Forestry Minister Strengthens Forest, Land Fires Prevention in Riau Province
Date 18 Juli 2020
Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya Bakar paid a working visit to Riau Province, Saturday (18/7), for strengthening efforts to prevent forest and land fires permanently.
After the 2015 forest and land fires, various corrective actions have been carried out, such as the increased operational work of the forest fires task force team and an early warning to anticipate the forest and land fire threats, in addition to the form of various crucial policies.
“We discussed the increased participation of the Fire Awareness Community (MPA) through a legal awareness community approach. This is an important step in the long road to establish efforts to prevent forest and land fires permanently, as referred to in the directive of the President,” the Minister said.
The 2015 forest and land fires have provided lessons for the Indonesian Government under the leadership of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to undertake various corrective actions to control forest and land fire to the site level. At the operational level of the field, cooperation between the task force members was also strengthened, which involved Manggala Agni (Forest and Land Fires Control Brigade), the Regional Government, the Indonesian National Police (Polri), the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI), the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), the MPA, the private sector, and other community groups.
Riau Province, Siti said, already has proper forest and land fires monitoring dashboard system in order to well cooperate with Manggala Agni, Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), and other relevant agencies to carry out the control system in the Riau Forest and Land Fires Task Force.
“The first critical phase was March-May. So, in the second phase, we must be careful from the end of June to the end of October. All of this can be detected,” the Minister said.
The prevention of forest and land fires in Riau has been carried out by the Minister and Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) as well as partners from 13 to 30 May with weather modification techniques to engineer numbers of rainy days to wet peat soil, fill reservoirs and canals.
In the near future, TMC will be implemented by BNPB and BPPT as anticipation to the critical phase II of forest and land fires which is predicted to peak by BMKG (Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency) in August.
Furthermore, the Minister said that the control of forest and land fires is also inseparable from the management of peat, and agriculture with a local wisdom system.
“I also asked the regional police chief to give me information on the conditions of village supervisory non-commissioned officers (Babinsa), security and public order officers (Babinkamtibmas), on the conflicts occurred on the ground, on the solution at the field level, this was all discussed earlier,” Siti said.
The Minister also said that the Riau Province received special attention from the President. For the records, his first working visit in 2014 was to Meranti of Riau Province.
The Minister also stated that the 2015 fire case in Riau provided Indonesia with a great learning experience to solve forest and land fires problem in Indonesia. “We got our solution from the complicated journey of forest and land fire in Riau. We learned a lot in the 2015 events, and we will continue to improve even further in the future,” she said.
On law enforcement, the Minister emphasized that it has been done since 2015 with the formation of the Directorate General of Law Enforcement. Synergy with other law enforcement agencies also continues.
“It’s not easy, because we have to increase our knowledge and provide experts. Those decisions that have permanent legal force (inkracht) are also not easy. But it is important that law enforcement is applied either in a manner of administrative, criminal, or civil. The aim is to force companies to follow the standards that are applied,” she said.
Since the strengthening of legal sanctions, companies must own complete facilities and infrastructure, environmental experts, and even technical personnel for forest and land fire. This means that companies invest large enough so that not all sanctions must be in the form of license revocation.
“The Government’s main position is to foster community. The Government cannot play game, it must be according to the procedure. It is clear that the company involved in forest and land fires must be given sanctions, either in a manner of administrative, criminal, or civil,” she firmly said. (Ministry of Environment and Forestry PR/EN)
Translated by: Fairuzzamani Inayatillah
Reviewed by: Yuyu Mulyani