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Koreans Choose the Philippines as Retirement Destination
« on: July 27, 2007, 04:12:35 PM »
Reported By Ronnel Domingo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Golfers and students are not the only Koreans coming to the Philippines. The retirees are, too.

Figures from the government’s retirement and tourism agencies showed that since 1987, 3,225 Koreans have availed themselves of the Philippine Retirement Authority’s special retiree program.

These “long-stays” commit to spend a part of their retirement money here in exchange for residency as well as a lower cost of living.

Over the past 20 years, at least 13 South Korean retirees a month have been moving to the Philippines.

South Koreans are the third largest retiree group in the country, after the Chinese (3,690 as of June 2007) and the Taiwanese (3,241).

Officials observed that the top reason why South Koreans choose to retire here was their search for schools for their children.

Another reason was to put up businesses of their own or for their compatriots.

According to the United Korean Community Association (UKCA), there are 100,000 Korean residents in the country, aside from tourists who numbered some 575,000 in 2006.

UKCA president Young Baek Lee said the influx of Koreans residents and visitors -- along with their investments and spending money -- has been a good source of income for Filipinos.

“Aside from supplementing (Philippine) national investment, the majority of the value-added from Korean investments would remain here by way of taxes, salaries, rentals and others, as well as profit share for local shareholders in Korean firms,” Lee said.
Still, Korean presence has caused some friction with the local populace due to what Lee described as the “uneducated and ill-mannered few” among Koreans.

Also, Lee said the Koreans have also been fair game to unscrupulous people like extortionists, including government agents.

The Korean Embassy has lamented a “spate of harassment and inappropriate arrests” of Koreans in the past three weeks.

Hong Sungmog, Consul General and deputy chief of mission, decried “incidents in the past three weeks that involved visits of supposed immigration agents to Korean citizens very late at night or even in places of worship.

“It was like living in the Soviet Union,” Hong said. “They [immigration agents] come at 11 p.m. or sometimes when the Koreans are praying in the Buddhist temple.”

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