February 3, 2023

The Department of Trade and Industry-Cordillera said safety and health protocols should still be practiced by individuals participating in bartering or swapping of products or items online.
With the online barter community growing especially during this pandemic, DTI-CAR Director Myrna Pablo urged the barter community to practice safety and health protocols at all times.
“I request those bartering, to make sure the items are safe. When we say safe you have to have some disinfection done because you are not sure if the handlers of the item have Covid-19,” Pablo said.
The online barter community must have an active administrator who will lay down the guidelines in the barter of items.
Tante Galang, one of the administrators of the Baguio Barter Community, said they constantly remind their members to practice health protocols when meeting up.
“We have a lot of members that are doctors and frontliners. To be fair to them, kapag may nakikita silang nagbabarter na hindi naka-mask pinupuna naman nila. In our posts, we remind them to wear masks when meeting up,” Galang said.
Galang added that members are being constantly reminded to follow local policies and protocols, as some of them avail of errand services to make sure there would be no contact.
Earlier, the DTI central office was under fire by netizens over its statement saying bartering is illegal and should be taxed.
DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez clarified his statement saying that online bartering is allowed as long as only personal items, except for firearms, are exchanged and not for profit.
Galang said the initial pronouncement of DTI has shocked and angered online barter communities nationwide.
“I received a number of messages from members na natatakot na daw silang mag barter kasi baka hulihin sila, kasi meron sa statement na huhulihin sila so I have to assure everyone that it’s fine to barter as long as hindi naman tataas ng P3 million ang halaga at personal, naintindahan naman ng members natin at naalis iyong alinlangan nila,” she said.
She added the main aim of the group, which now has 23,975 members and counting,  was to simply barter personal things and prohibits any cash transactions.
For Mai Fianza-Sarmiento, bartering has been helpful for her in this pandemic.
“In my experience, I saw some kitchen tools posted and I needed them, I saw they were in good condition and I didn’t think I had to buy new ones. We had at home what the person was looking for – plants. Another instance, someone was offering to barter garden soil in exchange for some grocery items. I had extra at home, so I was able to barter with the person and there was no monetary transaction,” she said. – Ofelia C. Empian