FOREIGN and local investors have urged the government to embark on the construction and improvement of its vital infrastructure facilities, notably airport facilities, to enable the country to cash in on the multi-billion dollar retirement business.
Henry Schumacher, president of the Retirement and Healthcare Coalition, Inc. (RHC), said the increasing population of rich retirees, or so called silver aristocrats from developed countries like the US, Japan, and European capitals provide vast opportunities for investments in the country. Malaysia and Thailand were reported to have made great strides in building a strong retirement industry among Asian countries.
RHC composed of investors from the US, Europe, Japan, and South Korea and local partners from hospitals and resort groups have identified several areas ideal as retirement havens in the country among which are Clark and Subic, Cebu, Dumaguete, Tagaytay-Nasugbu, and Metro Manila.
"We urge the Aquino administration to address critical issues that include facilitating seamless travel and stay of foreign retirees in the country," said Schumacher during the First Philippine Retirement and Healthcare Summit held in Makati City.
He said the current situation on the ground does not allow investors to engage and establish retirement facilities due to the lack of ease in the entry and exit for the foreign retirees, as well as the absence of a holistic retirement village.
Schumacher president emeritus of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, said RHC "has been talking to the government on the critical issues of the retirement and health care sector."
He stressed that the Philippines needs to address the rehabilitation of international and domestic airports after the country was voted as having the worst airport in Asia. "The online vote [against Philippine airports] underlines the situation of our airports [further complicated] by the situation of workers in the immigration and customs demanding their overtime pay,"
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, meanwhile, said the Aquino administration is hopeful that the Public-Private-Partnership Program attract investors to engage in the retirement and health-care services to improve infrastructure all over the country.
"Our drive for genuine national development and progress is one that we cannot undertake alone. We know that we need the private sector at our side to bring in capital and generate jobs," according to him.
Ochoa assured investors from RHC of the Aquino administration's "stability and consistency" with regard to policies, a level playing field to players and stakeholders, as well as a dean government that adheres to the rule of law.
Rene Fritschi, managing director of RPF Hospital Consulting in Bangkok, said the Philippines has the edge of becoming Southeast Asia's leading retirement and health-care haven because it serves as a "tropical paradise for permanent residence."
He also said foreign retirees could enjoy low cost of living and high value for their money and high standard of medical services and nursing.
Source: Business Mirror; The Economy; 14 April 2011