Several Catholic bishops in the Philippines called on authorities to investigate the reported influx into the country of Chinese “retirees” who are mostly in their 30s.
Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of Kidapawan, head of the social action arm of the bishops’ conference, said the government should take a closer look into the phenomenon.
He said authorities must question why the so-called Chinese retirees are mostly 35 years old. “This is a security issue. We wonder why the Philippine military is not alarmed on this,” he said.
Bishop Bagaforo also urged the government to send the “retirees” back to China and stop the increasing influx of Chinese nationals “who compete with the Filipino workforce.”
The country legislators have earlier expressed alarm over the large number of “young Chinese retirees” who have been allowed to stay in the country.
Senator Richard Gordon said he is disturbed by the number of young Chinese nationals who are spending their retirement in the Philippines.
Data from the Philippine Retirement Authority showed that the country permitted the stay of 27,678 Chinese “retirees,” who are mostly only 35 years old.
“To me this is dangerous. I didn’t know about this and I’m disturbed by it,” adding that “35 years old is a soldier’s age,” said Gordon.
He said the number of Chinese retirees living in the country is equivalent to more than two dozens military regiments, “which is an awful lot.”
The senator said apart from economic issues, the influx of Chinese nationals is a matter of national security. He said these Chinese retirees could be used as a clandestine force against the Philippines.
The average retirement age in China is 57.
Other foreign retirees’ population in the Philippines is comprised of 14,144 South Koreans, 6,120 Indians, 4,851 Taiwanese, 4,016 Japanese, 3,704 Americans, 1,870 Chinese from Hong Kong, 1,595 British, 792 Germans, 752 Australians, and 4,498 other nationalities.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, said the intelligence fund of the government must be used to track these foreigners.
The prelate said these young Chinese retirees are “more a threat to our country” than the Filipino communists, the political activists, and members of the opposition in the government.
“They have more and they can really be communists because they came from communist China,” he said.
On October 21, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat ordered the Philippine Retirement Authority to junk its current policy of allowing foreign nationals as young as 35 years old to “retire” in the country.