1) Freeport Workers Urge Govt to Mediate Dispute after Mass Layoff
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Workers Union of Freeport Indonesia urge the government to mediate the dispute between the employees and the management. The workers have insisted this request after the massive layoff of 840 of Freeport's employees on May 15.
“Their actions are out of control. Freeport cannot just treat their employees irresponsibly,” said the secretary general of Freeport workers' union (SPF) Tri Puspita on Tuesday, May 16.
Tri suspects that the mass layoff is the company’s direct response following the workers’ strike since May 1. There were roughly 1,700 Freeport employees, which equates to 5.3 percent of the total 32,000 workers, who agreed to go on strike for a whole month.
SPF demands the cancellation of the layoff, putting an end to the intimidations received by SPF administrators, and rehire the employees that were either laid off or relocated. The workers requested a bipartite negotiation in order to discuss the collective labor agreement (PKB).
Tri explains that a bipartite negotiation has been held for a number of times without any positive results. “The bipartite negotiation has failed. We ask the government to not stay silent,” he said.
According to the SPF report, the workers’ strike affected the company’s activity. The production of Freeport's raw mineral dropped to just 60 percent since May 1, 2017. This happened after the company recently increased their production after they received a permit to export concentrates from the government.
This is not the first time Freeport issued a unilateral layoff. Early last year, they ended the contract of 309 out of 500 employees in PT Smelting Gresik, mostly owned by Freeport.
Yanto Gombo with his realist paintings in Indonesia Institute of Arts and Culture in Papua. The three paintings were offered by buyers from outside Papua –Jubi/ Agus Pabika.
Jayapura, Jubi – Paint is a hobby that people seldom have. Only those who have talent that can produce work that attracts many people and also high valuable economically.
Yanto Gombo, a student of ISBI (Indonesia Institute of Arts and Culture) in Papua, born in 1996, is able to create natural and original portrait paintings through various media, such as paper, canvas, bark, computer sketch, plywood, house wall or building.
Yanto’s painting talent has been flowing since his elementary school (SD).
“I painted since my primary school, usually when there is no teacher in our class, we have a drawing competition with friends, painted a picture of who has a good one, and that habbit in the class carried up to now,” Yanto said to Jubi in his campus in Jayapura (May 4).
Since he has known as a painter, Yanto often receive orders to paint in various places in Jayapura and Wamena.
“I was asked to paint at kindergarten in Sentani, hotels and churches, generally for paintings about 3 × 4 meters up to 4 × 4 meters wide, and it took maximum four months of work, depending on the size of the image and the quality of the image consumers want,” he said.
Thedi Pekei from Papuans Photo Community hopes that Papuan children who have skills and talents such as Yanto can be supported by the government by giving them space and opportunities to perform in various activities.
After Papuans photo community promotes Yanto Gombo, now new offers come from various regions in Indonesia. (*)
3) Dems endorse incumbent Papua Governor Lukas Enembe for reelection in 2018
Nethy Dharma Somba The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Wed, May 17, 2017| 11:45 pm
The Democratic Party is officially supporting incumbent Papua Governor Lukas Enembe to run for reelection in the upcoming elections in Papua, which will be held on June 27 next year alongside elections in other regions across Indonesia. The endorsement came during the party’s regional conference in Biak, Papua, on Tuesday.
Lukas is also set to continue in his position as chairman of the Democrat Party’s Papua regional board for the 2017-2022 period.
“We announce today [Tuesday] that we endorse Lukas Enembe to continue his leadership as governor for the 2018-2023 period,” the conference’s organizing committee head Thomas Ondi said in his remarks.
Around 500 participants from 29 local branches of the Democratic Party attended the conference.
Two Democratic Party central executive board executives, Muhammad Jafar Hapsa and retired general Edi Wibowo, deputy secretary-generals Rahlan Nashidik and Rifai Darus, and the party’s executive director Fajar Sampurno also attended the conference.
The Democratic Party has not yet announced Lukas’ running mate for the gubernatorial race.
The registration phase for the 2018 regional elections will start in August this year as stipulated by a General Elections Commission regulation. (mrc/ebf
4) Papuan Churches unite against Islamist radicalism
Christian leaders from the Guild of Papuan Churches have rallied against growing radicalism in Indonesia which they claim has penetrated the Christian-majority region. Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar of Jayapura led church leaders and more than 1,000 Christians in a peaceful protest on May 15. There must be a concerted effort to free Papua from radical groups, the Franciscan bishop said. "The presence of radical groups [in the province] has the potential to create conflict," he told AsiaNews, urging the government to disband groups such as the Islamic Defenders Front and Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia.
