Papua’s development not only about infrastructure: JDP leader
Nethy Dharma Somba The Jakarta Post
Jayapura, Papua | Thu, August 24, 2017 | 02:50 pm
All smiles: President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo (left) greets Indonesian Scout Movement (Pramuka) members from Papua on the sidelines of the 11th Pramuka National Meeting, known as Raimuna, in Cibubur, East Jakarta, on Aug.11. (Antara/Olha Mulalinda)
Prioritizing only infrastructure will not be enough in developing Papua and must be balanced with the empowerment of its human resources, a Papuan community leader has said.
Papua Peace Network (JDP) coordinator and Catholic priest Neles Tebay said that without skilled human resources, the Papuan people would only become “spectators” of various economic achievements happening in their own home.
“We appreciate the infrastructure development initiated by the President [Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo]. We also feel he has given a lot of attention to Papua. It is only President Jokowi who has visited Papua twice a year, something that was never done by our previous presidents,” Neles said in Jayapura meeting with Jokowi along with 12 other Papuan leaders.
Neles said infrastructure development had connected several areas that had long been isolated, making it much easier for residents to carry out their daily activities and visit each other.
The improved connectivity has also attracted visitors to Papua, filling job opportunities available in the region as they have more skills and expertise.
“In some areas, locals can only watch economic activities happening in [other] villages, because they don’t have access to ongoing development or cannot get involved because they don’t have skills. They are alienated from activities in their kampung,” Neles said.
“If this continues, the government’s efforts to develop Papua will be fruitless […] This is what President Jokowi must pay attention to,” he added. (ebf)