Push to attract expat retirees offers ‘bonus’-A A +A
Saturday, January 5, 2013
CEBU’s positioning as a retirement destination for foreign individuals may help prevent medical professionals from leaving the country, an official said.
According to Cebu Investment and Promotions Center (CIPC) managing director Joel Mari Yu, aside from selling Cebu as an ideal business destination for foreign-based outsourcing firms, his office is also “aggressively” promoting the city as a retirement destination, specifically for Japanese retirees who need medical attention.
“We are after getting a big chunk of retirees who need permanent medical attention,” said Yu, adding that in Japan alone, some two million of the population retire every year.
By 2060, the older population of Japan could make up as much as 40 percent of its total population.
Yu said the Japanese Government is now looking for possible developments outside their country, given the fact that it’s getting expensive for their government to provide health care and pensions for a huge retiree population.
The Philippines, specifically Cebu, can be a potential destination for retirement and recuperation. Yu noted Cebu still has vacant properties for the development of a retirement village where there are nursing homes and other wellness facilities.
Cebu’s proximity to Japan, abundant attractions like the beaches, sophisticated medical facilities, well-trained medical professionals and Filipino hospitality are among the factors that make Cebu an ideal place for foreign retirement.
The entry of Japanese retirees is also expected to generate economic and job opportunities for Cebu. Yu said this would boost local spending and more importantly, prevent medical professionals from leaving the country.
He said the Japanese insurance system may spend $2,000 to $4,000 per patient every month. “Let’s say we have some 1,000 patients at a rate of $2,000 each per month. This figure alone would definitely increase spending in Cebu,” Yu said.
But transforming Cebu as a retirement hub in the country entails a lot of hard work from the local government unit and the private stakeholders. Yu said Cebu should prepare the necessary infrastructure.
“We have been going back and forth to Japan for five years now, and we are getting positive feedback from them. This might take a long time but I believe this would happen,” Yu said, anchoring his optimism on how his office was able to help increase the number of BPO locators in Cebu.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 05, 2013.