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Papuan plea for Jakarta to open up region

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Yunus Wonda, the chairman of Papua’s parliament (DPRP) Yunus Wonda, the chairman of Papua’s parliament (DPRP) Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Johnny Blades

Papua, Jubi – Papua’s provincial government is frustrated over a lack of action by Indonesia’s central government to open up direct international flights to Papua.

Connecting the country more to the Pacific Islands region is a stated aim of the Indonesian government of Joko Widodo.

The aim was writ large at Indonesia’s landmark Pacific Exposition trade and culture event held in Auckland last month.

Indonesia’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Tantowi Yahya, described the event as “a platform to expand networking for all Pacific countries in various economic sectors, including tourism, trade, and investments”.

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But according to the provincial government of Papua, despite Jakarta’s talk about connecting Pacific peoples, West Papuans are more isolated than ever.

Indonesian restrictions on access to Papua region for foreign humanitarian agencies, researchers and media are well known. But getting in and out of the region is also difficult for West Papuans themselves.

It’s been decades since there were direct flights to Papua from neighbouring Papua New Guinea where West Papuans have many family and cultural links.

The chairman of the Papuan People’s Assembly, Yunus Wonda, said the provincial government had been requesting Jakarta’s help on this front for years — without success. It was, he suggested, a reflection of a lingering trust issue between the Indonesian state and West Papuans.

“So what the leaders of Papua would like to see is affirmative action from the central government to truly show the people of Papua that it would really like to open up this region to the rest of the world, particularly to the Pacific,” Mr Wonda said through a translator.

“It will also reflect on the trust that the people of Papua would have in the central government of Indonesia.”

Ambassador Yahya said there should be no impediment to international links to Papua, suggesting that the ball was not in central government’s court.

“Immigration and customs are now ready, security has no issue. We are now waiting for airlines to fly the new routes,” he said.

In 2017, PNG’s national carrier, Air Niugini, was looking at starting direct flights to Papua’s capital Jayapura. Ultimately, the idea was put on ice partly because the airline was discouraged by hurdles within the Indonesian system.

As it stands, if a West Papuan wishes to travel to neighbouring or regional countries such as PNG, Australia or New Zealand, they have the onerous mission of flying first to Bali in the opposite direction and then taking another set of flights to their destination. It may take them a whole day.

“It could much more simple having direct flights to these places,” Mr Wonda said.

He cited the example of Surabaya as a province within Indonesia which has benefitted from direct international flights links.

“But Papuan people in a way have been isolated from the rest of the world, and therefore the hope is in the coming years for Papua to be opened up to the rest of the world.”

Papua’s Governor Lukas Enembe has been outspoken about his desire to see the province connect more with Pacific island countries, particularly PNG, in the areas of culture, politics and trade, recognising the potential for building small to medium business links.

During a rare visit to the neighbouring Melanesian country last year, Mr Enembe and counterparts in several PNG provinces met and agreed on growing ties.

Leaders in Jayapura acknowledge that Jakarta pays lip service to forging links between Indonesia’s eastern region and Pacific countries but is extremely sensitive about anything that might highlight the self-determination aspirations of Papuans.

“We haven’t seen any real action,” Mr Wonda said, adding that, fundamentally, it would come down to whether Indonesia’s government trusts the people of Papua.

In the meantime, the Papua government is waiting to see if all the talk of connectivity at the Pacific Expo will truly fly. (*)

 

Source: RNZ Pacific

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A story of Ruth Dolly Pagawak, Papuan woman who recovered from Covid-19

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Ruth Dolly Pagawak. -Jubi/Hans

Manokwari, Jubi – Ruth Dolly Pagawak, twenty years old Papuan woman who declared negatives after two swab checks, could go home. She finally can meet her baby and the rest of her family on Saturday afternoon, 16 May 2020 after being quarantined at Papua Barat Provincial Hospital.

Along with Pagawak, other patients H. Abdullah Appe (62 years old) and La Marra (65 years old) were also declared has recovered from the Coronavirus. Papua Barat Governor Dominggus Mandacan officially take three of them out of the hospital.

While wearing a mask and holding her health certificate tightly, Pagawak told that her recovery is God’s blessing. “This is because of the grace of Lord Jesus that I was declared recovered of the Coronavirus,” said Pagawak holding a bucket of flowers by her doctors and nurses.

During her medical treatment at the hospital, Pagawak always listened to doctors and the medical team who treated her. She declared that listening to the government and medical staffs’ advice during the treatment is very important. By doing that, the body immune will stronger to combat the virus.

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“During my treatment, I routinely consumed vitamins and complied the doctors’ orders. I was also tried not being stressful because I believed that I would recover,” she said.

Since she was tested positive of Coronavirus in the mid of April, Pagawak has not experienced the most severe symptom. She claimed to only experience light symptoms such as cough and runny nose.

“I never experienced severe symptoms such as shortness of breath. I just had a cold and a mild cough.”

As the first Papuan woman who recovers from Coronavirus in Papua Barat, Pagawak advised people, in particular native Papuans, not to underestimate this virus. Still, they also do not need to overwhelm panic.

“The point is we must remain vigilant. Wear a mask, wash our hand routinely and get enough rest. We cannot avoid this virus because it is not visible. Therefore, we must follow all medical advice by the government, and never forget to pray and beg for mercy and recovery from God,” she said.

