MANILA, Philippines — Philippine regulatory tech (“regtech”) pioneer UNAWA has appointed as its Chief Executive Officer Atty. Regina Jacinto-Barrientos, who is concurrently the CEO of top Philippine law firm, PJS Law.
Atty. Jacinto-Barrientos is one of the founders of PJS Law and, since 1997, has led the firm from a three-partner start-up to a leading Philippine law firm, which has been awarded as being among Asia’s top law firms for four years in a row.
In 2019, PJS Law partnered with venture studio Talino Venture Labs to introduce regulatory tech to the Philippines through the integration of Silicon Valley-level innovation expertise and legal and regulatory expertise. Amid the pandemic, UNAWA evangelized secure digitalization and e-transactions to government agencies and the business sector alike, winning the #DigitalAgainstCOVID Hackathon sponsored by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in November 2020.
Introducing a new way of doing business in a post-pandemic world
In taking on the helm of UNAWA, Atty. Jacinto-Barrientos succeeds Atty. Monalisa Dimalanta, another partner of PJS Law, who steered the startup from its inception in December 2019 through the challenges and opportunities of the pandemic years. Atty. Dimalanta has likewise been named one of the top 100 lawyers in Asia and is an educator and a renewable energy champion.
“UNAWA is the product of a years-long dream for its founding lawyers, and we were truly excited to see the company and its products take shape even amid the challenges of COVID-19,” said Atty. Dimalanta. “The past two years have only underscored how critical it is for businesses and governments alike to digitize securely, and through UNAWA, we are providing the legal, regulatory, and technology expertise to make e-transactions easy, secure, and legally binding for the everyday Filipino. Atty. Jacinto-Barrientos has been one of our most fervent cheerleaders and ‘growth hackers’ from Day One, and there is no doubt that UNAWA will continue to make great strides under her leadership.”
Responding to her appointment, Atty. Jacinto-Barrientos said, “Every crisis presents an opportunity to change and innovate, and we built UNAWA at the right time—just as the Philippines and the rest of the world was recognizing the need to evolve from paper-based business processes to more digitized deals and transactions. As we now take UNAWA and our products to market following our ADB win, we are excited to usher in a new way of doing business that is perfect for the post-pandemic world.”
A trailblazer in the legal sphere
In 2020 UNAWA entered the market with UNAWA Express, a trifecta of solutions to help businesses, government entities, and individuals alike create, digitize, and transact using legally binding e-documents.
In July 2021, it introduced UNAWA RNotary™, a remote notary solution following the July 2020 promulgation of Supreme Court interim rules on remote notarization. The company is actively advocating for the acceptance of e-notary methods to notarize business documents and contracts, recognizing the need for safer digitized processes beyond the pandemic.
The company has also secured a five-year deal with Taytay, Palawan, to revitalize local tourism through the digital collection of travel permits and its conservation and sustainable tourism fee.
“UNAWA is reimagining how business should be conducted and accelerated in the Philippines, and we’re only getting started,” shared Winston Damarillo, CEO of Talino Venture Labs and Chief Strategy Officer of UNAWA. “Under Atty. Jacinto-Barrientos’s leadership, UNAWA will scale aggressively to launch products and services that serve Filipino businesses and government entities alike, and then expand to other key markets.”
A trailblazer and influencer in the legal sphere, Atty. Jacinto-Barrientos in 2017 won the coveted “Woman Lawyer of the Year” award given by the Asian Legal Business – Philippine Law Awards. This follows the previous year’s “Managing Partner of the Year” Award given by the same publication.
“We’re only scratching the surface of what’s possible for us at UNAWA,” Atty. Jacinto-Barrientos pointed out. “As we work more closely with our investors, government partners, and fellow startups and businesses, we will unlock greater value by speeding up the way business is conducted in the Philippines. We’re going to be in recovery mode in the coming years, and we’ll need to digitize and move more quickly to help our economy bounce back. UNAWA’s solutions will be key and foundational to our post-pandemic recovery.”
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