Selasa, 19 Februari 2019

PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE LACKED ENVIRONMENTAL FOCUS by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 19, 2019 (Antara) - The second round of presidential election debate, held on Feb 17, 2019, was considered more interesting, but environmental NGOs were disappointed because major environmental issues, such as climate change, were not touched upon by both presidential candidates.
        Incumbent Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and his challenger Prabowo Subianto discussed five themes, namely food, energy, infrastructure, natural resources, and the environment, chosen by the General Election Commission, during the debate, but they failed to see a common thread of the five themes, as they treated each theme separately.
        Besides, they were seen as lacking substantive plans offered in their debates. 
   During the debate, Subianto vowed to take stern measures against companies that caused environmental damages if he is elected president for the 2019-2024 term.
         "If I am given the mandate to lead the government of the Republic of Indonesia, I will certainly enforce the law. Stern law enforcement is a must against companies that do not implement the regulation," Subianto stated, emphasizing on firm legal enforcement to protect the environment.
         Subianto also promised to tighten the requirements for environmental impacts assessment and stated that there would be no short cuts to obtain project licenses.
            "This is, again, a matter of commitment. I will uphold a clean government that will not be collusive with environmental violators," he added.
            If he is elected president for the 2019-2024 period, he would reorganize the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and separate it into the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Forestry.
            Responding to Subianto's statement, Jokowi remarked that his administration has sanctioned 11 companies involved in forest and land fires in Indonesia. The total sanction amounted to Rp18.3 trillion.
          According to Jokowi, the government has been successful in overcoming forest and peatland fires in the past three years by strengthening the law enforcement.
        He also stated that the current administration had started to clean polluted rivers, including one in Citarum River of West Java.
         Jokowi also vowed to reduce fossil fuel consumption by encouraging the use of more biofuel and green fuel.
            The government has begun production of B20, a blend of 20 percent of biofuel with diesel, and it would proceed with the production of B100, which contains 100 percent of biofuel, he explained.
        Commenting on the substances of the debate, an NGO activist viewed that both candidates failed to make environmental issues a focus of their statements.
         "Both candidates still view the issues of food, energy, infrastructure, natural resources, and the environment as separate issues," Anggalia Putri, manager of knowledge management of the Madani Sustainable Foundation, revealed on Feb 18, 2019.
       They failed to see that the environment correlates with other issues and is even a major engine of the issues, she added.
           Jokowi emphasized on various policies, programs, and projects concerning the five themes of the debate. However, he did not elaborate much on the basic problems and the solutions, according to the NGO activist.
            "The discussions treat the five themes separately, as if they have no correlations with each other," she stated.
            Meanwhile, Subianto used populist words, such as independence, self-reliance, and national ownership versus foreign ownership.
            "But, he did not explain about the concepts on how to achieve food self-reliance and others," she added.
           The two candidates also did not mention about deforestation, forest degradation, and environmental rehabilitation during the debate, she stated.
         Another criticism came from the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi), which expressed disappointment with the candidates for failing to mention the climate change impacts and forest issue.
          "It is a bit awful because climate change impacts and forest issues were not mentioned," Yuyun Harmono, campaign manager for climate justice of Walhi, revealed.
            The climate change is in fact an issue that covers every aspect, he noted. It is quite scary, from the climate change context, to learn about the optimism of both candidates over oil palm plantation, he revealed.
            Oil palm plantation and coal mining activities are both major contributors to emission, he remarked.
           If the two candidates still rely on oil palm and coal, it means they do not see the point of climate change, he added.
            They fail to link the economic policy and efforts to control the impacts of climate change, he revealed.
            "What worries me is that the Environmental Affairs and Forestry Minister has asked the Director General for Climate Change Control to review our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), in order to speed up the target to press the Earth's temperature increase below 1.5 degree Celsius from 2020 to 2019," he explained.
            The ministry has prepared measures for cutting emissions by accelerating mitigation efforts, he explained.
             The ministry has realized that the major contributors to emission are plantation and energy-based factors, he elaborated.
            However, he regretted that the two candidates failed to consider the crucial issue.
           "No one related their economic policy to climate change issue. This is worrying," he stated.  
    The impacts of climate change are apparent in Indonesia, such as rising sea levels, change in precipitation patterns, decrease in agriculture and fishery production, and increase in drought, flooding, and some vector-borne diseases. 
   Meanwhile, Greenpeace Indonesia was concerned by both presidential candidates' emphasis on the use of crude palm oil for developing biofuels, because it potentially contributed to an increasing rate of deforestation. 
    Indonesia is one of the world's largest biodiversity nations and has the world's third largest forest areas. The country has several environmental problems, such as deforestation and marine pollution, due to plastic wastes. 
   The country's forest conversion into oil palm plantation has become a spotlight internationally because Indonesia's forest is considered as the `lung¿ of the Earth for its function to absorb gas emission that has induced climate change. 
   In September 2009, the then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made a commitment to reduce gas emissions by 26 percent of business-as-usual levels by 2020. But with international support, Indonesia can reduce emissions by as much as 41 percent.
         Indonesia will hold the simultaneous legislative and presidential elections on April 17, 2019.
    (F001/INE)

