AMID conflict between the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and transport network companies (TNCs), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reiterated the government’s role in supporting innovation, instead of being a detriment to it.

Speaking before technology startups during the two-day SlingShot 2017 at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel in Cebu City, DTI Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) Director Senen Perlada raised the current challenges technology businesses in the Philippines face.

One of it is the unresolved rift between the LTFRB and TNCs Uber and Grab.

“More often than not, we are bogged down with dysfunctional bureaucracies and hierarchies. Let’s face it. Innovation is moving so fast, much faster than policies,” said Perlada.

“The problem with us is that innovation is so fast (but that doesn’t mean) ihihinto natin ang innovation just because we have to be able to meet policies,” he added.

The LTFRB earlier fined Uber and Grab P5 million each for allegedly taking in new drivers even after the government suspended applications for new permits in 2016.

In a separate speech yesterday, Trade Undersecretary Nora Terrado pointed out that the success of Uber and Grab in the Philippines is because of the way it has addressed transportation woes in the country.

“They are not just mostly business, but providers of solutions to existing societal problems,” said Terrado.

She underscored, too, the role of government in the development of the startup ecosystem in the country.

Action agenda

For one, the DTI has identified a five-point action agenda to cultivate the country’s startup ecosystem.

These include fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and collaboration; addressing legal and regulatory barriers; providing government support, including access to capital; establishing the Philippine Innovation Economic Zone; and the creation of a Philippine Startup Ecosystem.

Asean Slingshot

On Oct. 19 to 20, DTI will host the ASEAN Slingshot in Metro Manila. The event will include plenary talks by influential keynote speakers, seminar workshops, and breakout sessions with experts on tech entrepreneurship, public and private sector dialogues, startups exhibition and demonstrations, pitching competition, and fellowship networking.