Pagawak told that she initially didn’t believe in her initial test confirming that she was Coronavirus positive because she was in the postpartum period. But with the support and permission of her husband, she finally agreed to take an initial medical treatment at Manokwari Hospital separately from her baby. She then continued to quarantine at Papua Barat Provincial Hospital since 1 May.

“I initially didn’t believe that I am Coronavirus positive. I just delivered my first child, who was six weeks at the time. So, when they took my baby and me from Warmare Subdistrict to Manokwari Hospital, we were treated separately,” she said.

This young mother also thanked the quarantine team of Papua Barat Provincial Hospital because of treating her and other patients sincerely and pouring them with encouragement and motivation.

“Personally, I thank the medical team, doctors and everybody who involved in Papua Barat Provincial Hospital. They are noble-hearted people because they treated us nicely. They are warm and always motivate us; therefore, we remain motivated to recover,” she said.

The information from the Covid-19 Task Force Papua Barat stated that Pagawak’s baby is currently undergoing treatment by a paediatrician at Manokwari Hospital. The baby, on the contrary, was declared negative since the initial examination and treated separately from the mother.
Meanwhile, Papua Barat Governor Dominggus Mandacan hopes that local community and neighbours of the recovered patients to accept them when they return to their family and neighbourhood.

“I hope people can accept them when they return to their family. Their recovery was also the hard work of the Papua Barat Provincial medical staff as well as our prayers,” said Mandacan at the Papua Barat Hospital on Saturday (16/5/2020). (*)

 

 

Reporter: Hans Kapisa

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Joyce Lin, a pilot of MAF crashed plane was also an IT specialist graduate from MIT

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Joyce Lin. – maf.org

Jayapura, Jubi – An aircraft operated by Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) was reportedly being crashed and drown in Lake Sentani on Tuesday (12/5/2020). Locals reported the incident after hearing an explosion. After two minutes take-off from Sentani Airport to Mamit, Tolikara Regency, the aircraft lost contact with the air traffic control tower.

Tolikara Regent Usman Wanimbo told Jubi that the crashed aircraft was possibly carrying books and stationeries for Yayasan Papua Harapan based in Mamit. President GIDI, the Rev. Dorman Wandikbo, also said the same thing.

“The aircraft was carrying school books and stationeries to Mamit,” said the Rev. Wandikbo by phone to Jubi. The pilot of the crashed plane later identified as Joyce Lin, a US citizen. Her body found at a depth of 13 meters in Lake Sentani.

Joyce, according to the Rev. Wandikbo, had just flown in Papua, although she had many experiences flying the small aircraft.

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The website maf.org acknowledges Joyce Lin as a pilot and IT specialist. As a pilot, she flew the aircraft to help people living in remote and isolated areas by providing medical evacuation service for saving a life. She also transported logistic supplies for community development, missionaries, teachers, and humanitarian workers to these remote locations. Meanwhile, as an IT specialist, Joyce work to set up and maintain the computer networks for missionaries and humanitarian workers to contact their communities and to access information on the Internet.

Joyce Lin grew up in Colorado and Maryland. She involved in a non-denomination local evangelist church service from a young age. At the age of eight, she showed her interest in everything linked with computers, mainly computer programming. Her interest in aviation also developed at an early age when her neighbouring pilot took her to the local air show.

She later took the computer science in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Engineering from the MIT. Because she had an interest in aviation, she also obtained a certificate of the private pilot while still in college.

After graduation, Joyce Lin worked as a computer specialist at a commercial company for ten years until obtaining a position of the Director of Engineering, while growing her enthusiasm towards seminary at the same time. She then registered as a student at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and graduated with a Master of Divinity. While studying theology there, she learned about the missionary flying service. It surprised her when knowing that there is a job that can combine her interest in computers, aviation and Christianity service at once. From there, she found a strong call to work as a missionary pilot. She had instrument certification and commercial flying certificate and experience working as a flight instructor to meet the requirement as a pilot for MAF. (*)

 

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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The body of crashed MAF aircraft found 13 meters below water

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Lake Sentani. -Ist

Jayapura, Jubi – Roberth Tunyanan from KNKT (the National Transportation Safety Committee) Papua said the body of a pilot killed in the crashed aircraft was found in Lake Sentani on Tuesday morning.

“I received the report stating the Rescue Team had found the body of MAF pilot flying the aircraft PK-MEC in Lake Sentani,” Tunyanan as quoted by Antara News Agency on Tuesday morning (12/5/2020).

The report also revealed that her body found at a depth of 13 meters trapped in the cockpit.

The website maf.org acknowledges Joyce Lin as a pilot and IT specialist. As a pilot, she flew the aircraft to help people living in remote and isolated areas by providing medical evacuation service for saving a life. She also transported logistic supplies for community development, missionaries, teachers, and humanitarian workers to these remote locations. Meanwhile, as an IT specialist, Joyce work to set up and maintain the computer networks for missionaries and humanitarian workers to contact their communities and to access information on the Internet.

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The aircraft controlled by Joyce Lin reportedly crashed around Lake Sentani that located between Jayapura Municipality and Jayapura Regency in Papua Province. The aeroplane took off at 6.27 a.m. local time and lost contact two minutes after take-off. (*)

 

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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