INDONESIA – TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Palangkaraya High Court found that President Joko `Jokowi` Widodo guilty for negligence in the 2015 forest fire case that ended up causing a larger issue from the smoke it produced.
Director of West Kalimantan`s non-profit Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) Anton P. Widjaya said that the pieces of evidence in the field corroborates to the verdict.
Anton explained that up to August 14, there were 790 hot spots in the region with 201 of them in corporate areas. “Based on the hot spots on August 14, 2018, that were overlaid with West Kalimantan’s concession distribution map, there were 201 hot spots from the 790 spots in the concession,” he said on Friday, August 24.
He further expressed that the images from NASA MODIS Collection 6 (C6) aligns 80-100 percent to the West Kalimantan’s investment distribution map. This is the reason why Walhi urges the Forestry and Environment Ministry Siti Nurbaya Bakar to clarify the statement issued by Ruandha Agung Sugardiman, Director General of climate change control, who stated that the forest fires were caused by civilians in the area.
The statement by Ruandha, said Anton, reflects the lack of commitment from the government institution in upholding the law in environmental-related cases. Anton deemed the government’s statement is not backed by data, heavily subjective, and gives the impression that the government is protecting corporations that intentionally burn its concession land areas.
“The effect of one hundred farmers that burn their limited crop field areas and one corporation that burns thousands of hectares of land is not the same,” said Anton who acknowledged the fact that there are civilians who manage their field by conducting small-scale forest fires.
“The legal responsibility is in corporations and bureaucracy as owners of concessions, but why are the people that get the blame. The country should not protect environmental criminals in Indonesia,” Anton said.
Walhi further asks President Jokowi to make sure that the environment ministry would keep its commitment to take legal steps against corporations that are proven to be guilty in order to recover natural resource management in Indonesia.