Doing Business in the Philippines

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Aside from the English speaking work force, the Philippines is a good market for consumer products considering its consumer driven population of over 80 million people.

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Doing Business

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Setting up a business in the Philippines is easy depending on the kind of business that you would want to go into. But whatever your business is, you will have to go through a business registration process. If you are setting up a corporation, you will have to register your corporate papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission. If you are a foreigner, you will only be allowed to own 40% of the corporation. The rest (60%) will have to be owned by Filipino Citizens. If your business is a single proprietorship, you may register it with the Department of Trade (DTI). Then you will be required to register your business with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and finally to the local government (City of Municipality) where your business is located. After undergoing this process and obtaining the necessary registration papers from these agencies, you are now ready to operate your business.

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There are various locations that offer incentives to investors. Some investors find it convenient to set up their business in Freeport zones that are found in key a cities and industrial areas in the country. Among the known Freeport zones are Subic Bay Freeport Zone located in the former US Naval Base in Subic Bay, Zambales. Travel time to Subic from Metro Manila is about one and a half hours. This Freeport zone is the most popular among the existing Freeport areas in the country. Subic has a topnotch Seaport facility that can accommodate large ocean vessels from all over the world. Subic Freeport is also host to the Subic International Airport, a premiere international airport built by the US Air Force. The other major Freeport zone is the Clark Freeport Zone located in Angeles, Pampanga. It has almost the same facilities as that of Subic except that it has no Seaport.

Aside from these two Freeport Zones, there are a good number of economic zones that have complete facilities for commercial and industrial operations. These economic zones offer various tax and business incentives to foreign investors, including duty free importation of capital equipment.

Retiring and Living in the Philippines

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I do not know of any place in the South East Asian Region that will beat the Philippines as a great place to retire. A tropical climate and the world-famous Filipino hospitality await a prospective retiree when he sets foot on Philippine soil. You don’t have to be an old retiree to qualify but you must be at least 39 years old.

A prospective retiree’s main concerns when he finally retires are his health and a comfortable place to stay that will complement his retirement budget. Health professionals in the Philippines are noted worldwide for their medical practice and caring attitude towards their patients. Filipino Caregivers are likewise known all over the world for their concern especially for the elderly.

If you are a retiree from Europe or USA, you will practically live in luxury with your regular retirement budget or pension. Here’s why:

  • You can hire a 24/7 maid for less than US$80.00/month. Your maid will take care of your household chores such as, but not limited to: house cleaning, cooking, laundry and ironing, gardening, ran errands, etc. If you are still strong and mobile, your maid can serve as your Caregiver, gratis et amore.

  • You can have a decent meal for less that US10.00

  • You can buy a brand new 2-bedroom Condo Unit for US$35-50K payable on easy payment terms with 10-20% down payment or you can rent a decent unit for US$300-500K/month

  • You can buy a good used car for US$5,000.00

A Special Resident Visa (SRV) is being offered by the Philippine Government to foreign retirees. The Visa is non-immigrant, multiple entries. This entitles the retiree to a multiple entry privilege with the right to reside permanently in the Philippines. The basic requirement is a membership to the Philippine Retirement Authority. Among the benefits of this Visa are:

  • Exemption from Exit Clearance and Re-entry Permit

  • Exemption from custom duties and taxes for the importation of personal effects up to US$7,000.00.

  • Exemption from travel tax if stay in the Philippines is less than 1 year from date of last entry

  • Option to include dependents on the program

  • Exemption from getting Special Study Permit

  • Exemption from Bureau of Immigration annual registration requirement

  • Tax-Free remittance of annuities and pension

  • Guaranteed remittance of deposit or investment

  • Assistance in obtaining Alien Employment Permit

If you are at least 39 years old, you are qualified to apply as a Foreign Retiree. However you need to make a bank deposit of at least US$50K but if you are over 50 years old, you only need to deposit US$20K. If the total pension of the retiree or couple is US$2,000.00 and more, the required deposit may be reduced to US$10,000.00. If you are a retiree with special qualifications such as scientist, professor, health Care Professional, agriculturist or other professional qualifications that are deem desirable for Philippine national development, the government may waive the deposit requirement provided that the retiree has at least US$800.00 pension.

Retirement Facilities

If you are a young and able retiree, the Philippines is the right place for you to retire and settle down. Most of the accommodation and retirement facilities available are suited for those who are still mobile and do not need hospital-like facilities. Condominium units and town homes are available in key cities of the country.

If you wish to stay in the countryside, you can try Cebu City, a progressive and peaceful City in the South. Or go farther to Davao City, the world’s largest city in terms of land area. Davao City is one of the most livable cities in the country.

For those who enjoy outdoors, try it out in Palawan and enjoy nature at its best. Other key cities like Iloilo, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro and Naga City in the Bicol Region are worth considering because of their relative peace and progressive local economy.

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