PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has issued an executive order (EO) regulating the barter trade in Mindanao, in part to “strengthen trade and commerce between and among the member states of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).”
Signed on Oct. 29, Executive Order No. 64 noted that the ancient commercial practice in Mindanao “continues to thrive and evolve as living tradition until the present day.”
The President’s order also said the decision to regulate barter is “consistent” with the administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda because it “will not only create jobs and business opportunities, but also strengthen trade and commerce between and among the member states of the BIMP-EAGA.”
To implement the order, the Mindanao Barter Council (MBC) is “established to supervise, coordinate, and harmonize policies, programs and activities on barter” in Mindanao.
The agency, the EO said, “shall be attached to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for policy and program coordination,” and the DTI’s secretary shall chair the MBC.
Meanwhile, the heads of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and Bureau of Customs (BoC) will serve as vice-chairs. Members will include representatives from the Departments of Finance (DoF), Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Agriculture (DA), of a rank not lower than assistant secretary. Also represented are the DTI- Muslim Mindanao, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
The MBC’s principal office will be established in Jolo, Sulu “as may be necessary and practicable.”
The order designates barter ports for the entry of goods intended for barter including the ports of Siasi and Jolo in Sulu, and Bongao in Tawi-Tawi.
“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 to be regulated by applicable laws, rules, and regulations,” it added.
The EO noted as well that national and local tax laws are applicable to “all goods imported under this order whose valuation, as determined by appropriate authorities, exceed the de minimis value of P10,000, or in such threshold amount as may be adjusted by the Secretary of Finance.” — Arjay L. Balinbin