Improvement In Remote Regions Demanded

Improvement In Remote Regions Demanded

The Jakarta Post

Markus Makur,Timika

All five factions at the Mimika legislative council have urged the regency administration to pay more attention to the least developed villages in the region in allocating its budget, approved on Friday.

The council approved the Rp 1.4 trillion (US$127 million) budget during a plenary session presided over by Council Speaker Yoseph Yopi Kilangin and Deputy Speaker Paulus Pakage. Also in attendance were Mimika Regent Klemen Tinal and Deputy Regent Abdul Muis.

The strongest demand came from the Prosperous Peace Party (PDS). In its written statement, read by Vincen Edoway, the party raised concern over the worrying conditions of human resources in Mimika's coastal and mountainous regions.

"Many of the children living in those villages are illiterate, posing difficulties to the regency administration in realizing its development programs," Vincen said.

He added that with the huge budget, the administration had more room to improve the quality of life of indigenous Papuans in Mimika.

"The council will continue monitoring the real implementation of the budget, especially in the education sector," he said.

The council, Vincen went on, strongly recommended that the regency administration cooperate with experienced religious institutions in developing education in Mimika's remote regions.

"History has shown that such institutions are pioneers in education development in the mountainous areas in Mimika," he said.

He also suggested that the administration restrict the issuance of licenses for the establishment of elementary schools in Mimika's capital of Timika, arguing it had encouraged many teachers assigned to remote areas to come back to the town to teach at new schools.

A similar call was also made by the PDS in the development of the health sector. It argued the mushrooming of clinics in Timika had encouraged civil servants assigned to health centers in remote villages to leave their posts and head for the urban clinics. Vincen said such practices had disrupted services in the rural health centers.

"The regency administration must be stern in controlling its employees," he said.

The same stern action, he added, must also be taken against "naughty" companies operating illegally in Mimika, to help curb the high rate of unemployment in the regency.

In response, Regent Klemen Tinal said he would take note of the criticism and suggestions, and assured the council that a reshuffle of officials in his administration would be done in the second week of March.

He also said a new official at the regency education agency overseeing elementary education would be appointed to add more focus on programs for remote regions. He promised to provide free education and health services to indigenous Papuan children in those areas.

He added that as of this year, his administration would start developing villages by giving them Rp 700 million each, which came from the regency budget, provincial budgets and the Amungme and Komoro Community Development Institution (LPMAK).