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Innovation Law key to knowledge economy development

President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed into law the Philippine Innovation Act, a move that is seen to propel the country towards becoming a globally competitive knowledge economy.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, in a tweet on July 16, welcomed the signing of the new law.

“This will be key to building our S&T Innovation Ecosystem towards making the country a globally competitive knowledge economy,” Pernia said in his Twitter post. S&T refers to science and technology.

The budget for research and development is currently at only 0.15% of the gross domestic product (GDP), he noted.

With the signing of the new law, Pernia said the R&D budget “should, moving forward, be raised steadily to closer to 1%, which is the UNESCO norm.”

Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) 11293, or the Philippine Innovation Act, on April 17, 2019, but the Palace released it three months later.

The new law seeks to provide micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) greater access to finance, market and technology, as well as comprehensive support program from incorporation to internationalization.

It mandates the establishment of a P1-billion Innovation Fund that will be used to strengthen entrepreneurship and enterprises engaged in developing innovative solutions benefitting the poorest of the poor.

It also creates the National Innovation Council, to be chaired by the President, which will be tasked to develop a 10-year National Innovation Agenda and Strategy Document to establish the country's innovation goals, priorities, and long-term national strategy.

The new law also provides for a startup MSME innovation development program, through which the government and private organizations will collaborate in providing technical and financial support for the development training of entrepreneurs.

An Innovation Development Credit and Financing Program shall be developed for MSMEs to avail of loans and other financing activities. All banking institutions shall set aside at least four percent of their total liable funds for innovation development credit. (Ventures Cebu)

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