MANILA - Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on Tuesday clarified that only online business barter transactions are prohibited by law, while personal transactions are allowed.
"For personal transactions via barter, not as a regular business transaction, it is allowed and not covered by law," Lopez told ABS-CBN in an online message.
Earlier in the day, he said that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will go after individuals involved in online barter trade, encouraging online sellers to register with the department and with the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
The country's trade chief said that while barter trade is allowed in some parts of Mindanao like Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, it is against the law everywhere else in the country.
"Barter as a business is not allowed. Since there's no tax payment. And per EO (Executive Order) on barter, only 3 towns allowed barter. In Jolo, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. To improve livelihood there. There are even guidelines on this," Lopez said.
In barter trade, individuals directly exchange goods or services for other goods or services without using cash.
Lopez pointed out that consumers are better off buying from registered sellers because they can seek help from DTI in case the products they bought turn out to be defective.
According to a Malaysian-based information aggregator platform, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many Filipinos to embrace a cashless society.
Based on the study conducted by the iPrice Group, search volume for the term “barter” and “barter trade” surged by 407 and 203 percent respectively from April to May.