Sabtu, 16 Februari 2019

JOKOWI, FATHER OF INDONESIAN TOURISM by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 16, 2019 (Antara) - A "Father of Tourism¿ honorary title has been bestowed to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) for a series of his initiatives and commitments in developing tourism industry in Indonesia.
        Jokowi received the title from Chairman of the Association of Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants (PHRI) Hariyadi Sukamdani during a gala dinner to celebrate the 50th anniversary of PHRI, held at the Jakarta Convention Hall, in Jakarta, on Feb 11, 2019. 
    Owing to Jokowi's policies, including on visa-free travel, Indonesia received nearly 16 million foreign tourist arrivals during 2018. The rise in tourist arrivals in Indonesia has surpassed the average increase in the regions.    
   During the Jokowi administration, the allocation of tourism budget has also increased, from Rp1.2 trillion in 2014 to Rp2.1 trillion in 2015; Rp3.3 trillion in 2016; Rp3.2 trillion in 2017; Rp3.4 trillion in 2018; and Rp3.8 trillion in 2019.
         "The honorary title was bestowed by PHRI on Mr. Jokowi for his initiatives and commitment to tourism development since he was the mayor of Solo," Sukamdani noted.
        The country's security and stability situation were also good under the administration of Jokowi.
        Infrastructure development projects, such as toll roads, 11 new airports, seaports, and power plants, constructed by Jokowi across Indonesia have directly affected the tourism sector.
         The increase in investment in hotel and restaurant development has reached 78.6 percent as of the first semester of 2018.
         The total number of tourists arriving in Indonesia in 2018 had reached 15.8 million foreign travelers and 265 million domestic visitors, according to Sukamdani.

HOPING FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS OFFERED BY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES by Fardah

  Jakarta, Feb 16, 2019 (Antara) - Millions of Indonesian television audience hope that the upcoming second round of presidential election debate will be different from the previous one, which was considered unattractive due to cheat sheets given to presidential candidates several days prior to the debate.
          Incumbent Joko Widodo and rival Prabowo Subianto will meet in the second debate featuring five themes, namely energy, the environment, infrastructure, food, and natural resources.
          The second of the total five debates is scheduled to be held at Sultan Hotel, South Jakarta, on Feb 17, 2019, at 8 p.m. local. The General Election Commission (KPU) has vowed this time not to reveal the questions to the candidates in advance.      
    Unlike the first debate, Jokowi and his rival, Subianto, will face off in the second debate without the vice presidential candidates accompanying them.
         Indonesia will organize simultaneous legislative and presidential elections on April 17, 2019, across the country.
       Of its total population of 260 million people, over 185.6 million are registered as illegible voters in Indonesia.
        The 2019 presidential election is considered by many as a repeat of the bitter 2014 presidential race, wherein Jokowi and Subianto are again set to go head-to-head.
             Seeking a second term, 57-year-old Jokowi has picked Ma'ruf Amin (75), chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), as his partner, while retired general Subianto (67) has chosen Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno (49), a successful entrepreneur and former deputy governor of Jakarta, as his running mate.

