GLOBAL BARTER COMMUNITIES

Joint Statement of All Barter Communities

July 14, 2020

It is with painful sadness and frustration that we read the news today about the plan of of Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to “hunt” due to violation of laws the over 1 Million Filipinos in the Philippines and around the world who are helping one another through bartering online.

THERE IS NO CLEAR AND SPECIFIC LEGAL BASIS FOR ONLINE BARTER PLATFORMS TO BE DECLARED AS UNLAWFUL OR ILLEGAL. Barter is a recognized contract under the Civil Code of the Philippines which took effect in 1950. Bartering is an ancient practice that predates money more than 8000 years ago and in fact necessitated the invention of money since humans need to exchange goods and services to obtain their needs and survive.

Since Facebook started sometime in 2004, people already started exchanging goods online, and eventually pages for “bartering”, “exchanging”, “trading”, “swapping”, “donating or paying forward” and “buying and selling” things began more than a decade ago on social media.

When the Philippine economy went into a self-imposed paralysis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Filipinos lost their jobs and means for income. With more than half of our labor force belonging to the informal economy and are daily-wage earners, even a work stoppage for a day will badly hurt them as well as their families.

The President called for everyone to observed “bayanihan” and help one another but despite the Bayanihan Law which gave access to government to billions of public funds, many families have become more destitute. The middle class which heavily supports the economy of this country have reached a point where we need to scrape our savings to endure and stay alive in the midst of the lockdown restrictions  – all in order to unite against the fight of COVID 19. Our utility bills, our loans, our rents and all payables running every month – without any income coming in.

These sad realities are no secret to a government who pledge to take care of all Filipinos from the very start of this pandemic.

Despite this bleak scenario, the founders of all the bartering communities in the country composed of professionals in different localities created barter communities on Facebook as online platforms where people can exchange goods which are essential. All founders, administrators and moderators of the group pages are volunteers and not earning any profit for the pages. All members are also not paying anything to post in the barter pages.

Since May 2020, Filipino kindness shone like sunlight throughout the country through the bartering communities. With thousands of community members sharing their extra food and essentials to people who need them most in exchange for things that are even oftentimes old and almost useless. Filipinos extended their talent in cooking for others, fixing things for others, and many other services in exchange for some rice. People gave to those in need and even oftentimes refused to accept what is offered. The inspiring stories for every community are endless, growing in numbers each day. At the end of the day, no cash is allowed in these communities and members are bartering their personal assets. Unlike business entities with gross annual gross receipts subject to taxes, our members are not engaging in any business or activity for profit. The purpose is to help one another obtain essential goods and services and not to evade paying of taxes. When they bought items to exchange, taxes for the items where already paid.

All the bartering communities in the Global Barter Communities (GBC) abide with the highest standards in maintaining our respective the platforms – standards that may not even be followed in the society today.

We are united by a vision – to see a world where kindness is without borders and humanity is defined by the extent with which every race can help one another to survive the global impact of the pandemic and adapt to the “new normal”.  Our mission is to stand in solidarity as different barter communities established by local stakeholders in common mission to promote barter as part of our way of life as Filipinos.

In our handbook, our main objective is to strive to establish and redefine the traditional barter system as a new norm of helping one another and shall not in any way promote commercialism and materialism but positive values such as generosity, determination, honesty, patience, integrity, gender sensitivity, equality and ecological awareness.  We committed to promote these values as the cornerstones of our respective barter communities.

Our collective definition of barter is exchanging goods and services based on the mutual and voluntary decision of two persons. It is not selling, for the goods or services are not exchanged based on cash or price but value. It is not also donating for the good are not given without anything in exchange. The price of the item or service is never equal but the happiness and feeling of satisfaction should be equal. The items are of inconsequential nature or “deminimis” – just like you next door neighbor gives you eggs in exchange for your rice – so both households can have a complete meal.

Today, our barter communities serve as platforms around the world for people to meet and agree to exchange personal goods and services for personal use and consumption. The platforms do not interfere, intervene, force or influence any individual to enter into any barter agreement. Instead our online communities provided hope to many Filipinos to continue fighting poverty.

