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Start-up businesses to benefit from pending law

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By Ellson Quismorio

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) could soon be tapped to lead the proposed Philippine Start-up Development Program, which will soon cater to the Filipinos’ knack for entrepreneurship.

Rep. Luis Raymund "LRay" Favis Villafuerte Jr. (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

Under the proposed Innovative Startup Act penned by Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte, the three agencies will be tapped to assess, monitor, develop, and expand the said program in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s agenda for sustained high growth and financial inclusion.

Villafuerte said the DOST, DICT, and DTI will work on a fresh package of incentives for the development of innovative start-up businesses in the country.

The proposed law, which was ratified by both houses of the Congress before the election recess, is now up for the Chief Executive’s signature.

Villafuerte said that, as per his measure, the Philippine Start-up Development Program develop and unify programs, as well as the benefits and incentives for start-ups and start-up enablers.

This includes streamlining business procedures for startups and providing them tax perks and relaxed immigration procedures in order to help them gain support from overseas investors.

The DOST, DICT, and DTI will each be provided with a start-up grant fund for initial and supplemental grants-in-aid to start-ups and start-up enablers, Villafuerte said.

A start-up is defined under the proposed law as a registered business entity operating for no longer than 60 months in the country, and whose core business function involves an innovative process, product or business model.

“The measure will benefit Filipinos with an innate talent for shaping contemporary ideas. It will also encourage the creation of new jobs and the exchange of technology, along with strengthening the entrepreneurial culture in the country,” noted Villafuerte.

These three lead agencies will coordinate with the Board of Investments (BOI) in creating a development plan covering initiatives for short, medium, and long-term strategies to spur investments.

This, in turn, will promote the growth and development of start-up and start-up enablers in the country, the three-term Camarines Sur governor-turned-congressman said.

BOI will also assist in training personnel tasked to assist current and prospective start-ups and start-up enablers so they may access and maximize benefits and incentives.

Villafuerte, however, said the success of the measure will depend in large part on the successful implementation of another law he had co-authored–the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Act.

He lamented that the DTI and the newly formed and Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) had failed to submit the EODB law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) to Malacañang the first time around October last year.

Villafuerte said this undue delay has set back efforts by President Duterte to cut red tape and improve the Philippines’ competitiveness in attracting investors.

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