US, European firms eye RP retirement industry

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US, European firms eye RP retirement industry
By Abigail L. Ho
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines – Companies from the United States and Europe are looking at investing in the country’s retirement sector, with plans already on the table to set up “continuing care facilities” for retirees.

In an interview yesterday, Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) acting general manager Reynaldo Lingat said an American firm was looking for idle lands in Clark Field, Pampanga, and even beyond, including Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales to Morong in Bataan.

The land would be used to house continuing care facilities for retirees, he said.

These facilities will include a whole package of products and services that retirees can avail themselves of, including housing, healthcare and lifestyle facilities.

A European company, Lingat said, was also planning to put up facilities for retirees, particularly those in the “assisted” and “nursing” sectors.

According to him, retirees can be divided into three categories: active, 35-49 years old; assisted, 50-65 years old, and nursing, 65 years old and above.

“We should be targeting the assisted and nursing sectors. We have to have the facilities that can accommodate them. We need investments, either from the retirees themselves or from other investors,” he said. “Once (these facilities) are established, there will surely be a domino effect.”

He said a Korean group was also looking at developing some retirement facilities on parcels of land along the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

“Investments (in the retirement sector) are increasing this year, at least based on the number of inquiries that we have received in our office,” he said.

PRA accreditation specialist Bing Aquino said there were currently 85 PRA-accredited institutions in the country.

Of these, however, only eight were targeted at the elderly, she said. The others were mostly in the real estate and resorts sectors.

PRA chair Edgar Aglipay said about 20,000 retirees enrolled in its program, 30 percent of whom were Chinese, 20 percent Japanese, and 10 percent Koreans. For 2009, he said PRA was targeting to have another 4,000 enrolled retirees.