President Jokowi Reminds Officials on Efforts to Fight Wildfires
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo highlighted the importance of immediate action on any hotspot and the significance of coordination meeting during the National Coordination Meeting on Forest and Land Fires.
“This is our routine from year to year. Every time we enter the dry season we always gather here, President Jokowi stated at the meeting at the State Palace, Jakarta, Thursday (6/2).
The meeting, the President stated, has been held every year since 2016.
“Why do we have this meeting every time? Because there may still be new governors, regents, mayors, military commanders (pangdam), military resort post commanders (danrem), commanders of Military district command (dandim), regional police chiefs (kapolda), and regency police chiefs (kapolres) entering the fire-prone areas without awareness on the rules (of forest and land fires) which we have made in 2016,” the President said.
Since 2016, the President has instructed the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI) Commander and the Indonesian Police (Polri) Chief to fire those who cannot resolve the wildfire.
In 2015, according to the President, about 2.5 million hectares of peatland and forest land have burned. After the meeting 2016 and 2017, the figure has been reduced to 150 thousand hectares. However, the figure has increased greatly from 590 thousand hectares in 2018 to 1.5 million hectares in 2019.
On the occasion, President Jokowi warned the participants that he does not wish to see Indonesian fires to be as huge as fires in the following countries, namely Russia (10 million hectares), Brazil (4.5 million hectares), Bolivia (1.8 million hectares), Canada (1.8 million hectares), and Australia (11 million hectares).
“There are 500 million death of animals due to the fire, meaning loss of germplasm both flora and fauna. This is what we avoid. The wealth that cannot be calculated with money,” the President stated.
For this reason, the President instructed any hotspot to be extinguished immediately as well as the optimization of Babinsa (village supervisory non-commissioned personnel) and Babinkamtibmas (village-level security and public order advisors) to disseminate information.
“To governors, regent, and mayors, tell the village heads to extinguish a hotspot in their areas. Do not let it expand and waste million tons of water to extinguish it. It will become a much difficult work,” the President added.
President Jokowi further stated that big countries like the United States and Australia have experienced difficulties in dealing with wildfires. The President also mentioned that two weeks ago fire was spotted in Siak and Dumai Regencies of Riau Province which fortunately can be extinguished immediately.
“Put any hotspot out; do not wait until two, three, four, or five hotspots. Do it immediately. That is all we can do to keep the fire from getting bigger. The bigger fire in peatland is even more difficult,” he said, adding that fire in peatland is trickier since even if the fire on the surface has been put out, the fire under the surface may remain.
The President also instructed the participants from all provinces to raise people’s awareness, moreover in the fire-prone provinces such as Riau, Jambi, North Sumatra, South Sumatra, and others. (DND/EN)
Translated by: Fairuzzamani Inayatillah
Reviewed by: Mia M. Bonaedy