Jakarta, Jubi – For exactly four days scores of former PT Freeport Indonesia employees have been camped out opposite the State Palace in Central Jakarta. Sleeping under tents made from tarpaulin, the employees who were sacked by the Freeport gold-and-copper mine in 2017 are sleeping over with whatever equipment they have available.
One of the former employees, Jerry Yerangga, admitted that he had intentionally chosen to stay overnight opposite the Palace along with his colleagues so that they could meet with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
“We are calling in [his] promise because we have already met with a majority of senior state officials. We feel that we have not obtained justice because of being sacked by Freeport”, said Yerangga when speaking with CNN Indonesia on Saturday February 9.
Yerangga said that the dismissals began during the polemic over the divestment of Freeport shares to the Indonesian government prior to an agreement being reach in late 2018.
The former Freeport dump truck operator said that Freeport sacked around 8,300 employees. “They felt they had suffered financial losses because of problems over the share divestment with the government at the time”, he said.
Yerangga said that they have already held a number of actions in Papua however their protests have been opposed by security forces. In July last year he and his colleagues finally decided to take a ship to Jakarta to continue their protests.
In August 2018 Yerangga managed to meet with Chief of Presidential Staff Moeldoko to convey their complaints. At the time, Moeldoko pledged to immediately follow up on their complaints.
“But to this day there has been no clarity, the only parties which have been able to respond to our problem were the Ombudsman and Komnas HAM [National Human Rights Commission]”, said Yerangga.
In the end, Yerangga decided to camp out in tents in order to find a quick resolution to the problem. Over the last four days, he and 50 other colleagues have slept under tents.
They have been bathing at public toilets at the National Monument (Monas) in front of the State Palace. He is grateful because government officials and police have not prohibited the protest.
“We are grateful because here official have allowed [the protest]. We can freely convey our wishes here”, he said.
Yerangga hopes that the government will immediately follow up on their complaints although he does not know how long they will have to keep living under the tents.
“Until we get a response. Have pity on our children who can’t go to school, [or those] who have had to sell their homes to cover daily living costs”, said Yerangga.
Freeport spokesperson Riza Pratama said earlier that the thousands of former employees had been deemed to have resigned because they were absent from work.
“We followed procedures, summoned them. There as a total of around 3,500 [employees] who went on strike and failed to meet their obligations. Then, there were around 200 of them who obeyed our summons, the rest didn’t. So we deemed that they had resigned. In accordance with regulations, they were given one month’s wages [severance pay] which was transferred to their individual accounts”, said Pratama in March 2018.
The dispute with the employees however was not resolved there. It was only on December 21, 2017 that the company, the trade union and former employees, witnessed by related parties from the Ministry of Labour, were offered a new solution. (*)
Source: CNN Indonesia, translated by James Balowski, pmc.aut.ac.nz
Papua High Prosecutors Office investigates corruption allegation in Bank Papua
Jayapura, Friday – Papua High Prosecutors Office and Nabire District Prosecutors Office are currently investigating corruption allegation in Bank Papua Branch Paniai in Enarotali, the capital of Paniai Regency, Papua. This allegation associated with the prior case of loan distribution of IDR 281 billion for creditors.
This investigation was confirmed by the Assistant of Special Crime of the Papua High Prosecutors Office Alexander Sinuraya to Antara News Agency in Jayapura on Friday (31/1/2020).
“This case is currently under the investigation of Nabire District Prosecutors Office who in charge for Paniai Regency and prosecutors from Papua High Prosecutors Office will assist the investigation,” he said.
According to him, so far there is no suspect named in this allegation. “Hopefully the investigation becomes more in-depth shortly,” he said.
Separately, the Business Director of Bank Papua Sadar Sebayang admits the bad loan case of IDR 281 billion in Bank Papua.
“The case that happened in 2016 is currently under the investigation of Papua High Prosecutors Office,” Sebayang confirmed.
According to him, Bank Papua had penalised the employees involved in this case, including dismissal. Sebayang also said that non-performing loan creditors had paid their instalments up to IDR 185 billion including bank interest. However, he said Bank Papua is supportive of this legal conduct by these two prosecutors offices.
