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Trade in kind(ness)

By Tara Yap

As Filipinos continue to feel the socio-economic impact of quarantine measures against the coronavirus, an online barter community in Iloilo has inspired kindness among Filipinos across the archipelago and abroad.

“We are more than just a community for bartering. We bring out what is innate in each one of us—kindness is very important, especially during this time of crisis,” says Charity Delmo, co-founder of the Iloilo Barter Community (IBaCo), a Facebook group that has almost 65,000 members and growing.

Charity and IBaCo co-founder Hector Angeles have a simple rule for the cashless transaction: Post an item or items and wait for other members to post their counteroffers via comments. It means private messaging is not allowed unless the two people are arranging to meet personally after reaching a deal.

We bring out what is innate in each one of us—kindness is very important, especially during this time of crisis.

Items up for barter include clothes, shoes, bags, cameras, TV, bikes, guitars, laptops, books, toys, plants, art works, fruits, vegetables, food, rice, baby’s milk, dog food, and other necessities.

Social entrepreneur Janvie Amido traded a digital camera he doesn’t use anymore for rice, coolers and home d├ęcor.

Even TV reporter Joyce Ann Clavecillas of ABS-CBN Iloilo traded an unused smart watch for items intended for her kids with fellow reporter Zeny Grace Quilantang of GMA Iloilo.

But it was Jona Baroquillo who up the ante when she traded a car for 250 sacks of rice for her family’s consumption while giving away portion of it to others.

PASS IT ON Ilonggos are making successful barter deals via the Iloilo Barter Community (IBaCo) group on Facebook

PASS IT ON Ilonggos are making successful barter deals via the Iloilo Barter Community (IBaCo) group on Facebook

Charity tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle that some members are bartering items without too much emphasis on the monetary value, but the practical value it can serve to the other person.

For instance, Carla Traifalgar Ramales was surprised when she got several packs of adult diapers for her bed-ridden father. She was only able to barter a tote bag to Estherwell Portigo-Uy.

“Our online community has become a platform for people to help others. Some are trading more than what they agreed to barter,” Charity points out.

Another member also tried to barter a plot of land located just outside the Iloilo Airport, but lawyers advised Charity and Hector not to allow it as it entails processing the land title and other legalities.

IBaCo has also become an avenue for light-hearted conversations among Ilonggos as they continue to adjust to the so-called “new normal” while others are hoping they can find their significant other in the online group.

“But of course, we remind our members to be cautious and not cross the line. Some of them are married,” Charity adds.

Charity is also quick to clarify that she and Hector did not start the online bartering, but it is the Iloilo-based online community that has grown by leaps and bounds. IBaCo now has more than 20 affiliate groups in other parts of the country and even among Filipino communities abroad including those in Australia, Italy, Canada, and Saudi Arabia.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/06/02/trade-in-kindness/)

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