Senator Richard Gordon found Monday that the government allows Chinese nationals, who are as young as 35 years old, to stay in the Philippines as retirees.
“It upsets me na kung sino lang ang dumating dito, 35 years old, papayagan mag-retire dito,” Gordon told the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) during the hearing on the proposed budget of the Department of Tourism (DOT).
(It upsets me that whoever comes here, and only at 35 years old, is allowed to stay here as retirees.)
The PRA, an attached agency of the DOT, is required to “develop and promote the Philippines as a retirement haven as a means of accelerating the social and economic development of the country” by establishing a “globally competitive retirement program,” its website said.
Senator Nancy Binay asked PRA General Manager Bienvenido Chy why their agency allowed foreign nationals that are as young as 35 years old to stay in the Philippines as retirees.
“We start from 35 [years old] and up,” Chy responded.
The PRA data showed that the top foreign retirees staying in the country are mainland Chinese, with 27,678, followed by Koreans with 14,144.
“The reason for the 35 years of age is in Korea, the military would retire at the age of 35, and these are retirees who would avail of this program,” Chy said.
Gov’t allows 35-yr-old Chinese nationals to stay in PH as retirees
“This has been the practice when I came in, this has been passed upon the Board of Trustees, and just a continuing program,” he added.
However, Binay raised the possibilities that the said Chinese retirees were working for Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs).
“I don’t know if you are monitoring them; are you sure they are not working here in the Philippines, and all are retired?” she asked.
The PRA official told senators that the age of POGO workers who are usually Chinese nationals is 20 years old.
“Those who are 35 years of age, more or less, they choose the Philippines as their retirement destination,” he added.
Gordon said the Chinese chose to retire here to “go back and forth” with a retirement visa.
“That, to me, is dangerous. I’m disturbed by it…We’re not just gonna monitor it; we’re gonna correct it. Because 35 is just too young. Not to cast aspersions upon our neighbor, would they allow us to retire at 35 there? I don’t think they would even allow us to retire in China,” Gordon said.