Clark Green City eyed as ‘retirement haven’ for foreigners
MANILA, Philippines – An eco-friendly retirement community for foreigners will be one of main features of Clark Green City, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said in a statement Friday, July 17.
BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel P. Casanova shared this with members of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) on July 15, and said the master plan of the Clark Green City provides for an elevated portion of the land within the Clark Special Economic Zone. Urban planners consider this to be a “perfect place” to develop a retirement village for foreigners.
“Imagine our Tagaytay of 20 years ago and the hot springs of Los Baños combined into one,” Casanova told the AmCham members, and added that wellness centers – one of the usual amenities in a retirement village, are also being eyed as investors in Clark Green City.
The 9,450-hectare master-planned property is close to the Mount Pinatubo range, where hot springs abound. It is surrounded by the valleys and hills of Sacobia in Tarlac province, where green covered areas provide for a cooler climate.
The affordable cost of living is a huge appeal for foreign retirees who may want to settle in the country, Casanova said.
"The country’s picturesque destinations and our English-speaking and friendly people are also major factors that make the Philippines a much more welcoming place for Western retirees," he added.
In February this year, Forbes magazine featured the Philippines as one of the 20 best retirement havens for Americans.
“For US retirees, the principal appeal of the Philippines is a low cost of living in a tropical environment full of English speakers and outdoor beauty,” said the internationally renowned US business magazine. It said popular retirement locations for Americans in the Philippines include Tagaytay and Subic Freeport. (READ: Forbes: PH one of 20 best retirement havens)
Wanting to lure investors and retirees alike, Casanova said the government-run corporation may directly negotiate with any 100% foreign company that wants to invest in the retirement village in Clark Green City.
“Since it (Clark) is a special economic zone, the Foreign Investment Lease Act allows BCDA to undertake direct negotiations for foreign direct investments,” Casanova said.
Foreigners who wish to make their stay in the Philippines permanent must apply for a Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV) at the Philippine Retirement Authority.
The SRRV allows foreigners to work or study in the country, to travel outside and re-enter any time they wish. SRRV holders are exempted from income tax on pension and annuities, customs duties, and taxes of selected goods.
“The Clark Green City will surely be appealing to foreigner retirees seeking legal and long-term residency here,” Casanova said.
Clark Green City is eyed to be the country’s first smart, green, and disaster-resilient metropolis. It is expected to break ground in 2016.
The future metropolis will have 5 districts, namely: the government district, central business district, academic district, agri-forestry research and development district, and the wellness and eco-tourism district. – Rappler.com
Retired expat couple concept image from Shutterstock