The Philippines’ top court hears arguments for legalisation of same sex marriage

This week, in an historic first, the Philippines Supreme Court is hearing arguments for the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

In a move that’s surprising to some, President Duterte has expressed his in-principle support to same sex unions.

Philippines Innovative Startup Act

Last week (May 16th) the Philippines Senate passed the Innovative Startup Act, a measure which aims to give local business entrepreneurs a better chance of succeeding in the industry by providing tax breaks and other forms of assistance.

Senate Bill No. 1532, authored by Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, seeks to support innovative startups through financial subsidies like tax breaks and grants, easier business registration procedures and technical assistance and training programs.

Innovative startups will enjoy exemption from fees and charges for the use of equipment, facilities and other services from government agencies such as testing and fabrication facilities.

Under the bill, the benefits will include: (1) waived application fees; (2) Refund of fees for the permits and certificates; and (3) Expedited processing of permits and certificates.

The measure also includes a provision for Ten Billion-Peso Innovative Startup Venture Fund that entrepreneurs can apply for. This fund will be administered by the Department of Science and Technology.

Other benefits include research and development grants, exemption from fees and charges, exemption from fees and charges levied by the national government agencies for the use of equipment, facilities, or services availed by the innovative startup, access to applicable benefits and incentives provided by the Intellectual Property of the Philippines; and Subsidy for Visa application, renewal, or extension of foreign owners, employees, and/or investors of an innovative startup and support service provider, and exemption from the alien employment permit.

Contact me for further information or assistance in applying.

Australian Innovation Summit in the Philippines

Australia’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Her Excellency Amanda Gorely welcomes invitees to the Australian Innovation Summit in the Philippines today.

The focus of the summit is FinTech, Digital Commerce, Cybersecurity, Digital Health, and Edutech and it’s great to be here on what is also Philippines-Australia Friendship Day!

Boracay Closed to Tourism for 6 Months

Boracay in central Philippines and one of the most famous and well visited holiday spots in the country will be closed to tourism for at least the next 6 months.

With well over 2 million visitors in 2017 in an area of just 4 square km’s, Boracay has been getting increasingly crowded and infrastructure strained over the past few years. For those who’ve been there recently it’s, frankly, starting to resemble the Aussie Bogans’ playground of Kuta in Bali (The Ugly Australian is such a blight on our beautiful island neighbour that even Australians pause before booking a holiday there.”). To be fair, the issues in Boracay are related more to genuine infrastructure capacity, rather than the Aussie tendency to foul their own nests. But I digress…………

President Duterte issued the order in February (“I’ll give you six months……Clean the goddamn thing!”). Residents will be allowed to come and go, but both local and foreign tourists will be blocked at the mainland ferry port starting April 26. The nearby airports of Caticlan and Kalibo will continue operating as they are located on the mainland, but Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air have both confirmed they will offer refunds and rebooking.

Buying property in Singapore as a foreigner

Usual caveats!!!!

With an international reputation as a hustling hub of industry, commerce and services, Singapore is a popular market for many expats considering property investments in the Asian region. There are low barriers of entry for foreign buyers, relative to other neighbouring jurisdictions, and the area exhibits a steady record of good long-term capital appreciation.

Singapore also attracts large numbers of expats to its shores. In June 2017 the country’s population was 5.61 million, of which 1.6 million people were non-residents. Nearly 40% of the labour force is made up of foreigners, and this steady flow of non-native feet ensures that the property market is vibrant and growing. Add to this a well-regulated and stable economy (regularly ranked as one of the top business environments in the world) , supported by a prime location in the centre of Asia, and the benefits of Singapore begin to add up.

What’s the property market like in Singapore?


Continue reading “Buying property in Singapore as a foreigner”

Uber Sells SE Asia Operations to Grab

The writing was on the wall for this for a while. Last month in Mexico I gave a talk on the impact that culture can have on entrepreneurship and I actually used the example of Uber vs Grab in the SE Asian market where lack of local cultural insight was killing Uber. (This is after their 2016 retreat from China).

Losing around $1Bn a quarter, the deal was signed on the 25th March to sell all of Uber’s SEA operations (including Ubereats) to Grab in return for a 27.5% stake and a place for Uber’s CEO on the Grab Holdings board.