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Editorial (802)

22
July

 

Indonesian government officially extended the emergency restrictions (PPKM Darurat) until July 25 and will reopen gradually on July 26. The decision was made based on the unconducive situation because of the spike in Covid-19 infection. Many business sectors are affected by the restriction extension, especially the industry as one of the national economy drivers. The government’s policy to overcome the impact is by providing funds for the workers.

In a virtual press conference on Wednesday (21/7), after discussing the latest situation with Minister of Manpower -Ida Fauziyah, Minister of  Finance, Sri Mulyani Indrawati will increase the fund up to Rp10 trillion for social security of 8.8 million workers affected by the emergency restrictions. The Rp10 trillion will be allocated for wage subsidy (BSU) up to Rp8.8 trillion and additional funds for Pre-Employment Cards up to Rp1.2 trillion.

The wage subsidy for the workers targets the laid-off workers or those whose working hours are cut. Meanwhile, the pre-employment card is for terminated workers. So with the fund, the government hopes that the employers will not need to fire their workers.

Essentially, many saw the restrictions extension as dilemmatic. On one hand, the economy must keep moving. On the other hand, Covid-19 and its Delta variant still haunt the people. Still, this difficult decision must be made. Wishfully, the fund for the workers can sustain the economy. 

21
July

 

Afghanistan is still not safe. The solemn situation of the Eid al-Adha prayer on Tuesday, July 20, in Kabul, was disturbed by a rocket attack. As the President of Afghanistan and other members of the congregation were performing Eid al-Adha prayers in the presidential palace premises, a rocket exploded very close to the site. Even so, President Ashraf Gani, a number of ministers and other state officials continued to complete the Eid al-Adha prayers.

Since the start of the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan some time ago, security in the country has not shown any signs of creating a conducive situation. The Taliban militia is said to have controlled more than two hundred districts. Most of them are in the north, which is a stronghold of the Taliban insurgency. However, Thailban refused to take responsibility for the rocket attack on Tuesday.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen denied that it carried out the rocket attack and  insisted they were sticking to the ceasefire agreement on the Eid al-Adha celebration. The Taliban said the attack was carried out by the Khorasan ISIS group. Of the three rockets fired last Tuesday, only one was aimed near the Presidential Palace.

The ISIS group in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for the rocket attack.

The mention of the ISIS group tarnishing the solemnity of Eid al-Adha prayer  in Kabul and its surroundings, may indicate that the security situation in Afghanistan is increasingly worrying. If the Taliban's accusation is true that Khorasan ISIS group carried out the attack, then conditions in Afghanistan will really depend on the Government and the Taliban themselves. If the two agree to make peace and negotiate for a better Afghanistan, then the intervention of outsiders such as ISIS will be overcome together. On the other hand, the United States and the European Union, after the withdrawal of troops, do not seem to intend to play a role in Afghanistan anymore.

The ISIS group's interference can actually be overcome through reconciliation between the government and the Taliban. Therefore, the ceasefire that was carried out during Eid al-Adha should be continued. Thus, efforts to take an approach to resolve the civil war can be started. Reaching an agreement to bring peace and harmony in Afghanistan, really depends on the will of both parties.

If the internal situation cannot be controlled, it is very likely that foreign influence will have an interest in Afghanistan. If that happens, the dream of the Afghan people to achieve a peaceful and secure situation will remain difficult to realize.

20
July

 

While the Indonesian people are struggling to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, which shows no signs of shaking off, some natural disasters also continue to haunt them.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) in its release on Monday (19/7) issued reports of various natural disasters that occurred across Indonesia throughout the year. As of July 19 at 15.00 WIB, there have been 1.583 natural disasters throughout Indonesia. The disasters consisted of 21 earthquakes, 121 forest and land fires, 3 cases of drought, 667 floods, 318 landslides, 432 strong wind and abrasion.

A natural phenomenon is called a disaster if the event has resulted in human casualties, environmental damage, property losses, and psychological impacts. Natural disasters that occurred from January until July 2021, broguht about 499 casualties, 69 missing, more than 12 thousand injured and more than 5.5 million people suffering or displaced.

The number is not small considering the period of only 6 months. The Indonesian government has mapped, mitigated and warned residents of potential disasters to anticipate. But at the same time, they are also facing various difficulties due to the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic. Thereby, it is natural that residents may not monitor, for example, the weather forecast on the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency website, or the study of risk areas issued by The National Disaster Mitigation Agency -BNPB.