As virtual barter communities, we do not promote, endorse nor encourage any act that is against laws, morals, public order and public policy and shall immediately cease or refrain from any activity that it may later on become aware to be against laws, morals, public order and public policy. Just to share some of the items posted which we decline:

  1. Illegal, expired, indecent or defective items
  2. Posts which asks for cash or private message as mode of offer
  3. Posts that are for the purpose of selling or promoting products
  4. All live animals such as dogs and cats, birds and fishes, and wild animals
  5. All items subject to extraction or production permits such as gravel, charcoal and honey thereto depending on the ruling of local agencies in the area
  6. All drugs requiring prescription and similar items
  7. All items that require titles or paper before transfer can be made effective except for items of small value or under a mechanism to ensure existence of proper titles
  8. All items that are subject to company direct selling restrictions
  9. N95 or high-grade masks, airsoft, guns, firearms, weapons and indecent pictures that are flagged by FB community standards
  10. Vape and other items with pending prohibitory laws
  11. All posts with indecent pictures and captions
  12. All posts aimed at ridiculing or humiliating any member or individual or a sector
  13. All other posts asking for the above items in exchange for their bartered items
  14. All posts that does not indicate the requirements for a complete caption (description of item, reason of barter, decent and true pictures, must not contain price and must contain a basic or general description of the items they want in exchange)
  15. All other items that may be restricted by law and agencies in the future 

We are jointly appealing to the government of the Republic of the Philippines to help Filipinos cultivate kindness instead of greed, concern for others instead of always just thinking of ourselves and showing the world the true value of bayanihan.

To the DTI, we respectfully ask why your agency will be the one to hunt barter communities for tax laws and not the Bureau of Internal Revenue? We also ask what particular tax provisions are we violating that make online barter illegal and that you make us sound like criminals by saying you will “hunt” or “go after us”? Non-payment of taxes or even non-registration of business are not automatically criminal in nature. Why do we have to be this harsh to millions of Filipinos helping the government in helping other Filipinos in need.

We are appealing to your office to present to us alternative ways and solutions to help our economy, to help our less fortunate Filipinos, to help our millions of displaced workers, to help our MSMEs bounce back and try to find means to feed their workers, to help local stakeholders in ensuring everyone has something to it, to help farmers survive and still be productive, to help workers transition to digital platforms so they can earn, to help Filipino products hit local value chains so they can earn – may we respectfully ask the DTI to focus on these things.

Taxation is not your mandate. Helping Filipinos survive is – as your name implies – TRADE and INDUSTRY. We were counting on the DTI to be in the forefront of pushing the use of digital solutions to increase trade, to promote digital tools to especially to MSMES, and boost digital platforms to promote Filipino brands. But now you say we have to all go back to traditional ways.

PLEASE HELP US SECRETARY LOPEZ. OUR COMMUNITIES ARE HUNGRY. HELP US. DO NOT PIN US TO THE GROUND AND TAKE WHAT LITTLE DIGNITY LEFT OF US BY EXCHANGING OUR USED CLOTHES INSTEAD OF STEALING IN ORDER TO SURVIVE. If you must use the law, use it to help Filipinos but do further worsen our situation.

Please help us. Thank you for all the amazing and extraordinary things you do to help lift our economy during this pandemic as our highest national trade official in the Philippines, Mister Secretary Ramon Lopez! God bless you!

