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Filipino couple in Dubai launches bartering Facebook group to trade for essential needs

Filipinos have continued to exhibit the spirit of Bayanihan by helping out each other and this time – a Filipino couple in Dubai has launched a unique Facebook group that engages in barters and trades to get essential items and other goods.
Lou Olvido Parroco, together with her husband Cesar, has launched the Amicable Barter Community in Dubai (ABCD) to help residents who might find items to barter without the need to spend a single dirham. Parroco, however, did not anticipate that there would be as much as 10,000 members who have joined their group in just a span of five days since their launch.

“In tough times like now, this is a place where one may find items he or she needs without spending his or her precious cash. This community was established as a Facebook group page and all bartering transactions are done transparently on this page. Currently, this on-line page is being Administered by my husband and I, and our good friends, Ji Jarder and Lynne Dela Rosa are helping us as the Moderators,” said Parroco who furthered that the group at present is the ‘sequel’ from her Facebook live last April where she traded branded items such as her Louis Vuitton bags, 1 limited edition Burberry bag, Van Cleef & Arpels to send sacks of rice for families back home in the Philippines who were affected by the lockdown.

“We pushed the ‘sequel’ through because we know that it will help many people particularly in this current situation where many people have suddenly lost their jobs.  To some, this may just be another on-line platform to make value of items they sieved from decluttering, but to others, especially to those who are financially tight after losing a job, this can be a channel where they can fetch rice or grocery items to feed their family by bartering any item they already have.  Through this platform, people can get help for their necessities without losing their sense of dignity because they do not need to beg, they just have to barter,” said Parroco.
Essential needs required
Parroco noted that it’s mostly groceries and food items that are needed by members of their online group, revealing that some people have even taken the extra step to trade in their personal items for groceries in order to give the goods they received for those who need it most.

“Some of the interesting deals we saw were old books that were traded to bath soap and shampoo, indoor plants bartered with 2 kilos of glutinous rice, a bed for a baby’s formula milk, a Louis Vuitton iPad cover for two packs of grocery items to also be donated to people who lost their jobs, an OSMO  gimbal to 15 cans of canned SPAM, a hand held dustbuster to toothpaste, etc. The most common items being requested by the members to barter their goods to are rice, detergent powder, baby formula milk, indoor plants and canned goods especially SPAM ” said Parroco.

However, she also noted that the group also restricts trades of particular items such as pets for instance.
“There were those who tried to barter their pets like cats or hamsters with grocery items. However we decline those. We do not consider pets as ‘items’. They are living things and we do not find it a kind act to be bartering pets,” said Parroco.
Give and receive
Parroco shares that as a fellow OFW in Dubai, she knows that it’s easy to accumulate items over the years which are left unused by many OFWs. This is why it makes perfect sense to trade in these items for more essential needs at the moment.

“Knowing how easy it is in the UAE to buy and accumulate things that are beyond peoples’ needs due to the minimal tax and frequent sale promotions, we are sure that people will find many items that are not being used and are just taking spaces in their homes,” said Parroco.

She also shares that a unique code of conduct that the ABCD group shares among all members is for individuals to think about the value of the item they need rather than thinking about the price of the item: “In this barter community, we encourage our members to be kind in their dealings, for them to ‘focus on value – not price’.   In ABCD, we would like our members to acknowledge that a fair trade does not need to be between items of equal price. We would like to see ABCD as one cohesive community, having fun bartering while committing to follow our guiding rules and respecting the needs & circumstances expressed by others on their posts, regardless of nationality, gender, religion and social status.” said Parroco.

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