in the country.
“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,” Gordon told PRA General Manager Bienvenido Chy during the hearing.
Gordon said the Senate Committee on Tourism, chaired by Binay, should conduct an inquiry with the aim of amending pertinent laws to attract more of the old population from other countries, such as Japan and the United States.
“The committee on tourism should look into this and amend this provision because retirees, as you know, retire at the average of 56 to 60, to 65 years old. To retire at 35, that’s very liberal,” Gordon stressed.