WITH the revival of the Barter Trade System in Mindanao, the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) is pushing for more locally-made value-added products in the barter market.
“Local products with value added means they are processed and produced with better quality. If this is done this way, more processing means more jobs and value adding yields higher revenue,” assistant secretary Romeo Montenegro, Minda deputy executive director, said in a text message to SunStar Davao on May 13.
“We’ve been just sending fresh products, with no value adding and processing across our neighboring border areas. One product for instance is seaweeds that are sold dried by our seaweed farmers. If these are processed then it can fetch higher prices,” he added.
Montenegro said products in barter areas are produced by small players and if provided with policy framework under barter trade system where they can scale up and expand production.
“[This system] accords opportunity to our border areas to be able to have cheaper supply of basic commodities. Case in point, if you live in Tawi-Tawi, you are forced to buy from toothpaste to rice in Zamboanga, it would be three times more expensive because of the distance,” Montenegro said.
Presently, he said they are now working closely with various government agencies to initially establish an office and mechanisms on valuation of goods.
“In terms of moving towards the implementation of the executive order which created the barter trade office, Minda is now working closely with involved agencies. We have been working out mechanisms by which to implement the EO standing with the establishment of barter trade office initially in Tawi-tawi,” he said.
“In working out mechanisms with the Bureau of Customs on what goods are allowed entry under the barter trade set-up and what rate or duties determination that needs to be assessed if ever, kasi we expect zero tariff kasi Asean goods naman ‘yan,” he added.
Minda just had an on the ground assessment by conducting coordination in Tawi-Tawi and Jolo last two weeks ago so they target on coming up with recommendations in terms of how much budget is needed to establish the barter trade office.
“We need to also deploy people to man the specific barter trade office and for specific rules to be in place so that guided ‘yung mga barter participants and be guided with a clear policy framework on barter trade to do it more productively,” Montenegro said.
The targets of barter trade revived by President Rodrigo Duterte are small players to promote more economic activities and development in the region. (LHC)