MANILA - The Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) is considering changing the required age of foreigners who want to retire in the country.
This, after senators raised alarm on the agency's policy on allowing 35-year-old Chinese nationals to enter the country as "retirees," saying it could be considered as a threat to national security.
Data from the PRA showed that 27,678 Chinese nationals have retired in the Philippines, making up over a third of foreign 70,000 retirees in the country.
"Nagpapatawag na po kami ng board of trustee meeting para i-discuss namin itong bagay na 'to, kung ano ba ang dapat namin gawin, kung pwe-pwede ho ba naming baguhin ang age bracket from 35 to 50 years old," PRA CEO and general manager Bienvenido Chy said in an interview with ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo Wednesday.
(We are calling for a board of trustees meeting to discuss this matter, on what we can do, if we can change the age bracket to 35 to 50 years old.)
Chy said the age requirement for foreigners to be eligible for the retirement program in the Philippines was at least 50 years old in 1985, before it was lowered to 35 years old in 1993 "in order to open the program to military servicemen who retire as early as 35."
He said that the large part of retired foreigners living in the Philippines before were Taiwanese, Americans, Japanese and Koreans, and Indians.
"But lately, when the Chinese government opened their doors to the world, sila na dahil sa napakalaking bansa nila. Pinayagan sila lumabas [papunta] sa Pilipinas, sila na ngayon ang number one market,"
(But lately, when the Chinese government opened their doors to the world, they became the top because of their country's size. They were allowed to go the Philippines, they're now the number one market.)
Chy assured his agency is careful regarding the entry of possible foreign threats.
"Ayaw namin ipahamak ang bansa. Kasi ang purpose ng PRA is to showcase the Philippines as a retirement destination," he said.
(We don't want to endanger the country. The purpose of PRA is to showcase the Philippines as a retirement destination.)
Sen. Nancy Binay earlier said the PRA has to review its policy on the age requirement for foreign retirees. Her colleague Sen. Richard Gordon agreed, saying "we have a problem with our neighbor (China)."
Beijing has been disregarding Manila's sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea even after an international arbitration court ruled in 2016 that its sweeping claims over almost the entire South China Sea has no legal basis.