Papua, Jubi – Indonesia has been hit by at least two major floods during this current transitional period from the rainy to the dry season, as high precipitation still occurs in several regions.
Floods have been reported in the provinces of West Java, East Java, Lampung, East Nusa Tenggara, South Sumatra, and Papua, among others. But East Java and Papua have been the worst hit by major flooding over the last several weeks.
In East Java, on March 5, 2019, floods triggered by heavy rains and the overflowing of several rivers, had inundated 15 districts and displaced nearly 12.5 thousand people, mostly in Madiun. Despite the widespread inundation, there were no reports of casualties.
In Papua, however, deadly flooding devastated Sentani and several other sub-districts in Jayapura District, and killed at least 112 people and rendered 94 others missing on March 16, 2019.
The natural disasters caused serious injuries to 107 people and minor injuries to 808 others.
A total of 374 homes, four bridges, five places of worship, eight school buildings, 104 home-cum-shops, and a traditional market were damaged. Furthermore, the natural disasters led to the displacement of 11,556 people.
The Papua provincial government has declared an emergency response period from March 16 to 29, 2019.
The Government has deployed a joint team comprising military and police personnel, among others, to continue search and rescue operations for the victims of the floods in Jayapura. Tens of NGOs have also volunteered in helping the rescue operations.
“Since yesterday evening, our volunteers have helped carry out evacuation, assessment and mud clearance in Sentani,” ACT coordinator Kusmayadi said in a statement, one day after the disaster occurred.
They also distributed some 1,000 packets of cooked food for the flood victims, and set up an ACT humanitarian command post and a public kitchen in Sentani.
As 94 people were still missing one week after the flooding, the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) held a coordination meeting to discuss efforts to expedite the handling of the impact of the flooding in the country’s eastern most province.
“This meeting aims to discuss and identify various issues concerning efforts to speed up handling and support for the rescue operations by the PMI during the emergency response period,” Sunarbowo Sandi, head of the PMI Headquarters, noted on March 23, 2019.
Arifin M. Hadi, head of the Disaster Mitigation Division of the PMI, remarked that the Red Cross had optimized services and endeavors during the rescue operations following the emergency response status.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the central and local PMI officers and the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Meanwhile, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the Natural Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), noted in a statement in Jakarta on March 22 that the flooding was triggered by deforestation in the Cycloops area.
“Incessant heavy rains in the Cycloops mountainous area, whose condition had degraded, caused flash floods in Jayapura District and the surrounding areas,” he noted.
The local government in Papua has planned to relocate residents living in the Cycloop nature reserve area in a bid to avoid future flash floods.
Papua’s Governor Lukas Enembe had earlier stated that the residents affected by the natural disasters would be moved to Wamena, Jayapura.
“This plan had been approved by President Joko Widodo. We just have to determine the proper location,” he noted in Jayapura on Thursday.
According to the governor, Papua’s government will discuss building public service facilities, such as hospitals, schools, and housing for the resettled residents.
“This type of disaster has been repeatedly occurring over a period of time, so the residents must be relocated,” he added.
The Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry in Jakarta, on March 19, however, denied that the disaster was caused by deforestation.
There was no illegal logging activity in the Sentani areas, according to IB Putera Parthama, the ministry’s Director General for River Basin Management.
There were no logs floating or swept away by flood waters in the area, he added.
“Branches and roots of the floating trees were intact. It shows that the trees were not a result of the illegal logging activity (suspected of having) caused the flash floods,” he told the press.
Sentani located in the Cycloop mountainous area is prone to flash floods and landslides during heavy rain because the area has a steep slope and an unstable river basin, he said, adding that the flooding was triggered by heavy rains that went on incessantly for six hours.
The forest conversion in Sentani was also not significant, as it covered a total area of 495.47 hectares or 3.3 percent during the 2012-2017 period.
“From 2012 to 2017, the forest area converted into non-forest area reached only 3.3 percent. So, it’s not strong enough to associate the disaster with the forest conversion,” he said.
According to the 2018 data, the forest coverage in the river basin area in Sentani was around 55 percent, meaning it was good enough.
The ministry, however, has sent a task force to investigate the cause of the flash floods, he remarked.
The task force is headed by M Saparis Sudaryanto, the ministry’s Director on Planning and Evaluation of River Basin Management
It will collect data and facts about the floods and landslides in Papua to study them for future solutions.
“I will collect facts as accurately as possible,” Sudaryanto said.
The ministry has also set up an information command post to update information on the flooding situation in Sentani.
Indonesia is prone to geological and hydrometeorological disasters. Last year, during the period from January to mid-December, of the 2,427 natural disasters had hit the tropical country, 2,350, or 96.9 percent, were hydrometeorological in nature, such as floods, landslides, and whirlwinds. (*)
CSOs decline logging company in Wondama
Jayapura, Jubi – Some Papua’s CSOs namely LP3BH Manokwari, YALI Papua, Yayasan Pusaka and Pemuda Suku Mairasi urge the Minister of Environment and Foresty to review the operation permit of a logging company PT Kurniatama Sejahtera (KTS) in Mairasi area.
