Online barter illegal – DTI

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BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA

Bad news for the online bartering community.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez yesterday said such transaction is not subject to taxes, and the scheme is in violation of the country’s tax law.

He added that barter is only allowed in some parts of Mindanao, such as Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

Filipinos, including Bacolodnons and Negrenses, have resorted to the decades-old tradition to acquire goods during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Under the scheme, both parties will agree to a transaction in exchange for goods or services, with no money involved.

Former Bacolod City councilor Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, who started the Bacolod Barter Community Facebook page in May, cried foul saying many Filipinos have relied on bartering to acquire food and goods during the lockdown.

In a Facebook post, Sigue, a lawyer, asked Lopez to “kindly formally meet the more than 150 bartering communities around the country including the overseas bartering communities providing help and food for our Filipino citizens abroad.”

She also asked how bartering, that is recognized by the Civil Code of the Philippines (1950), is a violation of any law.

The Bacolod Barter Community now has more than 230,000 members and has influenced other localities to create their own community.

Some of the items up for barter are old clothes in exchange for one kilo of rice, an old pair of shoes for a few canned goods, an old plate in exchange for old books, a tray of egg in exchange for a pot of plant, a defective cellphone in exchange for an old laptop for online classes, vegetables in exchange for a wheelchair, and orchids in exchange for an old bed for a senior citizen, Sigue said.

She said the items up for trade are of diminished value and not even taxable.

In another Facebook post, Sigue said ordinary people are trying their best to help themselves survive the pandemic.

She also challenged the DTI and the National Economic and Development Authority to spur to life economic activities and production value chains while evading Covid-19.

The business sector in Bacolod had earlier urged Negrenses to dispose of idle assets for barter to conserve cash due to the economic crisis brought by the pandemic.*

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