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Controversies are present in any startup ecosystem. These sensitivities are natural and are part of the maturing process of any ecosystem. Tackling these issues would hopefully lead to positive change for the community.

1. [Ongoing] Government’s inability to cope with fast-paced innovations is an issue raised by the startup community. The startups say, the government’s regulations are inadvertently becoming obstacles to new products, services, and business paradigms. On the other hand, the government is responsible to promulgate, administer, enforce, and monitor compliance of policies, laws, and regulations to promote order amongst its citizens.

An example would be LTFRB’s stand on transportation-related service applications such as Uber and Tripid, citing that these services need permission from their regulatory board to operate.

2. [Dissolved] Some local group buying sites were caught placing misleading advertisements on Google and Facebook, as well as maintaining redirector domain names. These actions had the objective of masquerading as their rival sites using similar-sounding names, effectively pulling of a “bait-and-switch” with the customers. The practice seems to have died down amidst customer complaints and expressed disapproval by the local tech community.

3. [Ongoing] Two of the largest telecommunications companies, Smart/PLDTand Globe, are in a perpetual turf war for dominance, often resulting in non-cooperation with each other and the NTC, and inevitably, hurting both of their subscriber bases.

This bitter rivalry has extended even into the local startup ecosystem, both of them coming up with their respective incubators/accelerators (IdeaSpace by Smart/PLDT, and Kickstart Ventures from Globe). Fledgling startups and startup discussion groups inevitably have to take sides, and the result is often the exclusion from the other telco’s events and initiatives.