The Mairasi tribal communities from Undurara, Wosimo and Inyora villages sent a statement letter stated on 12 May 2019 to oppose PT KTS to operate in Mairasi.
“People feel uneasy and disturbed due to the presence of the company and the military. It creates unsecured, disharmony and has no guarantee of providing economic benefit to the community,” Agust Veth from Pemuda Suku Mairasi told Jubi by phone on Sunday, 9 June 2019 in Jayapura.
According to Veth, people have not forgotten the incident of Bloody Wasior (2001) that allegedly triggered by logging activity from the timber company Darma Mukti Persana. Further, he said the human rights violation case in Wasior has not settled since then.
“Now, the military along with some public leaders represent the LMA (Customary Council) who facilitate the meeting on ‘Social Communication’ allegedly want to intimidate and force the local community to approve the logging company to operate in Mairasi. However, the local community continue to decline the company and refuse to attend the meeting.”
Mairasi people have objected the timber activity of KTS since 2012, while in 2013, a military culprit based in KTS logging area in Sorong allegedly tortured three residents from Sararti and Ambuni villages. The incident then reported to the local government, the People’s Assembly of Papua Barat and the Minister of Forestry. No action towards both perpetrator and the company has yet taken.
“Some reports revealed that PT KTS had some internal and financial issues. The company cannot pay the IUPHHK-HA (licence for utilization of timber in natural forest) and has a deficit (source: www.nasional.kontan.co.id, 2010; PT. Inti Multima Sertifikasi, 2015),” added Vest.
The logging company PT Kurniatama Sejahtera obtained the IUPHHK-HA from the Minister of Forestry (now the Minister of Environment and Forestry) Nomor SK.648/Menhut-II/2009 on 15 October 2009 to permit it to operate in a concession area of 115.800 hectares located in Teluk Wondama Regency. PT KSP is a subsidiary company of Artha Graha Group operating in Teluk Wondama Regency.
Concerning the permit, the civil society organisations ask the Minister of Environment and Forestry to evaluate the permit of PT KSP and give penalties for their negligence.
“We also ask the Military Commander of XVIII Kasuari to urge the Military District Command Sector Wasior and other local military authorities to stop using the military approach and intimidation towards the local community and backing up the interest of PT KTS.”
“They should prioritise respect, protection and fulfilment on human rights and environment, especially the basic rights of Mairasi Tribe. Most importantly, they must prevent the reoccurrence of the same conflict. Therefore, the law enforcement and legal protection of Mairasi Tribe are in need.”
However, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Military Command of Kasuari and PT KTS have not confirmed this information. On the other hand, Konstan Natama, the Acting Sub-district Chief of Naikere, Teluk Wondama Regency told Antara on 18 January 2018 that he was concerned about the massive logging activity by PT KTS clearing out the ironwood trees in Naikere.
Meanwhile, Franky Sanperante from Yayasan Pusaka said another subsidiary company of Artha Graha Network is PT Papua Satya Kencana with IUPHHK-HA license No SK.647/Menhut-II/2009. It has a concession area of 195.420 hectares located in Teluk Bintuni Regency.
“Combined, the total concession of the two companies is about 79% of the total area of Teluk Wondama Regency (3,960 Km2) or fivefold of the area of Jakarta,” said Frangky.
In the report published by Research and Development Centre of Department of Health of the Republic Indonesia “Merindukan Hidup Sehat Orama Etnik Mairasi Kabupaten Teluk Bintuni, 2014”, it mentioned that trees with a diameter of one meter such as ironwood and mahogany found in that area.
In Naikere, PT KTS has cleared out the trees since 1990 and stopped the operation at the time of Wasior incident (2001). Timber trucks carried one or two logs of wood with a diameter of one or two meters three or four times a day at that time. (*)
Reporter: Timoteus Marten
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Jayapura District Court seized PT. PRP assets
Jayapura, Jubi – Jayapura District Court 1A orders the confiscation of assets belonging to PT Percetakan Rakyat Papua (PRP-Papua Printing Company) to pay severance of its former employees that amounted Rp 1 billion. This order is made based on Decree No. 10/Pdr.Sus/PHI/2017/PNJAP on the industrial relations issued on 21 February 2018.
A bailiff from Jayapura District Court Frederik Padalingan said the court had won the plaintiff who demanded their unpaid compensation after being unilaterally fired by the company. “So today we execute the confiscation of the company’s assets,” said Padalingan on Tuesday (21/5/2019) in Jayapura.
