MANY foreign retirees from all over the world have chosen the Philippines as their retirement haven. The Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) has reported that 27,000 foreign retirees, including former Filipinos, from 107 countries are now living in the Philippines through the Special Resident Retiree's Visa (SRRV). Most of the retirees have chosen to stay in Cebu, Angeles (Clark), Olongapo (Subic), Baguio, Davao City, and Metro Manila. The top nationalities are Chinese (People's Republic of China), Korean, Chinese (Taiwan), Japanese, Chinese (Hong Kong), British, Indian, American (former Filipinos), and German.

The PRA offers a range of services, benefits, and comfort to make the retirees' stay worthwhile. The SRRV entitled the holder to multiple-entry privileges with the right to permanent residence in the Philippines. It is issued by the Bureau of Immigration, in connection with the PRA program for foreigners and former Filipinos. Filipino hospitality, diverse culture, English-speaking population, medical and health services, local cuisine, religious freedom, natural attractions, tropical climate, and reasonable cost of living are some reasons cited by retirees in choosing the Philippines as their new home.

Makati City was recently been named by PRA as "most retirement and aging-friendly" city in the country based on criteria from the World Health Organization (WHO). Makati has the most foreign retirees from China, Japan, Korea, Europe and US. Most of them are now Filipino citizens while others have acquired dual citizenship.

Foreign chambers are pushing for the Philippines as a retirement haven. They work with hospitals in the country to institutionalize a system that would allow patients to get hold of their medical records anywhere at any given time. The Retirement & Healthcare Coalition (RHC), composed of American, European, Japanese, and South Korean chambers in the Philippines, said the project is part of initiatives to make the Philippines a preferred haven for foreign retirees. The RHC has been active in the fields of retirement and health care since 2007. Foreign chambers and the RHC also collaborate with Philippine nursing schools in pilot-testing in their curriculum an elderly care module to support public-private efforts to develop the country as prime destination for foreign retirees.

We wish Philippine Retirement Authority General Manager Veredigno P. Atienza, and Retirement and Healthcare Coalition Executive Director Marc Daubenbuechel, all the best and success in their partnership to develop the Philippines into a world-class retirement haven. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!