Senate approves Innovative Startup bill

The Senate on Wednesday approved on third and final reading a proposed measure that seeks to give business entrepreneurs a better chance of succeeding in the industry by providing them with tax breaks and other forms of assistance.

Senate Bill No. 1532, or the “Act Providing Benefits and Programs to Strengthen, Promote, and Develop the Philippine Startup Ecosystem,” was approved with 18 affirmative votes, no negative vote, and zero abstention.

Authored by Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, the measure seeks to support innovative startups through financial subsidies like tax breaks and grants, easier business registration procedures and technical assistance and training programs.

Aquino welcomed the passage of the measure in the Senate as it would “empower Filipino innovators and entrepreneurs with a heart for nation-building.”

He said the measure will allow innovative startups to enjoy exemption from fees and charges for the use of equipment, facilities and other services from government agencies such as testing and fabrication facilities.

“These are startups that provide unique and relevant solutions to our problems, from daily hassles, like finding a taxi during rush hour, to improving the delivery of healthcare, providing support for our farmers, and addressing unemployment,” he said.

“These benefits and incentives will be provided by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Information and Communications Technology, and/or the Department of Trade and Industry under an Innovative Startup Development Program,” Aquino said.

Under the bill, the benefits will include waived application fees, refund of fees for the permits and certificates, and expedited processing of permits and certificates.

The measure also includes a provision for a PHP10-billion Innovative Startup Venture Fund, to be administered by the DOST, that entrepreneurs can apply for.

Other benefits include research and development grants, exemption from fees and charges, exemption from fees and charges levied by the national government agencies for the use of equipment, facilities, or services availed by the innovative startup, access to applicable benefits and incentives provided by the Intellectual Property of the Philippines; and Subsidy for Visa application, renewal, or extension of foreign owners, employees, and/or investors of an innovative startup and support service provider, and exemption from the alien employment permit. (By Jose Cielito Reganit, Philippine News Agency)


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