In the verdict, the defendant (PT. PRP) was ordered to pay compensation to each plaintiff including severance, service payment, 19 months unpaid salary, deviation of salary payment deficiency, transportation and meal allowance which reach more than Rp 1 billion in total. Defendant also charged Rp 421 thousand with all costs incurred in this case.
Therefore, based on a letter issued 2 April 2019, the court has conveyed the assets of the company consisting of a unit of Heidelberg 102-2P printing press, a unit of SM 102-P Heidelberg printing press, and a unit 52-4 4P Heidelberg printing machine to be seized.
“Because the verdict order the defendant to pay a sum of money and in reality the defendant cannot afford it, so the court seize their assets for the auction. However, if the defendant still does not pay its obligation, there will be going to the execution stage. “We cannot confirm when this process will be held, because we have to pass the early process,” he said.
Moreover, Padalingan added that ten former employers who demanded their rights are Nelce Mayasari Wanma, Elisa D. Regoy, Putri Anitasentri, Ahmad Ariyanto, Haris Adrdiansyah, Sugianto, Luis Loiker Worembai, Samson Pahabol, Yohana Diana Dimara, and Abdul Regards.
Separately, the Acting Director of PT. PRP Yustinus Saraun that this state-owned printing company in Papua is currently experiencing bankruptcy as the excess of mismanaged by old management that caused all employees asked for their unpaid compensation.
To respond to this situation, PT. Irian Bhakti Mandiri (IBM) as the leading company assisted PT. PRP to pay the salaries of its employees from April to September 2016. However, due to no printing order, the company cannot run well, but they cannot fire the employees immediately because it should be executed through an official decree.
“I am now only an acting director, so I do not have an authority to dismiss the workers. So everything works as it is today,” said Saraun.
However, both Saraun and PT. IBM will sit together to discuss a solution concerning the late payment of employees’ salaries as ordered by the District Court.
“We are working on this. Hopefully, we can solve this problem with the governor. We have even submitted a letter to the governor,” he said.
“The point is we want to save the assets because they belong to the regional government, not the company,” he said. Moreover, he said it is not only ten employees that have not received their salaries, but there are still around 20 who had similar experiences.
“This is what we are trying to accomplish — hopefully, PT. PRP can be active like it was in the past and cooperate with PT. Peruri,” he said. (*)
Reporter: Alexander Loen
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Indonesia loses Pacific asset in Franzalbert Joku
Papua, Jubi – Indonesia has lost a significant asset from in its Pacific diplomacy efforts with the recent passing of the West Papuan, Franzalbert Joku.
The prominent Sentani landowner was the international spokesman for the Papua Presidium Council which galvanised momentum in the independence struggle at the turn of the century.
But in his last decade, Mr Joku strongly advocated autonomy for Papua within Indonesia rather than independence. He often represented Indonesia at regional meetings of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Islands Forum.
Mr Joku, who died at the age of 66 late last month in Jayapura, had fled from Indonesian rule in his homeland as a youth with his family in the early 1970s. For around three decades he lived in various parts of Papua New Guinea where Mr Joku worked as a journalist and a PNG government advisor who developed extensive links in the Pacific.
An expert in Indonesian history and politics, Richard Chauvel of the University of Melbourne, says Mr Joku’s career in PNG was significant.
“His great utility both in the early 2000s (for the Papua Presidium) and post 2007/8 for the Indonesian government has been his intimate knowledge of Papua New Guinea politics, through his role as a journalist and then as a political advisor or spokesman for (former PNG PM) Julius Chan and other senior PNG politicians,” Dr Chauvel said.
“I think it’s that knowledge of local PNG politics, and through networks into the Pacific, that made him such a formidable figure, both initially for the Presidium, in the lobbying of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Islands Forum, and then subsequently for doing much the same thing, utilising the same skills and knowledge for the Indonesian government,” he explained.
As an effective envoy for Jakarta, Mr Joku had a forthright approach to his diplomacy, as evidenced last year by his instrumental role in pressing the Solomon Islands government to mollify its support for West Papuan self-determination aspirations:
Occupying both extremes of the Papuan political spectrum over time made Franzalbert Joku a polarising figure in the eyes of West Papuans.
“The way he executed those positions was remarkably the same – with great commitment, very articulate, he was obviously a bright guy… you could never accuse him of being nuanced,” Dr Chauvel said.
Dr Chauvel first met Franzalbert Joku when he was lobbying for the Presidium, the organisation which energised the independence struggle as democatic space opened up briefly in post-Suharto Indonesia around the time of the Papua People’s Congress in 2000 in Jayapura.
“He was just as vigorous and forthright in his advocacy of that position as he later became from 2007/8 onwards when he’d clearly joined the other side,” he said.
Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has a number of officials who have led delegations to MSG and Pacific Forum meetings over the past decade.
“They have acquired some of that background knowledge, but I don’t think that they can speak to their counterparts in Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands and PNG from the same position as Franzalbert could, as a Pacific Islander,” Dr Chauvel said. (*)
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