COMMENTARY: Erlowism: Barter Mania
MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/27 May 2020) On May 24, 2020, the Malaybalay Barter Community group was launched on Facebook. Immediately we have seen the phenomenal inclusive impact of the system. The blanket response of the community down to the household level is amazing: bringing food to the table, providing even the personal needs of the kids such as diaper and milk.
This is a very effective contingency strategy in this difficult time where economic activity and income opportunities of everybody has been affected due to the community quarantine.
Since we can’t rely only on the relief assistance of the government, we need to earn even at home or at least have access to the basic needs for us to survive the day.
This is one classic example of the “New Normal” that we keep hearing about but I doubt if it is clearly understood.
It is an approach that will allow us to survive in this new situation and not become dependent and at the same time helpless. It is now the new “environment” we’re in. It is our response and attitude towards the “new normal” to survive responsibly and move forward safely and productively.
Again, I could say, that in the very short time of its revival locally, the barter system has been successful in achieving its purpose to facilitate trading without need for money and help our community, as it did before.
However, despite initial success, the local government unit (LGU) must get involved, initiate support and regulate this initiative. This is to sustainably institutionalize barter’s benefits, which extended not only to the community but also to the LGU concerned.
Since the on-line portal is already there, people just adapted the system. People see that bartering is effective and can be very helpful not only during but even until this catastrophe is over. We just have to ensure that health protocols (social Distancing, wearing masks/face cover and staying at home) will be strictly observed.
Thus, may be the LGU can look into the delivery aspect to prevent or at least minimized going out of barter traders.
May be the LGU consider providing a vehicle or rented motorela (local motorcab)at Php 350.oo per day Php 10,500.oo a month. This for me is fair enough than providing Relief Packages, which cost around Php 700.oo per pack and will only last for a week or two.
From there, the LGU could also further consider the possibility of replicating this to the remote barangays so that they could also enjoy the benefit of it, while we are still trying to figure out what concrete local economy recovery strategy we can come up with.
Finally, I should say, the bridge is already there in our front-yard, let’s not procrastinate in grabbing this promising opportunity. Others are already testing the water underneath.
P.S. Kudos to the Concept Creator of the group, you're indeed heaven-sent!
(Erlow Talatala is a former Microfinance Executive and Marketing Consultant. Erlowism is his column for BukidnonNews.net.)
Note: The Author obtained consent from the mother and the child who appeared in the photo.