Online Barter Trade Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

Filipinos are popular for being wise and ingenious. Even before the Spaniard colonization, the Philippines had already established a trading system with its neighboring countries called the Barter system. People involved are exchanging their products with other goods they needed like food, spices, and weapon.

Coronavirus disease became a threat to our lives, thus the government implemented quarantine protocols to eradicate the spread of the fatal virus. Because of lock down, many citizens lost their job and should find another avenue to provide for their families. Now that they don’t have money to buy their basic needs, the Barter system brought back again. People are exchanging what they already have for something more important in order to survive like food and such. As the technology evolved, transactions are now made online. It is more convenient than the ancient barter and it also avoids frequent physical contact which helps in containing the virus.

These past few months there is a growing Facebook page, the famous ‘Iloilo Barter Community.’ It was featured in different news stations and immediately gained attention from the public. The Ilonggos rediscovered the old method of exchanging goods without the use of money. It is done in a way that, members of this online community will post the item they want to trade and the product they desired for exchange. If the deal was made, they will now discuss the transactions on when and where they will meet for the barter.

Iloilo Barter Community//UNTV

However, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Tuesday, July 14, that online barter is illegal and online sellers should register to the department, as well as in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). Trade and industry secretary, Ramon Lopez, said that they will now take action towards the online barter trade. He also encouraged consumers not to buy products from unknown sellers from Facebook and Instagram, for the department can only help them from their complaints with registered sellers. Lopez added that they already received 10,000 complaints this 2020.

On Thursday, July 16, Ramon Lopez stated that barter is only taxable if it is treated as a business. He clarifies that those who operate in a regular course of trade and business and earns P3M annually should be taxed. In the case of the Iloilo Barter Community, almost all of them are only personal exchanges, hence it doesn’t need to be subjected to registration and regulations.

Iloilo isn’t called ‘City of Love’ just for nothing. The Bayanihan spirit is still in the hearts of the Ilonggos, and they continue spreading love for their countrymen. Some people chose to trade things valuable to them for food and other necessities, but many are giving grocery supplies without taking the items. Yes, we are not on the same boat during this Covid-19. Some are on the yacht, but many are struggling to fight for their lives in a small boat. Nevertheless, we are in the same ocean. Help your countrymen in every possible way you can.

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