Kamis, 14 Februari 2019

GOVERNMENT'S INTERVENTION HELPS CONTROL DENGUE OUTBREAK by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 14, 2019 (Antara)- As Indonesia is experiencing the peak of rainy season in January and February this year, mosquito-borne viral disease dengue fever is also spreading in various regions, but it is now relatively under control thanks to the government intervention.
        In fact, in November 2018, the Health Ministry issued a circular letter to regional administrations across the country, calling for vigilance and anticipation for a possible outbreak of dengue, by eradicating the nests of Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main vector that transmits the viruses that cause dengue.
        In addition, people are also advised to use mosquito repellent, use mosquito nets while sleeping, maintain mosquito larvae predators, plant mosquito repellent plants, regulate light and ventilation in the house, and avoid the habit of hanging clothes inside the house.
        Despite the ministry's warning and the public anticipation, however, at least 15,132 cases of dengue fever were reported throughout Indonesia, with 145 deaths, as of Feb 1, 2019, according to the Health Ministry.
          East Java Province witnessed the highest number of dengue cases, at 3,074, with 52 deaths, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, the ministry's director for vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, stated in early February 2019.
         West Java ranked second, with 2,461 cases, causing 18 deaths; followed by East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), with 1,092 cases, resulting in 18 deaths; and North Sumatra, with 1,071 cases, leading to 13 deaths.

Senin, 11 Februari 2019

TEACHING DISASTER RISK REDUCTION AT INDONESIAN SCHOOLS by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 11, 2019 (Antara) - Indonesia is blessed with fertile soil and various natural resources, but concurrently, the country is prone to natural disasters, as it is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, where numerous volcanoes and earthquakes occur.
        Always remaining vigilant is a necessity if you live in Indonesia, which is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Some people in certain areas have even got accustomed to experiencing earthquakes, as they often occur.
        During the period from January to mid-December last year, a total of 2,572 natural disasters had hit the country, leaving at least 4,821 people dead or missing, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).
        Of the total, 2,572, or 96.9 percent of the natural disasters, were hydrometeorological in nature, such as floods, landslides, and whirlwind, while 76, or 3.1 percent, were geological disasters, such as earthquakes.
        In January 2019, Indonesia was hit by 366 natural disasters that claimed 94 lives or led to several going missing, injured 149, and affected and displaced 88,613 others.
        In a bid to deal with natural disasters that occur with such frequency, Indonesia has set up specific institutions at the local and national levels. The country has established the BNPB and Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) at the local level as well as the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), among others.
        Owing to its long-standing experience and professionalism, Indonesia's disaster risk reduction model has been named the best practice during the Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Week (HNPW) 2019 organized in Geneva, Switzerland, on February 4-8, 2019.    

Sabtu, 09 Februari 2019

JOKOWI REMAINS MEDIA DARLING by Fardah

  Jakarta, Feb 9, 2019 (Antara) - Joko Widodo (Jokowi), a furniture businessman who turned into a politician, has become a media darling since he rose to the national politic arena in 2013.
        His rapid rise from being Solo's mayor (2005-2012) to Jakarta's governor (2012-2014), and later as Indonesia's seventh president (since October 2014), was also partly thanks to the media that was mostly fond of him.
        In April 2015, the then chairman of the Association of Indonesian Journalists (PWI) Margiono presented Jokowi a jacket with a text that read "Media Darling" on the left side.   
  During the 2019 National Press Day celebration held in Surabaya, East Java, on Feb 9, 2019, Jokowi received a Press Freedom medal from Chairman of the Press Council (Dewan Pers) Yosep Stanley Adi Prasetyo.
        "We convey our congratulations and laud the president, who has been playing a major role in the press world so far," Prasetyo noted in his remarks.
         The Press Freedom medal is the highest award bestowed by the press community on an individual or institution that has contributed significantly towards the interest of the press, he remarked.
        Jokowi responded by saying that he felt proud and grateful to the press in Indonesia for trusting him to receive the award.
        The government has, so far, guaranteed press freedom and accepted various forms of constructive criticism as a means of social control, he added.
         "I also invite the press to strengthen its identity as a source of information that is accurate and trustworthy and always strengthens its identity to continue to educate the public," Jokowi noted.
        Earlier, he remarked that he was glad to witness that the public has laid greater trust in the conventional media than social media.