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Senate OK’s bill on innovative start-ups

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Senate seal
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THE SENATE on Wednesday passed on third and final reading the proposed innovative start-ups law, a priority measure which aims to provide start-up entrepreneurs tax breaks and other forms of assistance.

Senate Bill No. 1532, authored by Senator Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV, was approved with 18 affirmative votes, no negative vote, and zero abstention.

According to a statement by the Senate, the measure also aims to provide easier business registration procedures and technical assistance and training programs.

“These are start-ups that provide unique and relevant solutions to our problems, from daily hassles, like finding a taxi during rush hour, to improving the delivery of health care, providing support for our farmers, and addressing unemployment,” Mr. Aquino said in the statement.

The senator also cited the additional incentive of exemption from fees and charges for the use of equipment, facilities and other services from government agencies.

“These benefits and incentives will be provided by the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and/or the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) under an Innovative Start-up Development Program,” Mr. Aquino said.

Other incentives 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 on setting up the Ten Billion-Peso Innovative Start-up Venture Fund which entrepreneurs can avail themselves of. This fund will be administered by the Department of Science and Technology.

Other benefits include research and development grants, access to applicable benefits and incentives provided by the Intellectual Property of the Philippines, subsidy for visa application, renewal, or extension of foreign owners, employees, and/or investors of an innovative start-up and support service provider, and exemption from the alien employment permit.