Papua has no record of sectarian violence but the presence of Hizbut Tahrir in the province has raised fears of conflict between Muslims, Christians and other religious groups. The central government is working to disband Hizbut Tahrir because it aims to establish an Islamic caliphate which is against Indonesia’s secular ideology.
Bishop Ladjar aloso expressed the worries of Christian leaders about Ja’far Umar Thalib, founder and former leader of Laskar Jihad — another radical group. Thalib was involved in sectarian conflict in Ambon in 1999-2002 where thousands were killed and, in 2016, his followers almost clashed with Christians in Muara Tami district, Papua. "We want the people aware of the presence of these groups in Papua before it’s too late," Bishop Ladjar said.
John Baransano of the Papuan Reformed Evangelical Church, agreed. He said Papuans must realize what is going on in Jakarta and other parts of Indonesia, especially the jailing of Christian politician Basuki Tjahaja Purnama also known as "Ahok". He said, "Ahok is a victim of sectarian tension orchestrated by radical groups." The former governor of Jakarta was sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy on May 9. Some allege the sentence was handed down due to pressure from radical groups.
However, some human rights activists criticized the Christian leaders for being concerned only about radicalism and ignoring ordinary Papuans who rights were being violated in their fight for independence. Father John Djonga, who advocates for the rights of Papuans, said the Christian leaders should have been more concerned about the human rights situation in Papua. Frederika Korain, a female activist, said, "Why don't the churches and bishop stage protests when Papuans are shot or killed?" Bishop Ladjar claimed the criticism was baseless, "because the church has never been silent on such issues … we just did not protest on the streets." Frist Ramdey, head of the human rights commission in Papua, defended Bishop Ladjar and the rally. "The church has worked hard. Human rights violations in Papua were exposed due to the efforts of Jayapura Diocese in the 1990s," Ramdey said.
About 65 percent of Papua's 3.2 million people are Protestant, 18 percent are Catholic, 15 percent Muslim and the rest are Hindu and Buddhists. (Source: UCAN)
Jayapura, Jubi – Jayapura Bishop, Mgr. Leo Laba Ladjar, OFM leads a thousand Christians under the Alliance of Papuan Churches (PGGP) to conduct a peaceful action, Monday (May 15) in the Office of Papuan People’s Legislative Assembly (DPRP) and Governor of Papua Office.
Three from eight demands of the action are support for Pancasila, NKRI and Bhineka Tunggal Ika and the dissolution of the reactionary organization such as Hizbuth Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Ichwanul Muslimin. They also asked for Ahok, Jakarta governor charged with blaspemy, to be released.
Criticism against the bishop
The day before the action was held, a number of activists, church leaders and youth who are also Catholics criticized the attitude of Bishop Leo and PGGP. They consider the bishop to see a distant problem but turn a blind eye to the reality before him. The bishop is seen as not taking sides with his people in Papua and reducing the struggle against discrimination and racism to the struggle of state ideology.
John Djonga, Pastor and human rights activist in Papua said the PGGP action led by the bishop only disappointed the Papuans. “If the action only to save the Unitary State of Indonesia Republic (NKRI) in Papua, so what about the victims of human rights violations?” said John Djongga.
Jayapura Bishop as chairman of PGGP was considered to keep silent about the social problems facing Papuans.
Catholic youth, Soleman Itlay said there are still many other things that the church must strive for, for example, education and health issues of Papuans.
“As a bishop, he never spoke when Papuan got cruel treatment from the security forces. As chairman of PGGP of Papua he never speak for defending people in Papua who had been experience state violence, including education and health issues of his people,” he said.
Bishop Leo after reading the statement stressed that churches participation to ‘save Indonesia and save Pancasila’ in order to fight radicalism that already exist in the land of Papua.
According to Bishop Leo, the demonstration was a mirror of consolidation against those who wanted to change the country ideology.
“Precisely at the moment there is a radical group in Papua, that is why we held a demo, to loud the voice. To make people aware the radicalism is in Papua. So the point is, we are not against the struggle of Papua Merdeka (Papua freedom). But we call attention again that we are almost endangered by radicalism,” Bishop Leo said.
Meanwhile, Yunika, a resident of Jayapura City who participated in the demo said her participation was moved by Ahok figure, which is free from corruption and a churchgoer.
“I like Ahok because he is a churchgoer and anti-corruption. Ahok did no wrong but imprisoned,” she said.(*
By Dikanaya Tarahita and Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat May 16, 2017
Indonesia’s infrastructure needs are not distributed equally across the archipelago.
As an archipelago consisting of 17,000 islands and a mountainous topography on its land, Indonesia has one of the world’s most challenging territories for any government to manage. Consequently, achieving equal infrastructure development across the nation is indeed a very difficult task.