In this regard, the regional governments play a major role in monitoring the area related to potential disasters. They are obliged to improve the preparedness of their citizens against disasters, while still adhering to the health protocols. They must also be alert and watchful to take steps to mitigate and reduce disaster risk. Thus, residents will feel protected and voluntarily obey the instructions of their regional government, in case a disaster occurs. Hopefully, the Indonesian people can reduce the impact of natural disasters as much as possible, and the Covid-19 pandemic is going to shake off sooner.

19
July

 

The celebration of Eid al-Adha 1442 Hijriah in Indonesia where the majority of the population is Muslim, falls on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Unfortunately, this year's Eid al-Adha still has to be passed in the midst of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Related to that, Minister of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Yaqut Cholil Qoumas issued a circular that forbids the mass Eid al-Adha prayers which are usually held in congregation in the mosques or on the field. In addition, the slaughter of sacrificial animals which is part of the ritual of Eid al-Adha must be also carried out with strict health protocols. The government has also instructed that the 2021 Eid al-Adha prayers be carried out at home during the Enforcement of Community Activity Restrictions.

Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas in his circular said that the rules were issued to prevent the spread of Covid-19 from spreading again after the Eid al-Adha holiday this year.

The statement was reinforced by the appeal of Indonesian Vice President Ma'ruf Amin who is also a renowned  Ulama or Islamic scholar, asked all Indonesian Muslims to do the same. According to the Vice President, "Mass prayer is sunnah or  highly recommended, but protecting oneself from the Covid-19 pandemic is obligatory so that it is mandatory  and it takes precedence over the sunnah."

Quoting from Antara News Agency, VP Ma’ruf Amin emphasized that the policy is not to prevent Muslims from worshiping but to protect the public from the dangers of Covid-19.

Previously, in a meeting with the Indonesian  Ulemas Council –MUI and scholars throughout Indonesia on July 12, 2021, VP Ma’ruf Amin, who is also a cleric, reminded that tackling Covid-19 is a national, state and religious responsibility. Ulamas along with the government should enhance their role in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hopefully, the Circular of the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs will be obeyed by the community in carrying out various rituals and traditions during Eid al-Adha 2021 in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Happy Eid Al-Adha 1442 Hijriah!

16
July

 

After being delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, finally several World Film Events can be held in 2021. It’s the same as the Academy Award or Oscar in the USA, which also faced the challenges of the global crisis due to the pandemic, finally was able to take place last April. The event was held in a very limited manner, only attended by the nominees, presenters and special guests.

Last year, the Cannes Film Festival in France was postponed. From the scheduled May 2020, finally it could be held this year, from July 6 to 17. This, of course, attracted the attention of the world because the two world Film Festivals were held amid the Covid-19 pandemic when filmmakers were required to style new order life.

Based on the AFP News Agency reports, at this world film event, the participants are required to do a Covid-19 test every 48 hours and wear masks. The audience is allowed to sit next to each other but masks cannot be removed.

For all visitors, even though many have received vaccines, the committee continues to adhere to health protocols. One of them, those who come from outside the European Union, must provide test results which are carried out every 48 hours, before entering the event location. Moments when the stars walking on the red carpet were held as usual. They were also allowed to take off their masks temporarily so that photographers could capture the famous faces.

Jodie Foster, one of the Famous Actresses who at this event received an award for her achievements in the world of film, admitted that she was happy to be appearing on the red carpet. She declared this Cannes event as a new chapter in the world of cinema because it is relatively non-glamorous and tends to be calm.

A total of 24 films are vying for the Cannes Film Festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or. The announcement will take place tomorrow 17 July, 2021.

15
July

 

The Indonesian government is immediately about to carry out a third dose of vaccination or booster vaccine aimed at health workers.

Indonesian Health Ministry on its official website ensured the third shot or booster for health workers. It also said there is a study that ensured the third shots will be safe.

According to the Indonesian Ministry of Health, the reason to carry out additional vaccination in stages and setting priorities is to look at the situation and condition of the Indonesian state where it is urgent for a booster vaccine to be carried out as soon as possible to protect the health workers as one of the front- lines.Earlier, President Joko Widodo affirmed that the health workers are highly exposed to Covid-19 infection despite being already vaccinated. Facing the infected patients as well as the virus require the health worker to get a booster shot.