“BPD Papua fully supports the current legal process conducted by Papua High Prosecutors Office,” said Sebayang. (*)
Reporter: Aryo Wisanggeni G
Editor: Pipit Maizier
People not be provoked with rumours on Freeport’s operating area
Jayapura, Jubi – A provincial parliament member, the Rev. Nikolaus Degey, expects people of neighbouring regencies Mimika Regency in Papua Province, would not address rumours on Freeport’s operating areas seriously.
“Rumors say Freeport’s operating area has crossed the territory of other regencies. It’s not true. This issue is misleading,” confirmed the Rev. Degey to Jubi on Sunday (15/12/2019).
The operating area of PT Freeport Indonesia covers both mining and port areas, where located in Mimika Regencies. In 1972, Freeport started its ground mining exploitation which makes it the largest ground mining area in the world.
Along with advanced technology, Freeport shifted its operation into underground mining, in which activities are invisible from the public. This has raised speculations among people who believe the company’s operating area has crossed their regions.
“We appeal to people living in Puncak Jaya, Paniai and Intan Jaya to not being provoked. Because this rumour might harm people,” he said.
Also, he said if Freeport’s operating area has crossed the border of the three regencies it would impact on people’s lives. According to him, if the rumours are true, people in Puncak Jaya, Paniai and Intan Jaya might have a similar experience as people of Mimika Regency. Amungme and Kamoro tribes are indigenous tribes who are the most affected by mining activities of PT Freeport Indonesia.
“I think this would be happening upon them [if the operating area of PT Freeport has crossed the border of Mimika Regency],” he said.
Moreover, the Rev. Nikolaus Degey asked those who spread this rumour to stop provoking people in these three regencies. Instead, he encourages them to bring this issue to the court rather than circulating rumours that potentially harm ordinary people.
Meanwhile, the former provincial parliament member and the Chairman of Paniai Customary Council, John NR Gobai, the issue of Freeport’s mining area should be solved before talking about the provincial or regional area split in Papua. It is important to ensure that the establishment of new administrative areas would not raise conflict of interest to get a share of Freeport mining activities.
Gobai said the corporate, indigenous council and the government must sit together to solve this issue. The Government also need to guarantee the future of people.
“If I was questioned, I would say it’s better to solve the mining and land-tenure rights of people living around the company. [If] the company has done all this business in its mining area, they would go. People would never go, they will stay. So it needs a guarantee [for them]” said Gobai. (*)
Reporter: Benny Mawel
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Anticipating toxic spills in Papua New Guinea, DKP monitors fishermen’s catches at Hamadi fish landing
Jayapura, Jubi – The Office of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs (DKP) of Jayapura Municipality continues to monitor local fishermen’s catches at Hamadi fish landing following the toxic spills in Madang, Papua New Guinea. Municipal DKP took a few samples of fish to a laboratory for further research whether the incident would impact to the local catchment or fishing ground areas.
The Head of Jayapura Municipal DKP Martheys Sibi said by Monday, his office is still waiting for a clarification from the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime and Fisheries (KKP-RI). “But, based on our observations, so far [the condition of] Hamadi Fish Landing (PPI Hamadi) runs as usual. Fishing activities at the local fishing ground by local fishermen have not yet had a significant impact,” he told Jubi when asked for confirmation via WhatsApp on Monday (18/11/2018).
Sibi further said by Monday the local fishermen continue to bring their catches to sell in PPI Hamadi and such fishes look normal. “However, we will continue to monitor the impact of nickel waste (on fish and catchment areas) while waiting for a follow-up from KKP-RI in Jakarta,” said Sibi.
Moreover, he said the fish monitoring in PPI Hamadi would keep running while awaiting the result from the laboratory. “If there would be a complaint from fishermen (about their catches), such fish would be taken to the laboratory for testing. We have communicated with the Fish Quarantine and Quality Analysis Centre of KKP in Sentani, Papua, to examine a few samples of fish from fishermen,” he said.
Earlier, the sea waters in Basamuk, Madang, Papua New Guinea has reportedly been contaminated by waste spills from China-owned nickel mining company. A report published by Dr Alex Mojon said pollution from Chinese-owned Nickel Ramu has caused fish to die around Madang sea. (*)
Reporter: Sindung Sukoco
Editor: Pipit Maizier
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