President Jokowi: “Expedite social assistance!”

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The Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, said the recipient data had yet to be improved, but the distribution of aid had to continue. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – It is never too late to distribute aid to the people, although it has been almost one month since the first PSBB policy was enacted; the government has finally officially distributed food aid to the people affected by COVID-19 early this May. Aware of the urgency of this assistance needed by the community, President Joko Widodo instructed all ministers and regional heads to ensure that the President’s social assistance has been received by the public as quickly as possible. “I ask that this week everything has been received and I ask the Minister of Social Affairs as well as governors, regents, mayors, sub-district heads to village heads to go to the field to canvass,” Jokowi commanded, when starting up a closed meeting via video conference on Monday (05/04/2020). 

Jokowi said the central government had provided various social assistance options that were poured out to residents both through the Family Hope Program (PKH), food packages, Direct Cash Assistance (BLT) and village funds. He also asked that the distribution of all social assistance instruments be accelerated to ease the burden on the community. “I ask for speed so that the social assistance can reach the hands of the recipient families. It is true that the faster it is received the better,” he continued 

Responding to the quantity of aid that was misdirected because the data was not used by the central government, the President asked for flexibility or leeway for the regions in distributing social assistance, especially if they encounter poor people who had not yet received rations. “I ask to be given the flexibility to the regions so that there is a solution if there are poor people who have not benefited,” he said. 

Apart from the outdated data, many poor people failed to get help, which caused chaos in several areas. Therefore, Jokowi asked the Minister of Social Affairs and the regional heads to go to the field to check the social assistance that had begun to be disbursed. “Go down to the field, and check it all out,” he ordered. 

To alleviate citizens’ suspicions about the distribution of social assistance, Jokowi stressed that the data on the recipients of social assistance be opened transparently to the public to avoid such feelings as well as rapid correction of data if there are errors. “Lastly, I ask for a scheme, so if we find irregularities we can uncover them quickly,” he explained. 

Distribution of social assistance in the city of Padang, for example, led to riots. This began with a change in data from a total of 40,245 families and nominal assistance of IDR 600 thousand per month, but in reality, only 13,415 households will receive rations. Something similar happened in Depok which made residents feel that something was wrong with the distribution of aid. 

The initiative of the Depok municipal government is to distribute aid below the specified amount, to allow a greater number of social assistance recipients. A total of 10,423 families will receive social assistance valued at IDR 500,000 from the West Java Provincial Government, in the form of groceries valued at IDR 350,000 and IDR 150,000 in cash. To distribute the social assistance, the West Java Provincial Government collaborated with the Post Office to deliver it to beneficiary homes. 

“The allocation of social assistance from the West Java Provincial Government is based on Integrated Social Welfare Data (DTKS) for 10,423 families. Currently, only social assistance for 2,191 households is distributed by the Post Office,” said Mayor of Depok Mohammad Idris through written statements on Sunday (05/03/2020) night. 

The same thing also happened in Sukabumi, where the data provided by the West Java Provincial Government indicated certain family heads were considered capable and not entitled to receive social assistance when in fact they were in need – while there are names of several village officials who are not entitled to receive social assistance but are listed as recipients in the data of West Java Provincial Government. “In essence, we ask to postpone the implementation of the distribution of social assistance until there is valid data,” said Secretary of the Village Government Association of Sukabumi, Tutang Setiawan. 

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said that a lot of data from areas in West Java were problematic; that was the cause of the Bansos not being distributed to the people who were entitled to receive it until now. Therefore, he asked local authorities in West Java to find out why many residents did not include their domicile address, Resident Identity Card (KTP) number, or Population Identification Number (NIK) during the process of filling in the data of Bansos recipients. 

“The main problem with aid that has not yet arrived: there is a lot of data submitted from the regions that are problematic,” said Emil through his Twitter account, @ridwankamil, Wednesday (04/29/2020). 

Regarding the two examples, Bogor Mayor Bima Arya requested that social assistance be managed directly by the regions because the central coordination is convoluted and often uncertain in terms of distribution time, number, and the granting scheme. 

Responding to this, the Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, said the recipient data had yet to be improved, but the distribution of aid had to continue. He said he would also communicate with the governor and other regional heads to speed up the data of aid recipients from RT/RW to immediately go to the Ministry of Social Affairs. “So that aid can immediately be sent down. So don’t hold it for too long in certain institutions, especially if the data is not available. “The targeted recipients are those who are affected by COVID-19 with increasingly difficult conditions,” he stressed. 

Previously, this assistance was also delayed because of the problem of packaging or bags that read “President’s Aid” ran out. Social Minister Juliari Batubara confirmed the news. “In the beginning, yes [the assistance was hampered by packaging problems] because it turned out that previous suppliers had difficulty in importing raw materials. Now the supply of bags is running smoothly,” said Juliari, Wednesday (04/29/2020). (Dan)