Directives of President of the Republic of Indonesia to Regional Leaders across Indonesia, 19 July 2021, from Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java Province

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation
Date 19 Juli 2021
Category: Directives
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Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

Distinguished Mr. Vice President,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Esteemed Guests.

The end of the pandemic is uncertain. After the first variant, then comes the Delta variant. Three days ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that there will be other new virus variants. That new variant would cause the pandemic to be even longer than we expected. That means, we must remain vigilant.

For that reason, I order governors, regents, mayors, and regional leadership coordination forum (Forkopimda) to remain focused on COVID-19 handling and economic development. Management and coordination are the key. I urge everyone to join hands [in tackling the pandemic].

We need strong on-the-ground leadership to deal with the ongoing pandemic. On-the-ground savvy leadership that can move quickly and is responsive. That strong on-the-ground leadership must be tough at all levels of government, from the Central Government level to district, sub-district and village levels.

I am aware of the public’s aspirations calling for relaxation on the restrictions in social and economic activities. The relaxation could be in place once the virus transmission rate and the number of cases with severe symptoms and hospitalization decrease. If we relax the restrictions policy and the number of cases increase, hospitals will be unable to treat patients and our health facilities will collapse. Do pay attention to this matter.

And most importantly, do maintain self-discipline in observing health protocols, especially keeping a safe distance and wearing a mask. There are only two keys, namely speeding ​​up vaccination and maintaining self-discipline in observing health protocols, especially wearing a face mask.

To that end, I order governors, regents, mayors, and the Forkopimda to pay attention to this matter and to take necessary measures responsibly. The Central Government will provide support. And again, the key lies in on-the-ground leadership at regional heads, district heads, village heads, subdistrict heads, including religious figures, social figures, and social and religious organizations at the lower local level.

Regarding several measures on the ground, I am sure all of you understood. First, on-the-ground measure for prevention. Do raise public awareness on health protocols, namely wearing a face mask, keeping a safe distance, and avoiding the crowds. This is the key. And the public must know how to make early detection [if] they are infected with COVID-19 and how to access medicine and medical consultation.

I would also like to deliver another important thing regarding self-isolation centers for mild symptomatic patients. If possible, provide isolation facilities down to the subdistrict or village levels. At least, there should be isolation centers at the district level, especially in densely populated cities. There should be any. From the field inspection, I found that a 3-by-3 meter house inhabited by a family of four. The transmission rate will remain high if there are no isolation centers at the sub-district or district levels.

Second, make detailed regulations for health protocols enforcement in a number of places, including markets, factories, malls, and places of worship.

Third, prepare regional hospitals, including reserve hospitals and emergency hospitals as an anticipatory measure. At least we have a plan if many hospitals are fully packed. Don’t start preparing when they [hospitals] are full already. It will be too late. I order all of you to regularly control the situations on the ground, check the availability of medicines at hospitals, ready or not, ready for days, ready for weeks, or ready for months. Control and check medical oxygen supply, is it adequate? Adequate for days or for months. Also, monitor bed occupancy rate (BOR) since bed capacity in many hospitals  can be risen for COVID-19 treatment.

I am aware that in some areas, hospitals set 20 or 30 percent of their existing hospital bed capacity. Those figures can certainly be risen to 40 percent or as in Jakarta, it reached up to 50 percent of available beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients. Regional leaders must be aware of the total bed capacity and how many beds should be provided to COVID-19 patients. Otherwise, the hospitals seem to have set a very high bed occupancy rate even though only 20 percent of available bed are used. Many hospitals did that.

Fourth, another on-the-ground measure we should take is the accelerated distribution of social assistance and regional spending. I noticed those figures related to micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) assistance, social assistance funds, and Village Funds. Based on the data I received, the MSME budget for all regions stands at Rp13.3 trillion. That means, from 514 regencies/cities and provinces, out of Rp13.3 trillion, only Rp2.3 trillion has been disbursed. In fact, we really need it right now. People really need it. People are waiting. I urge the spending to be used immediately.

Social protection has a budget of, based on my note, Rp12.1 trillion. The realization only reached Rp2.3 trillion. That is not 20 percent of the total yet. People are waiting for this. And out of the total budget of Village Fund at Rp72 trillion, Rp28 trillion was allocated for Village Direct Cash Assistance (BLT). However, the realization is only Rp5.6 trillion or less than 25 percent that has been disbursed. I order for acceleration on everything. Once again, with the current conditions, the acceleration of the budget is eagerly awaited by the people.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to also express my highest appreciation for all of our hard work. But once again, I order that strong on-the-ground leadership be emerged so that the public know that we are on their sides.

That concludes my remarks on this auspicious occasion.

I thank you.

Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. (RIF/MUR)

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