The newly polished Indonesia-Papua New Guinea (PNG) integrated border post in Skouw, Papua is now being a new tourist destination as ordered by President Joko Widodo. The building that stands as the border of Indonesia and PNG looks different than ever before. Officially opened on May 2017, it was built and designed with the cultural taste of Skouw.
The twin building outer design, a replication of entangled spouses, symbolizes the value of unity. Other distinguished cultural patterns and symbols are also embellished on every side of the building. Not only Skouw patterns, we can also find gecko patterns as a symbol of people in the border as well as a shield design on it.
Second Stage Construction
Currently, the main zone of Skouw border post includes the building which has been officially launched. Meanwhile, the construction of the second zone has begun and is expected to finish by the end of this year. The second stage construction includes the building of a church, a mosque, a market with 400 stands, a plenary hall, Wisma Indonesia (Indonesian House), and residential area for the staffs, police and military officers. The security fences and sea cliff’s fences would be built consecutively. Once the fences are erected, there would be no opening for illegal routes, eliminating the possibility of illegal border crossers.
“The first stage construction has completed. The second stage has reached 80 percent and to be wrapped up this year. There is two-hectares area for the national development,” Frans Imbiri, the Deputy of Skouw Border Post Area Development, explained in Muara Tami District, Jayapura (24/5).
Tourist Site and School’s Visit Destination
Not only Skouw Integrated Border Post is a symbol of a rapid development in border area, it is hyped as a new tourist site. Looking back to the old days, most border areas are usually crowded by visitors only during the market days. Now, there is no day without visitors coming from all regions, simply to take photos around the border post.
In order to anticipate the increasing numbers of visitors, the building of public toilets is included in the development agenda. Currently, there have been 10 toilets available inside the main building, and the construction for 10 additional toilets outside the building will soon be started.
Administrator of Skouw Integrated Border Post, Yan Z. Numberi said that President Jokowi instructed that this border post should be made as a new tourist destination. Therefore, people from any region can come and see. According to Yan, tourists’ enthusiasm is lived up after the post launching a year ago.
“Before the construction, the area was only used to cross the border. Not many people passing by here. But now thousands of people from all area of Indonesia visit it as a tourist destination,” Yan explained.
Most of the visitors come to the border post to take pictures of several unique and distinguished spots, such as the SKOUW sign in front of the post, the red-white Border Post of Indonesia sign, the front-side of the Garuda statue, and green areas around the post as well as the border gate. Some even asked the military officers to take picture together.
Not only tourists, groups of students often come to witness the new building of Skouw integrated border post. One of the groups visiting the border on the weekend are children from Children Empowerment Center in Skanto District, Keerom Regency. Those kids wearing green uniform walk along the border area to the neutral zone between Indonesia and PNG while listening to the the tour guide.
“We want to show the children the border and the monument. Many children haven’t been here before, thus we want to introduce them to our country’s border,” Yusfita, the tutor explained.
Papua is one of the main priorities for Jokowi-Jusuf Kalla’s administration. Through Ministry of Public Work and Housing (PUPR), infrastructure development that support connectivity including Trans-Papua road should be improved gradually and accelerated its development. In 2017,631,3 kilometers of Trans-Papua road in West Papua Province was paved. It covered 57 percent from the total of 1070,62 kilometers projected.
Minister of Public Work and Housing, Basuki Hadimuljono said that the road construction aimed to open wider access to remote areas, reduce costs, and increase the quality of life for people in Papua.
The finalization of Trans-Papua road is one of the manifestations of “Nawa Cita” Program in Jokowi-Kalla administration, which aimed to manage development from the outermost region of Indonesia.
“The construction of Trans-Papua road will be continued and is estimated to be completed by the end of 2019. We expect the impact of Trans-Papua road can benefit everyone.” Said Basuki Hadimuljono, Friday (13/04/2018)
The Chief of Executive National Road XII West Papua, Yohanis Tulak Todingrara explained that Trans-Papua road in West Papua Province has been divided into two segments. The first segment would be Sorong-Maybrat-Manokwari (594,81 kilometers). This route will connect Solok and Manokwari, two economic centers of West Papua Province. The route will also connect to Arar Seaport, one of The Special Economy Regions (KEK). The latest report in the end of 2017, 81,6 percent of the road has been paved, while the remaining 109,24 was in progress and the other 13,5 kilometers needed geometrical improvement.
The second segment, Segment II that connects Manokwari- Mameh- Wasior- Papua Province cross-border was approved in December 2017. From total of 475,8 kilometers, about 145,41 kilometers was paved, 330,41 kilometers is under pavement process and 38,24 kilometers needed geometrical improvement.
The challenges in Trans-Papua road construction, Both in Papua Province and West Papua are geographical conditions, which mostly consists of forest, mountains and extreme weather.
In addition, the availability of construction material is limited. However the central government continue to devote serious effort in using local material.
In 2018, the budget of road construction in West Papua is estimated at 1,6 trillion rupiah. The budget will be channeled to geometrical improvement and the construction of 125 bridges. “We expected that in the late of 2018, about 60,14 percent of Trans-Papua road in West Papua provinces will be paved about 64,56 percent in 2019”. Said Yohanis
Minister of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS), Bambang PS Brodjonegoro stated that the government would accelerate the development in Papua and West Papua next year as stated on the Government Work Plan (RKP) 2019.
Bambang said that one of the five national priorities specified on RKP is to diminish inter-region disparity by strengthening maritime affairs and connectivity. Based on that priority, one of the program would be the acceleration of development in Papua and West Papua.