Certainly, we support Indonesian government's effort. But, WHO's recommendation about unequal vaccination for all people because of vaccine shortage also needs to be a concern. WHO believed until now, there are countries with vaccination less than 1 percent of their population. The Health Ministry's Vaccination Spokesperson dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi explained that the WHO recommendation is prioritizing the public.

The third shot or booster for health workers aims to increase their immunity as the frontline in handling higher Covid-19 cases. Yet more importantly, the public must realize how important vaccination is without being picky about the vaccine variants. It is considering that all imported vaccines used by Indonesian government have passed the Drugs and Monitoring Agency clinical tests and are registered at the WHO. Therefore, the quality and safety can be guaranteed.

14
July

 

Corona pandemic due to Covid 19 virus affects not only the economic sector but also the political sector. In Central America, Covid-19 attack has triggered a wave of protests in Cuba. Havana, the capital of the communist-leaning nation, was flooded with protesters. Thousands of protesters moved on Sunday, July 12, 2021 as they considered the Cuban government failed to control Covid 19 which has worsened economic life in the country. A news agency report said that during the demonstration the protesters called for President Miguel Diaz to step down from the office. There have been several public demonstrations this year. But Sunday's demonstration was reportedly the largest one, even since 1994.

The government not only called for the demonstration to be stopped, but according to the French news agency AFP as quoted by CNN Indonesia, Cuban police officers detained more than a hundred protesters. One person is reported to have died in the riots as a result of the demonstration. Regarding the demonstrations that caused chaos, President Miguel Dias blamed the United States' policy of carrying out an economic embargo on his country.

As people know that during the Donald Trump administration, Washington reimposed a stricter embargo on Cuba. Previously, under the administration of President Barack Obama had relaxed sanctions on his southern neighbor. Economic sanction in the form of trade embargo has been implemented by the United States since 1962 during the John Kennedy administration. The sanction was imposed to protest the overthrow of President Fulgencio Balista by Communist rebels led by Fidel Castro in an event historically known as the Cuban Revolution.

The demonstration on Sunday, July 14, resulted in the escalation of diplomatic relations with the United States. The Spanish government through its Foreign Ministry has asked Havana to respect the freedom of expression of its people. The stance of the Spanish government was caused by the arrest of a correspondent for a Spanish daily newspaper. The government in Madrid asked the Cuban government to release the correspondent.

Although the Cuban government has tried and quelled public demonstrations, it is still uncertain whether the handling by security forces which is followed by the detention of protesters will end the demonstrations. The stance of the United States, which was expressed by President Joe Bidden by stating that he supports the actions of some Cubans, becomes a political sign that the economic embargo will not end yet. Meanwhile, Covid-19 attack which has caused a decline in the number of foreign tourists to Cuba has worsened the economic situation.

13
July


The daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Indonesia are still increasing. Data from the Covid-19 Handling Task Force, covid19.go.id showed that on Monday (12/7), there were 40,327 confirmed positive cases of Covid-19. This figure is the highest number since March 2020. Of course, this number is worrying. This actually happened during the Emergency Community Activity Restrictions (PPKM) period. The government of Indonesia has determined that Community Activity Restrictions takes place from July 3 to July 20 in Java and Bali.

The restrictions on community activities have also been tightened. The Provincial Government of Jakarta issued a new policy, namely the Worker Registration Certificate –STRP. This policy is intended for those who still have to work outdoors. The Worker Registration Certificate is also intended for people who have urgent interests to travel. The implementation of this policy reduces the number of those who will enter Jakarta. Only those who have STRP can enter Jakarta. According to the plan, this policy is operational until July 20.

Other steps taken by the Indonesian government are to increase the capacity of self-isolation facilities and hospitals (RS) for handling Covid-19 patients. Quoting the official website of the Cabinet Secretariat of the Republic of Indonesia, Minister of Works and Public Housing, Basuki Hadimuljono said that since July 10, he has operated the Hajj Dormitory in East Jakarta, as an Emergency Hospital for Covid-19 patients. This emergency hospital will only accommodate Covid-19 patients with mild and moderate symptoms. He also added that in the next week, the Covid-19 hospital will start operating. The place used is 6 floors in the Kiara Pavilion, Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, Jakarta. The government, through Indonesian Armed Forces -TNI, has prepared field hospitals in a number of regions.

