Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Awards Hand over for COVID-19 Handling, Dhanapala Building, Ministry of Finance, Jakarta, March 20, 2023

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 20 Maret 2023
Category: Remarks @en
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Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
Good morning,
May prosperity be upon us all,
Om swastiastu,
Namo Buddhaya,
Greetings of virtue.

Your Excellencies Ambassadors of friendly countries;
Distinguished Coordinating Ministers and Cabinet Ministers;
Distinguished Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian National Defense Force (TNI) represented by Chief of Staff of the TNI, Chief of the Indonesian National Police (POLRI), Commanders of Military Regional Command, Chiefs of Regional Police, Commanders of Military District Command and Chiefs of City Police;
Distinguished Governors, Regents, and Mayors, Health Workers and Volunteers of COVID-19 Handling;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Three years ago, when COVID-19 pandemic broke in Indonesia, we were all affected and we all worked hard to save our people. We had to evacuate Indonesian citizens COVID-19 contracted in countries affected by the pandemic at that time. We should also prepare quarantine facilities, health facilities, and social assistance for the people who have lost their income. All countries did not have any knowledge about this, and we all did not have any knowledge and experience regarding this pandemic.

All of you remember that for several days we debated on whether implementing lockdown or not implementing lockdown, or implementation of the lockdown on the national level or on a limited basis in certain regencies or provinces. All of us had no experience regarding this pandemic, so we had that debate. No one knew about right or wrong policies, so I listened to all of them. I listened to all criticism and all input.

I contacted countries that had already been hit by the pandemic. We know that all experts and all countries had no experience in dealing with this pandemic and we had to learn. The experts we asked for opinions also just learned about this. Thus, we learned from people who were also in the learning process. We must make the right decisions to ensure the safety of the people. That was not easy. The situation was frightening. We could not predict what would happen on the next day or next month. We could not predict our economy.

I am not going to retell the story. All of you are part of the hard work, part of the fight that we did. Compared to the global average, we are among the countries that have successfully handled the COVID-19.

In June 2022, Director General of WHO Tedros Adhanom stated that the COVID-19 handling in Indonesia was among the best and the vaccination coverage was also among the preeminent. That was not our statement. That was the statement of Director General of WHO. In September 2021, Johns Hopkins University mentioned that Indonesia was one of the best in the world in reducing COVID-19 cases. That was not our statement. That was their statement. It was clear that we succeeded in reducing the transmission rate, we succeeded in reducing the mortality rate, and we also succeeded in maintaining economic stability and growth. Last year, our growth was 5.31%.

This success story comes from the hard work of all elements of the nation. I see that when we are under pressure in overcoming a problem, we work together. We must maintain that spirit. This is what we need. After the number of cases decreases, we must keep our spirit to overcome many problems we are dealing with. We have seen that everyone from A to Z worked very hard in COVID-19 handling. Many people had risked their lives. Many of our health workers have died in COVID-19 handling. Many stakeholders worked beyond their duties and functions. Many personnel of the TNI and the POLRI worked beyond their duties and functions. Many parties have volunteered for our safety together and there are many lessons that we can learn in dealing with COVID-19.

Therefore, we must continue to move synergistic   in mobilizing the strength of all components of the nation, from the Central Government level to the village level, across ministries, state institutions, and sectors, as well as between the Government and people’s participation. Such actions must be continued, do not stop at the COVID-19 handling for it really shows our great strength as a great nation. So, the strength can not only be used for all the nation’s big agendas, but we can also use it to tackle other diseases, such as tuberculosis and stunting, as well as in increasing food production and reducing poverty.

Presuming that we work just like when we deal with COVID-19, we can solve big problems very quickly. With a note, we are working as we are currently dealing with COVID-19. Sometimes, I am confused, there is PSBB policy, as the Coordinating Minister said earlier. As we do not know what does PSBB stands for, the PPKM policy is already enforced. What is this? Not to mention other things there are new terms which we had never heard of before, appeared because of COVID-19.

Is there anyone know what does PPKM stands for? I will choose one person and s/he maybe do not know, I dare you. Including those who laugh just now, maybe do not know what does PPKM stands for. You, please come over. I will ask you, what does PSBB stands for, not PPKM.

Health Worker Representative
Thank you, sir. I come from East Kalimantan, from a private clinic vaccine center.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Yes. Please answer directly, what does PSBB stand for?

Health Worker Representative
Didn’t you just ask about PPKM?

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
PSBB.

Health Worker Representative
Social Restriction…

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Where do you work?

Health Worker Representative
I work as the head of health community center.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
I see. Now, what does PSBB stand for?

Health Worker Representative
I only memorized about PPKM, Sir.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
So?

Health Worker Representative
Please wait a second. PSBB, large-scale social restrictions.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Yes, correct. Excellent. Thank you.

Health Worker Representative
Thank you, Sir. Do I get the bicycle, Sir?

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
The bicycle will be sent to your home.

So, we really have to make use of our way of working during the pandemic handling for post-pandemic governance. I hope that we can maintain our great strength during the pandemic handling and use it to overcome other issues.

Lastly, I would like to invite all of you to give the highest appreciation. I express my highest appreciation to all health workers, officers, and volunteers who have died in their duties in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

And, to those of you who received the PPKM Award, I congratulate you. Let us continue the service to solve various humanitarian and national problems to realize an Advanced Indonesia.

This concludes my statement on this auspicious occasion.

I thank you.

Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

(RI-GWH/HD)

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