Listed among the priority programs are the access and quality improvement for health services, as well as contextual education in Papua.
“The other priorities are the development of top commodities and downstream-upstream tourism,” Bambang stated, Saturday (5/5/2018).
Moreover, also listed on the RKP are several improvements for basic infrastructure, technology and information, interregional connectivity, and also the governance and institution.
On RKP 2019, the government has set the macro targets for 2019 development agenda. The targets are 5,4-5,7 percent economic growth, 8,5-9,5 percent poverty rate, and 0,38-0,39 gini ratio.
Human Development Index (IPM) is expected to reach 71,89 percent and the unemployment rate is set to decrease to 4,8-5,2 percent. For the record, 2019 would be the last year of Indonesia’s National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2015-2019.
“RKP 2019 will mainly focus on maximizing all resources (government, private sector, and bank) to pursue national goals and targets on RPJMN 2015-2019,” Bambang explained.
Started from her dream of becoming a doctor to help the people of her hometown, a beautiful girl from Jayapura, Leidy Herlin Rumbiak is now determined to prove the crowd that a Papuan girl can accomplish plenty of achievements. Through Affirmative Program for Higher Education (ADIK), she managed to continue her study in her favourite university, Universitas Airlangga in Surabaya.
Leidy wishes to embrace this opportunity to attain more achievements. She aims nothing less than to give her best performance, both in academics and extracurricular activities. Her top achievement was when she was titled Puteri Indonesia West Papua Province in 2017.
Leidy, who is now a Student of Dentistry in Universitas Airlangga, has been a woman of ambition since high school. Some of her achievements include her participation in Science Olympic on Biology and World Physics Olympiad (WOPHO). Leidy was also an active member of several student organizations, including student body (OSIS), Scout Peace Camp 2013, in addition to her appointment as the bearer of national flag representing West Papua Province in 2013.
Her achievement suggests that the access to education is one of the most essential keys to improve the future of our young generations.
“When I was young, I aspired to be a doctor in Papua. I realized that there were only few doctors in Papua. After I heard about ADIK scholarship, I wanted to prove that a Papuan girl could accomplish her dream and compete to attain the best score in college.” Leidy elaborated in the end of the interview.
Equal Opportunities To Compete
The Government through the Directorate General of Learning and Student Affairs (Belmawa), the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education has accelerated and equitable education programs for Indigenous Papuan to provide opportunities for children who are experiencing difficulties in accessing higher education. The program aims to bridge the Papuan children who excel academically to continue their education to the higher level.
The achievement of one of the student not only a proof of success in educational equity, it also proves that with the equal opportunity to gain access to good education, Papuan children can also compete.
Director of Student Affairs, Didin Wahidin, also confirmed that Leidy’s story is one example of success that needs to be imitated, that the student is able to divide the time and achievement in academic and non-academic. Didin hopes that outstanding and multitalented students will be able to contribute to their region.
“Leidy is exemplary, but all students must keep in mind, that the main priority which is academic achievement, is not to be ignored. Hopefully, other students will be more motivated to excel, whether in academic or non-academic, and encouraged to develop their soft skill and networking.” Didin said.
JAYAPURA, – After the meeting with Wiranto, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs in Jakarta on Monday (23/4/2018), the Ambassador of Solomon Islands to Indonesia HE Salana Kalu led a delegation to visit Papua Province on Tuesday (24/4).
For two days in Jayapura City, the delegation visited Indonesia-PNG border, saw the construction of the Papuan stadium in Kampung Harapan Jayapura and Hamadi-Holtekamp bridge. The construction of the new stadium and the bridge is part of Papua’s preparation to host National Sport Event called Pekan Olahraga Nasional (National Sport Weeks) in 2020.
“So, the Ambassador of Solomon Islands together with the delegation, for two days in Jayapura, they were satisfied and appreciated to the Government of Indonesia for the great attention to Papua,” acting Governor of Papua Soedarmo told reporters on Wednesday (25/4/18).
According to Soedarmo, Papua is now open to anyone. Even the development undertaken by the Government of Indonesia in 29 districts / cities are running well.
“The development undertaken by the government of Joko Widodo-Jusuf Kalla in various aspects. Ambassador of Solomon and his entourage were very satisfied with the existing development. I have explained the development program built by the Indonesian government, and to prove it, the Ambassador and entourage went straight to the field to check by themself what I explained,” he said.
The former Acting Governor of Aceh added that the information told by the Government of Indonesia to the Ambassador that made the Ambassador came to Papua to see closely, what had Government built in Papua as well as other provinces in Indonesia.
However, Soedarmo said there are still groups from the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and other groups, who continue to vocalize the freedom movement in Papua.
Soedarmo said many information related to development in Papua is diverted. The government is trying to build Papua for the better. “They (the delegation) are amazed by the development in Papua, now the government gives great attention, in fact, President Jokowi has visited Papua for nine times,” he said.
He continued, the Indonesian government knows there are groups that always provide false information about Papua to the countries in the Pacific region. Yes, it’s a group like ULMWP and KNPB, they are disturbing the political, security, and economic stability in Papua,” he asserted.
In addition, Soedarmo opened himself to dialogue with the groups. Therefore, the government does not forbid to criticize, but if the critics are constructive.
“I am ready to talk, anytime, with KNPB, ULMWP, me as acting governor ready to dialogue. But dialogue on how we develop Papua together in the future. I am also ready for informal dialogue, may be in a cafe, it doesn’t have to be in the office,” he said.