President Jokowi Anticipates Forest Fires from Recurring this Year
President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo reminded that the cases of forest fires that occurred in 2015 has led the Government overwhelmed and the Government has done everything they can to put them out. To that end, the President hopes that all parties remain vigilant so that forest fires do not recur. “We should be grateful, as said by the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, that in 2016 forest fires cases decreased by 82-83 percent. We hope that in 2017 it would further decrease,” President Jokowi said when giving a briefing before the participants of the 2017 National Coordination Meeting (Rakornas) on Land and Forest Fire (Karhutla) Control, at the State Palace, Jakarta, Monday (23/1) morning.
The President revealed that the losses caused by forest fires in 2015 reached Rp220 trillion due to flight cancellations, temporarily closed offices, as well as economic activity that halted. “What a huge number,” he said.
When it comes to health aspect, according to the President, in 2015 health problems affected 504,000 people, especially children affected by Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (ISPA). Other impacts resulted is the loss of biodiversity and habitat. “This is also the impact that cannot be measured economically. The degraded forests are estimated to 2.6 million hectares. Then, related to schools which were off, we cannot be able to calculate the losses. How many days, weeks, or how many months the schools were off,” President Jokowi said while hoping that in 2017 the land and forest fires do not recur.
President Jokowi revealed that widespread land and forest fires in 2015 was also due to a lack of early prevention. Therefore, the President requested that in 2017 we should be well-prepared. So that at the beginning of this year, the Government wants everyone to understand and realize that there are many hotspots and wildfires that will have an impact to all both in the economic and health sectors as well as the loss of biodiversity.
“Alhamdulillah, in 2016 we observe that the hotspots has drastically diminished,” the President explained.
Citing the report delivered by the Coordinating Minister that the total area of land and forest fires per December 2016 were 83.21 percent lower than that in 2015, the President admitted that the number has decreased drastically as a result of mutual anticipation and prevention.
Therefore, President Jokowi highly appreciated those who have performed a great job. “It starts from the village by empowering the Babinsa (village supervisory non-commissioned officers), the Babinkamtibmas (village-level security and public order advisors), the Polsek (subprecinct police), the Koramil (subdistrict-military command), the Kodim (regency military command), the Polres (resort police), the Danrem (military resort command), the Dandim (regional military command), the Kodam (military area command), the Polda (regional police), so the result fell by 83 percent and the hotspot fell by 82 percent. What a significant decrease,” President Jokowi appreciated.
The President invited the participants to prevent forest and land fires in 2017 so that it would decrease and even disappear. “Although I know it is very difficult, we have to work hard to anticipate and prevent the fires from recurring,” the President said.
Attending the event were Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto, Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, Presidential Chief of Staff Teten Masduki, Minister of Communication and Informatics Rudiantara, the Indonesian National Defence Forces (TNI) Commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo and the Indonesian National Police (Polri) Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian. (FID/ES) (MUR/YM/Naster).