Ong, Siao laud barter EO

A barter store in Zamboanga City (GMA dela Cruz image)

Two congressmen hailed President Rodrigo Duterte for formalizing barter trade in Mindanao with the creation of the Mindanao Barter Council (MBC) through Executive Order (EO) 64.

Iligan City Rep. Frederick Siao said the resurgence of the barter trade will bring economic and social gains for his constituents and neighbors in northern and western Mindanao.

But the member of the House Committee on Economic Affairs advised the MBC to ban the trade in illegal drugs, explosives, armaments, ammunition, and any other contraband goods.

“There must be strictest import inspection systems and procedures. Never must the Mindanao Barter Council barter trade system be used by smugglers and terrorists,” he said.

He added, “Valuation of rice traded via barter must incorporate the valuation of the rice tariffs of the national government. Mindanao barter rules must not be used to circumvent the national law of rice tariffs.”

Meanwhile, Leyte 2nd District Rep. Henry Ong said that coupled with the institutional strengths of Islamic finance, Mindanao barter can flourish well and more so when Islamic banks of Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and even from the Middle East set up shop in the country.

Ong believes that upgrading and expanding Islamic banking and finance will help stimulate economic growth in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, as well as in Filipino-Muslim communities in Metro Manila and other urban areas nationwide.

Ong is the author of House Bill 8281 which empowers the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to authorize the establishment of Islamic banks and allow the entry of foreign Islamic banks.

He said the law will give Arab investors and bankers more reasons to participate in the growth of our economy.

p: wjg