Senate passes bills for startups, scientists on last session day

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Two measures principally sponsored and/or authored by Sen. Paolo Benigno ?Bam? Aquino IV moved closer to becoming laws after their bicameral conference committee reports were ratified by the Senate late Wednesday, Feb. 6.

Sen. Bam Aquino

On the last day of regular session, the Senate adopted and ratified the bicameral conference committee report on Senate Bill No. 1532 or the Innovative Startup Act and Senate Bill No. 1534 or the Magna Carta for Scientists.

Aquino pushed for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1532 as principal author and sponsor and of Senate Bill 1534 as principal sponsor during his time as chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

The measures will be transmitted to Malacanang for President Duterte’s signature.

If enacted into law, Senate Bill No. 1532 will provide support to innovative and tech startups, which pertain to businesses that provide unique and relevant solutions to pressing problems, such as transportation, financing, agriculture and healthcare.

Under the measure, host agencies, including DOST, DICT and DTI, are authorized to provide subsidies to innovative startups to help defray the costs of business registration, and the use of space, facilities, equipment and other services for their operations.

Startups will also receive subsidies for travel costs related to their participation in local and international start up events and competitions.

In addition, the law creates a Start Up Grant Fund administered by DOST, DICT, and DTI to provide grants-in-aid for research, training, expansion, or scaling up and a Start Up Venture Fund administers by DTI to fund match investments in start ups by investors.

Senate Bill No. 1534 eyes to remove set limits on additional honoraria sourced from externally funded grants for S&T professions and foster ease in accessing benefits for S&T personnel in departments and agencies other than the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

“Malaking tulong ang dalawang panukalang ito upang lalo pang mapalakas ang sektor ng Science and Technology at para mabigyan ng tamang suporta ang entrepreneurs na may hatid na solusyon sa mga problema sa bansa,” said Aquino.

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