ZAMBOANGA CITY: President Rodrigo Duterte made good his promise to Muslims in southern Philippines to revive barter trading with Malaysia, particularly in the Sulu Archipelago, to revive a tradition and help the local economy.
Duterte sent Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to Sulu where he met with provincial leaders led by Gov. Toto Tan and representatives of various sectors to discuss the revival of the barter trade which had flourished for many centuries in the past.
Faeldon said Duterte instructed him togo to Zamboanga and discuss the barter trade with Malaysia and neighboring countries as well such as Indonesia.
“If they unite, I will restore the barter trade in Sulu. There was no problem in the former barter trade,” Faeldon quoted Duterte.
Tan also shared his memories with Faeldon during the meeting saying “during the glory days of trading with Malaysia, there was no outbreak of violence unlike now because everybody was busy with making a living and simply plying their trade. The only thing you needed during those times was simply your credibility as a trader and trust,” he said.
Faeldon assured them the government is sincere in helping not only the local economy and reviving the old barter tradition, but also to ensure that people, especially the poor, will benefit. “The administration of President Duterte does not dictate what you are supposed to do, instead you will tell us what to do and that is why we are here. You are the experts in this kind of business,” he said.
Tan said they will immediately prepare the papers to revive the barter trade as he lauded Duterte for his sincerity and pledges to the people of Sulu.
Faeldon, a former Marine officer, said he once served in Kalinggalan Caluang, Sulu, and reminisced on the years when barter trading was still the main livelihood of the locals.
“I really missed the Batik shirts from Indonesia and the chocolate-coated candies, the BATA sandal, Maling luncheon meat, processed canned goods that I used to buy in barter trade centers for pasalubong (present) every time I go home for rest and recreation,” Faeldon said.