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Government Supports Religious Figures Playing an Active Role in Papua’s Development


By: Viktor Awoitauw )*

The Indonesian government fully supports and provides all facilities for religious leaders and community leaders to be active and play a role in development on Cenderawasih Earth.

Since the government led by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Vice President (Wapres), KH Ma’ruf Amin, the implementation of development in all regions has been carried out to all corners of the country in a more optimal and equitable manner.

This is also in accordance with President Jokowi’s program and vision and mission, namely implementing development that is Indonesia-centric and no longer Java-centric or only prioritizing Java Island, causing social inequality in Indonesian society.

It is undeniable that so far the development that has taken place in the country still gives the impression that it has prioritized only Java, even though Indonesia itself has many islands and there is still a lot of potential that can actually be explored further.

As a result, with development that is too massive only in Java, the social gap can be seen very far away. Lots of public services and also public access are very easy to find in Java, while in other areas it is still difficult to reach them.

But now, since the leadership era of President Jokowi and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, the development paradigm has slowly changed. Mainly, the implementation of development by the Government is also carried out in all regions in Papua which continue to receive very great attention.

On the other hand, the Government is also very aware of the characteristics of all people in Bumi Cenderawasih, which can be said that the people there still tend to be religious, where the role of the church as an institution and also religious leaders is still very influential in society.

This fact was obtained not only from data on paper, but also President Jokowi himself who regularly continues to hold various coordination meetings (rakor) related to Papua. Jokowi is also very diligent in supervising development through the various visits he has made to Cenderawasih Earth.

These visits, which are carried out regularly, are also capable of updating various kinds of policy instruments from the Government itself in order to continue to enhance development in the Land of Papua and also through various kinds of direct participation from the local community itself, including religious instruments such as the church.

In this regard, the Main Expert of the Presidential Staff Office (KSP), Theofransus Litaay stated that indeed one of the development approaches implemented by the Government was to involve various religious, traditional and local community institutions including women and youth. This is in accordance with Law Number 2 of 2021 concerning Amendments to the 2001 Special Autonomy Law (Otsus) for Papua.

The government also continues to communicate and consult with church leaders in Papua, who are organized under the Communion of Papuan Churches (PGGP) and also the Communion of Churches in West Papua (PGGPB).

The existence of consultations, dialogues and also discussions conducted by the Government with religious leaders in Cenderawasih Earth, has had an impact on several policies, such as the existence of a development coordination meeting (rakor) which specifically agendas material proposed by the church.

This also includes the policy for implementing the sea highway program at the district level which involves local churches in fostering their congregations, as new productive economic actors to continue to take advantage of the presence of sea highways that have been built by the Government.

Not only that, in other policies such as the implementation of the XX National Sports Week (PON) in Papua some time ago, the local church has also taken advantage of various kinds of facilities that have been provided by the Government, especially in church-owned educational institutions and continues to strive to improve them, so that can continue to be used after the PON event is held, for the sake of continuing education in Papua.

It is true that development in the Land of Papua continues to be intensified by the Government, therefore it requires the active role and participation of all elements of society and religious leaders. These two elements are strategic forces that are able to move the enthusiasm of the people in Papua to play an active role in the development of Cenderawasih Earth.

)* The author is a Papuan student living in Bandung

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