President disappointed at regionalgoverments’ failure to anticipate forest fires
23 August 2006
published by Antara News
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has expressed disappointment at regional governments` inability to on-going forest fires that have created thick haze and disturbed activities in the regions concerned and neighbouring countries. “We can still witness various fires in the last several weeks. We really regret their occurrance because all of these are related to the responsibility, attention and leadership of the regional governments concerned,” the President told the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) at the parliament building here on Wednesday.
The President said he had ordered the regional governments to take preventive steps far before the spread of fires and haze in the country. Yudhoyono made the remarks when delivering the Government`s Policies on Regional Development before a special plenary session of the DPD chaired by DPD Chairman Ginandjar Kartasasmita. The plenary session was among others attended by members of the United Indonesian Cabinet, governors, district heads, mayors, chairmen of Regional Representative Assemblies (DPRD), government associations, cooperation boards and the DPRD association.
“In the face of human negligance-related disasters such as land and forest fires which take place almost each year, I have far before instructed regional governments to prepare preventive and handling steps,” Yudhoyono said. He said he had also asked the law enforcing agencies to take firm actions against anybody who deliberately burned land or forest which created thick haze that spread to everywhere, even to neighbouring countries.
On the occasion, the President also asked regional governments to become guards in the frontline to overcome problems in the regions in the current era of regional autonomy and decentralization.
The central government, he said, would provide proportional assistance to help overcome various problems in the regions such as natural disasters, diseases, food scarcities, security disturbances and other social problems which needed immediate handling. “We have to be able to differentiate between problems which fall into a regional scope and those of national scale,” the President told regional heads who had so far tended to depend on the central government to overcome their regional problems.
Yudhoyono stressed the importance for regional government to anticipate and overcome natural disasters. “The regional governments must have high ability in carrying out emergency response and reconstruction after a natural disaster,” he added. (*)