Though budget constraints remain a major concern, the Indonesian president, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, and the country’s finance minister, Sri Mulyani, have expressed a firm commitment to infrastructure development. Indonesia has approved a Rp 4,700 trillion ($353 billion) budget to fund infrastructure development through 2019.
The chief executive of Capital Market Supervision with the Indonesia Financial Services Authority, Nurhaida, more specifically said that the funds needed to finance infrastructure development for 2017 alone amounted to Rp 1,000 trillion. However, Jakarta is only ready to disburse funds of Rp 387.2 trillion, or about 37 percent of the total cost.
This enormous number certainly cannot be funded only by the state budget. A financing distribution scheme needs to be carefully designed. Nurhaida expects 11 percent of the total cost would come from the contributions of local governments and 22 percent from state-owned enterprises (Badan Usaha Milik Negara), while the rest can be generated from the financial services sector, including banking and capital markets.
Funding is not the only issue in Indonesia’s infrastructure development. It is a fact that previous governments’ policies have not been aligned to bridge the development disparity gap between the western and eastern parts of Indonesia. In rural regions, remote areas, and the outer border of the country, development is scarce. Data collected by the Ministry of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration shows that no less than 52 percent of villages, as many as 39,000, in Indonesia are underprivileged, where the majority do not have access to electricity and telephone land lines.
Nonetheless, Jokowi has promised that the infrastructure development budget during his tenure will prioritize eastern Indonesia. The director general of Bina Marga from the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing allocated 60 percent from its Rp 42.14 trillion 2017 budget to advance infrastructure in Kalimantan, Bali, Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi, Maluku, and Papua. Another 6.12 trillion rupiah apportioned for road constructions will be centralized to construct the Indonesia-Malaysia border road in Kalimantan, to build the Trans-Papua road covering the Wamena-Hatem-Kenyam-Batas-Mamugu regions, and to widen the Manokwari-Maruni road.
Undeniably, this is a strategic move, considering that those regions rarely emerge as a priority in the government’s development agenda.
National economic growth is positively correlated with how firmly the government is committed to building infrastructure. The constructions of highways, bridges, piers, ports, and the like are crucial for establishing connectivity between regions.
Particularly in the transportation sector, infrastructure development has long-term effects for the country, especially in reducing logistical costs. Poor quality roads and the absence of other alternatives make it difficult for large and heavy vehicles transporting goods to reach the rural areas of Indonesia, which thus isolating them from equitable distributions of primary goods and agriculture products. This then results in the soaring price of basic commodities due to a lack of availability.
Those who live in small islands scattered across Maluku province face similar problems. The poor connectivity resulting from the absence of adequate dock facilities causes commodity prices to rise. Developing infrastructure in the border areas and the outer islands of Indonesia, many of which have little to no independent economic activity, is very important for the prosperity of the nation as a whole.
Given the current state of affairs, it should come as no surprise that 80 percent of the national economic growth is attributed to western Indonesia. Hopefully, the current infrastructure development projects being prioritized for eastern Indonesia can balance this uneven percentage in the future.
According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017, Indonesia ranks 60th overall out of 138 countries in infrastructure. More specifically, the ranking of its port and road quality is 75th. Obviously, this data shows a disappointing performance on the part of the government.
Accordingly, to support national development, Jakarta and the local authorities should immediately ink an agreement to boost infrastructure development in all parts of Indonesia. Development that drives citizens’ economic independence is particularly crucial.
Roads, bridges, and port infrastructure will not only advance the industrial front, but the tourism sector as well. Tourism should be strengthened to foster economic gains for Indonesia, given that it is a country blessed with a richness of flora and fauna, along with its natural tropical beauty. Infrastructure built to facilitate access to tourism areas, in the long term, can also become a gateway for potential investments to come in, creating entrepreneurial opportunities for the surrounding population and becoming a source of revenue for the local governments.
Importantly, though, development should not only be oriented to large-scale infrastructure projects, which not only require considerable funds but often can only be enjoyed by upper class citizens, who are not the real intended targets of such development programs. Equal and fair development means focusing on improving quality of life for the marginalized poor.
Rather than hundreds of kilometers of roads, people living in drought-stricken areas urgently need artesian wells drilled hundreds meters deep into the ground. They also needs the construction of sizable dams to both provide clean drinking water and supply a sufficient irrigation system for farmers. Other villages need bridges built to help children go to school safely and quickly without having to make a dangerous river crossing. Development should be directed to these sorts of projects as well.
When a fair development that prioritizes the marginalized citizens is the root, Indonesia can reap the fruits of the growing social and economic independence of its people, who will later become the foundations for Indonesia to prosper.
Dikanaya Tarahita and Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat are independent researchers focusing on social issues in Indonesia. Both are the founders of Sekolabilitas, an Indonesian-based NGO dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities access education.