President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an order reviving the ancient barter trade in Mindanao.
In Executive Order No. 64 signed Oct. 29, Duterte noted that the barter trade “continues to thrive and evolve as a living tradition until the present day.”
Doing business through the exchange of goods, as opposed to transactions using money, was a known mode of trade during pre-colonial times.
In his EO, Duterte ordered the creation of the Mindanao Barter Council (MBC), which shall supervise, coordinate, and harmonize policies, programs and activities on barter in southern Philippines.
The MBC shall facilitate the establishment of an enabling environment conducive to the growth and development of barter in Mindanao.
The council is also tasked to formulate and issue rules and regulations on the registration or accreditation of qualified traders authorized to engage in trade within barter ports to be established in Siasi and Jolo in Sulu, and Bongao in Tawi-Tawi. The creation of other ports in other areas shall be subject to the President’s approval.
It shall also issue competitive guidelines governing barter, including, but not limited to a mechanism for the valuation of barter goods, a list of allowable barter goods, and measures to prevent smuggling and circumvention of customs laws.
Meanwhile, products enjoying tariff protections and/or quantitative restrictions such as rice, corn, and sugar, as well as products requiring special import permits and/or subject to standard requirements, shall remain regulated.
National and local tax laws shall apply on all goods imported whose valuation exceeds P10,000.
The MBC will also review existing policies, rules, and regulations of government agencies that affect all aspects of barter, and submit recommendations to the President and Congress.
The MBC shall be an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry. The DTI secretary shall serve as the council’s chairperson, while the chairperson of the Mindanao Development Authority and the commissioner of the Bureau of Customs shall serve as its vice-chairpersons.
The MBC may call or invite representatives from among the major Muslim ethno-linguistic groups including the Tausug, Maguindanaoan, Maranaw, Yakan, and Sama to participate in its proceedings.