Press Release
November 15, 2021

Budget cut on program for start-up companies, untimely -- Tolentino

As the country continues to grapple with hastening economic recovery from the pandemic, Senator Francis "Tol" N. Tolentino underscored the need to invest in start-up companies to help jumpstart the economy once herd immunity is achieved.

During the Senate deliberation on the 2022 national budget, Tolentino pushed for additional allocation for DOST's Philippine Council for Industry Energy and Emerging Technology Research (PCIEETR), an agency that provides support for start-up companies. The senator emphasized that this is crucial to invigorate the Philippine start-up ecosystem.

However, despite the vital role that the PCIEETR plays in economic recovery, the agency's budget allotment for next year was reduced and set to only Php 815,221,000. Tolentino said that the move is untimely.

"I humbly feel that if there is a program that should be sustained and nourished this is it. I believe the reduction in budget is probably not timely and relevant because once we go through a post-pandemic period, we need start-up groups similar to what they are doing in Silicon Valley and other areas. We have to sustain the creativity of our youth, our young entrepreneurs. This will be needed post-pandemic," Tolentino said.

Senator Joel Villanueva, who's sponsoring the budget for DOST, also backed Tolentino's proposal.

"We are willing to work with Senator Tolentino in case we can find out how to or if there's a need or an opportunity for us to increase the budget, this particular agency, this particular unit in so far as focusing on the start-up is concerned." Villanueva said.

After finding out that the DOST only has three lawyers in its legal department, Tolentino also stressed the need to beef up the department's legal team.

The lawmaker said that the lack of lawyers could be a factor why the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of laws such as Republic Act 11037 or the "Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act," was drafted late.

Upon enactment of the law, national government agencies were given 120 days to draft the IRR. Tolentino stressed that the proactive response from government agencies is a must to hasten economic recovery, especially after the pandemic.

"The lack of lawyers within the Department may be the reason behind the late promulgation of the IRR. This is a very important law as it institutionalizes a national program for undernourished children. Kailangan po ito hindi lang ng DOST, kailangan din ito ng DILG, DepEd, and our LGUs," Tolentino said.

Tolentino, who also advocates strict implementation of the law, scrutinized the DOST issuances which deviate from the text and intent of the laws enacted by Congress. He added that providing an additional budget to the DOST's legal service is essential to create an extra layer that will review IRRs promulgated by the DOST to ensure that they are within the bounds of the law.

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