Abu Dhabi Barter Community
Agusan del Sur Barter Community
Aklan Barter Community
Alfonso Cavite Barter Community
Angeles City Barter Community
Arezzo Place Pasig Barter Community
Australia Barter Community
Bacolod Barter Community
Bago CIty Barter Community/Barter Me, Bago City
Baguio City Barter Community
Bahrain Barter Community
Bahrain Barter Society
Baler Aurora-Makati-Quezon City Barter Community
Barotac Viejo/Banate-Iloilo Barter Society
Barter Community Bataan
Barter and Dive
Batangas Barter Community
Baylo ta – Kalibo Barter Community
BF Homes Barter Community (Paranaque)
BFRV Barter Group
Bicol Barter Community
Binalbagan Barter Community
Biñan Barter Community
Borongan City Barter Community
Bogo City Barter Community
Brgy. Tabunan Barter Community
Bukidnon Barter Community
Bulacan Barter Community
Butuan City Barter Community (BCBC)
CAA Barter Community – Las Pinas
Cabuyao Barter Community
Cainta Barter Community
Calauan Laguna Barter Community
Calbayog Barter Community
Calinog Barter Community
Camalig First Barter Community
Camanava Barter Community
Cambodia Barter Community
Candoni Barter Community
Canlaon Barter Community
Carabalan Barter Community
Carmona Barter Community
Cauayan City Isabela Barter Community
Cauayan Barter Community Negros Occidental
Cavite Barter Community
Cebu City Barter Community
Concepcion Tarlac Barter Community
Davao Barter Community
Dubai Barter Community
Duero Barter Community
Dumaguete Barter Community
EB Magalona Barter Community
Filipino Barter Community in NZ
First Cavite Barter/Trade/Exchange items Community
General Trias Cavite Barter Community
Gibraltar Barter Community
Greenheights Village Barter Community
Himamaylan Barter Community
Hinobaan Barter Community
Ifugao Barter Community
Iloilo Barter Society
Iloilo City Barter Community
Isabelenos Swap/Barter Community
Jamindan Barter Community
Japan Barter Community
Kapalong Barter Community
Kuwait Barter Community
La Carlota Barter Community
La Castellana Barter Society
La Trinidad Barter Community
Laguna Barter Community
Lancaster Barter Community
Landayan Barter Community
Lapu Lapu City Barter Community
Las Piñas Barter Community
Las Piñas City Barter Community
Launion Barter Community
Leon Barter Community
Ligao Barter Community
Lipenos Barter Community
Los Baños Barter Community
Mabinay Barter Community
Majayjay Barter : A Community that Spread Kindness
Makati Barter Community
Malasiqui Barter Community
Malolos Barter Community
Malta Filipino Barter Community
Mandaluyong Barter Community
Manila Barter Community
Mansilingan Barter Community
Maragusan Barter Community
Marikina, Antipolo, & Rizal areas Barter Community
MBA (Manjuyod, Bindoy, Ayungon) Barter Community
Merville Barter Community
Metro Manila Barter Community (MMBC)
Moises Padilla Barter Community
Montalban Barter Community
Montalban Barter Community Official
Moscow Filipino Barter Society
Murcia Barter Community
Nasugbu-Lian Barter Community
Navotas Barter Community
Negros Barter Community
North Caloocan Barter Community
First Ormoc Barter Community
Oton Barter Community
Palo Barter Community
Paranaque Barter Society
Parang Marikina Barter Community
Pateros- Taguig Barter Community
Pontevedra Barter Community
Pulupandan Barter Community
Qatar Barter Community
Qatar Filipino Barter Community
Quezon City Barter Community
Quezon Province Official Barter Community
Rinconada Barter Community
Riyadh Barter Community
Rizal Barter Community
Roxas Barter Community
San Carlos City Barter Community
San Enrique Barter Community (Barteran sa Pueblo de Tinobagan)
San Jose Del Monte – Online Barter Community
San Jose del Monte City Barter Community
San Lorenzo South Sub. Barter
San Pedro Barter Community laguna
SantaBayaBas Barter Community
Silay City Barter Community
Silang Barter Community
Silaynon Barter Community and Abu Dhabi City Barter Community
Sipalay City Barter Community
Sixth District Negros Occidental Barter Community
Sogod Barter Community
Sta Rosa Laguna Barter Community
Sta. Cruz Barter Community (A province of Laguna)
Sum-ag Barter Community
Swap UP! Barter Community
Tacloban Barter Community
Tagum Barter Community (Official)
Tagum Barter Community
Tandag City Barter Community
Talisay Barter Community
Talisay Barter Community
Tampilisan Barter Community
Tayabas Barter community
Toboso Barter Community
Tubungan Barter Community
Tuguegaro Barter Community
Tunasan Barter Community
UPLB Barter Community
Valladolid Barter Community
Vallehermoso Barter Community
Victorias Barter Community
Xevera Bacolor Barter Community
Zambales Barter Community

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