Meanwhile, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment (Menko Marinves) as well as Deputy Chairperson of the Committee for Handling COVID-19 and National Economic Recovery (KPCPEN), Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan expressed that the government provides 300 thousand packages of free therapeutic drugs for Covid-19 patients. The drug package is for the treatment of patients with asymptomatic categories and mild symptoms who are in self-isolation. Another effort made by the government is processing imports of 40 thousand tons of liquid oxygen and oxygen concentrators in large quantities.

The implementation of restrictions on community activities and worker registration certificates increases the number of self-isolation facilities and hospitals, and the plan to import oxygen is the government's steps to handle and overcome Covid-19. It is hoped that in the next few days, the handling situation will result in an improved situation. The steps that have been taken by the Indonesian government must be supported by all Indonesian people, not only with high awareness, but also concrete actions from the Indonesian people. If neglected and negligent, it will not only increase the number of people exposed, but will affect all aspects of the life of the Indonesian people. Wearing masks, getting used to washing hands and keeping a distance are something non-negotiable and must be carried out by the people of Indonesia. Strict action needs to be taken against those who violate it. The hope to shake off from the Covid-19 pandemic must be realized by all Indonesian people without exception.

12
July

 

The World Bank in the World Bank Country Classifications by Income Level: 2021-2022 reports that Indonesia is back to a lower middle-income country category after being included in the upper middle-income country category in 2019. Indonesia's per capita income fell from US$4,050 in 2019 to US$3,870 in 2020.

According to the Head of the Fiscal Policy Agency of the Ministry of Finance, Febrio Kacaribu, the health crisis has had a profound impact on social life and global economic activity. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about negative economic growth in almost all countries, including Indonesia. That’s why, the decline in Indonesia's income is an unavoidable consequence.

Then, what is the government doing to boost the economy? Amid the pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government continues to consistently roll out policies that are focused on efforts to deal with it by strengthening social protection, supporting the business world, including establishing the National Economic Recovery program. Through hard work, the State Revenue and Expenditure Budget and the program, many great benefits have been felt by the community. The National Economic Recovery social protection program is claimed to be effective in maintaining the consumption of the poorest community groups amid the pandemic.

The poverty rate could be controlled to 10.19 percent in September 2020. Without the National Economic Recovery program, the World Bank estimates that Indonesia's poverty rate in 2020 could reach 11.8 percent. This means that the program in 2020 was able to save more than 5 million people from poverty. Furthermore, it is also the engine of economic recovery so that it was able to create 2.61 million new jobs in the period September 2020 to February 2021.

Until now, the pandemic is still ongoing. However, the government continues to work hard and never gives up facing this condition. The increase in daily Covid-19 cases since the end of June was responded quickly with tighter activity restrictions. Acceleration of vaccines, strengthening 3Ts or testing, tracing, and treatment, discipline of health protocols and provision of social protection will continue to be carried out.

Hopefully, the various steps taken by the government to tightly control the pandemic and to recover the economy will raise Indonesia's status back to the category of upper middle-income country. For the record, the classification is usually made by a financial institution or an international donor agency to consider financial assistance facilities for each country.

09
July

 

China doesn't seem to be playing around in its statements regarding its conflict with Taiwan. The Associated Press news agency reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping, who also heads the Central Military Commission, emphasized the need for the People's Liberation Army to increase troop capabilities in the dispute with Taiwan. These concerns are not only active soldiers but also retired military personnel. They are said to be a top priority for military service in times of war. This is stipulated in a draft law change released by the Ministry of Veterans Affairs over the weekend.

Conscription under Chinese law applies to citizens aged 18 to 22. They are required to undergo one-month training in military service but are not required to become professional soldiers afterward. In fact, since 1949 it has practically no longer been implemented because the number of soldiers who voluntarily enlist is considered sufficient. But the question is that how serious the situation is, so that there is a need for a revision of the law requiring veterans to be involved in wartime.

Former instructor of People's Liberation Army, Song Zhongping said that revisions are needed to reflect broader changes in the world and to better prepare China for emergencies.

The country's military must be "ready to respond" to complex and difficult situations when faced with security challenges. Moreover, recently, China's relations with Western countries and its neighbors have deteriorated due to various problems, ranging from territorial claims, the economy to human rights.

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