House ICT committee chief calls for passage of PH Innovation bill

Tarlac representative Victor A. Yap, the chair of the ICT committee in the House of Representatives, has called on his colleagues to pass a bill which would promote innovation and knowledge transfer for economic and social development.

House ICT committee chair Victor Yap (left) opening a recent hearing in Congress

The support comes as the House Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development approved the substitute bill on the “Philippine Innovation Act,” which provides incentives for ideas that result in the development of new or improved policies, products, processes or services that spread across the market.

“We need to take advantage of the current business situation where start-up companies and MSMEs have the opportunity to compete with big businesses through technology and innovation. The government should step in and cultivate this environment by providing MSMEs with a platform to flourish,” said Yap.

Yap, a principal author of House Bill 5618, added that the consolidated version of the “Philippine Innovation Act” will also cut bureaucratic red tape for micro, small and medium enterprises’ (MSMEs) and increase their access to finance, market and technology.

“I have also proposed the inclusion of a requirement for all banks to set aside at least 4% of their total loanable funds for innovation development credit,” said the lawmaker.

If enacted, the bill is set to establish the National Innovation Council (NIC), which will be in charge of setting priority areas for innovation and developing the National Innovation Agenda and Strategy Document (NIASD). The NIASD will contain the country’s long-term goals for innovation and a roadmap for improving innovation governance.

The NIC will be responsible for administering the following instruments: a P1-billion Innovation Fund, which will provide capital to enterprises engaged in developing innovative solutions that will primarily benefit the poor; and the Innovation Development Credit and Financing System, which aims to boost the development of new technologies by providing MSMEs with loans and other financing activities.

“The government plays a vital role in providing our people with the right perspective and skills to be competitive. We need strategic planning and a long-term vision to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth,” said Yap.

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