MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday deferred to the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) board of trustees the decision to revise the minimum age requirement for foreign retirees.
The statement came after lawmakers on Monday raised concern on PRA's current policy that allows foreigners to retire to the Philippines at age 35.
PRA records showed that as of December 2019, some 8,130 Chinese nationals aged 35 to 49 are residing in the Philippines as retirees.
"Naintindihan ko naman po na iyong Board of Directors ng PRA which has its own charter will meet and consider whether or not to lift the minimum age for the special retirees visa and kami naman po, we will defer to the specialized decision of the Board of the Philippine Retirements Authority (As I understand, the Board of Directors of PRA, which has its own charter, will meet and consider whether or not to lift minimum age for the special retirees visa and we will defer to the specialized decision of the Board of the Philippine Retirements Authority)," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a briefing.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat earlier announced that the PRA Board of Trustees would move to repeal the age bracket as she directed PRA general manager Bienvenido Chy to "review and change this long-standing policy."
Chy, in a radio interview on Wednesday, said the agency is studying to change the minimum age from 35 to 50 years old.
Back in 1985, Chy noted that the entry age is at 50 years old and above, with a bank deposit of USD75,000. The bracket was lowered to 35 years old in 1993 "to open the program to military servicemen who retire as early as 35 like the (Americans) Taiwanese, and Koreans."
"Sa amin, very careful kami, mayroon kaming way na bago ka tanggapin kailangan mag-present ka muna ng police clearance from country of origin and verification from Interpol and Immigration (We are very careful, we have a way to verify those entering such as requiring them to present police clearance and even verification from the Interpol and Immigration)," he said.
Chy also noted that the influx of Chinese retirees to the Philippines goes way back "beyond" the dispute between Manila and Beijing.
"Through the years, hindi lang po ngayon. Noong wala pa po tayong sigalot sa China at wala pa rin po yang POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators) na 'yan ay nandito na sila (It's not only now. Even then when we don't have a dispute with China and the POGO are not yet here, there were (Chinese retirees) already in the country)" he said. (PNA)