TACLOBAN CITY – The barter community in Tacloban welcomes the clarification made by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on an earlier report that online barter is illegal and must be taxed.
Some residents of Tacloban and from neighboring towns in Leyte province have created an online group accounts called as Tacloban Barter Community and Leyte Barter Community where they regularly share items they want to exchange with others.
The barter trading boomed during the quarantine period as the movements of the people were restrained due to the coronavirus disease 2019(COVID- 19) pandemic.
“If makikita niyo ang Tacloban barter page, mostly sa makikita ninyo na bina-barter ay mga groceries and daily needs like rice and other commodities,” Rhoel Ladera, Tacloban Barter Community member, said.
“Barter became lifeline of many, dahil sa hirap na nararanasan nila, may mga nawalan ng trabaho, at mga businesses na humina ang kita dahil sa COVID-19,” he added.
Ladera added that because of barter, what other people think are trash or useless in their homes became useful during the health crisis.
Tacloban City Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin, who is also active in joining the barter community, said that the announcement of DTI is good news to many individuals who are engaging in barter trade.
“This will now encourage many to survive, turning their throwaways & unused/used/extra items into something that they can actually use,” Yaokasin said.
“In this time of pandemic and prolonged quarantine, many people lost their regular sources of income. With no more cash on hand to buy daily necessities, the barter community provides a platform for members to trade their unused/used items for essential supplies. This is welcome relief for many cash-strapped individuals and families,” he added.
Through barter, Yaokasin exchanges grocery goods with old things or vintage items which he collects for his plan of putting up a mini-museum.
“Rather than complain and wait for government dole-outs during this pandemic, online barter gave many residents at home the opportunity to become productive and entrepreneurial. They are not trying to earn, but survive,” he added.
Among those who benefited the online barter trade is a senior citizen named Lito, who exchanged his own produced vinegar with grocery.
Through the help of Angelyn Ladrera Sabusap, the vinegar that he produced was posted over Tacloban Barter Community in exchange of a coffee.
The post became viral in the barter community and received many deals. From his request of coffee in exchange to his vinegar, the barter community members made a deal of bartering his goods with grocery items, fruits, vegetables, rice, that help him for his daily need.