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Pastor Felix Amias’ Testimony: Korindo Helps Community, BBC News Video is Manipulative

By 27 December 2020February 23rd, 2021No Comments

JAKARTA, SAWIT INDONESIA – A community leader in South Papua regretted the coverage from BBC News Indonesia and its network against Korindo, that highlighted human rights violation and land burning in its concession. Pastor Felix Amias shared his life experience of growing up in Asiki and Getentiri, Boven Digoel Regency before and during Korindo’s presence in the development of Boven Digoel Regency, especially in the southern area of Papua.

“During 1960s and 1970s, we experienced hardship. But Korindo’s arrival has made a positive contribution to the community. There are good developments such as employment opportunities, telecommunication networks, schools and hospitals—it can be said that they’re the best in Boven Digoel Regency, there is also people’s economic turnover,” he said in a written statement received by the editorial team.

According to him, “Other people may feel financial difficulties and hunger during the Covid-19 pandemic while people there are fine (unless if they’re lazy). I say this because I just stayed there for four months from July to October.”

He mentioned that in the last four months, he didn’t see any bad activities by Korindo as depicted in the video released by BBC News Indonesia. The question is, why did these old photos keep being published? What is the purpose? Why is it only Korindo that keeps being brought up, when there are also other companies around Muting and Bupul. “Korindo is not the only Korean company, there are other Korean companies there, why are they not being highlighted?”, he questioned.

Felix said that if the purpose of this coverage is to defend the people’s interest by saying that people should not lose the forest and the forest is also the lungs of the world, then all companies in the area should be highlighted. “The pictures in the video and especially in the (BBC) article appeared to be manipulative in order to stir public’s opinion so they would believe that Korindo violated the law and human rights.”

In regard to the picture of a pile of wood being abandoned, he said that Korindo has a plywood factory, that wood must have been used, but the wood pile gives the impression that it was taken from another place.

It was told that on January 2020 that he and a friend from Jakarta-based NGO went to the land that was just cleared by PT Bumi Mitra Mardaya (BMM) between Anggai Village and Getentiri Village, the place is called WISIBONO. The wood was piled up like that and many have started to rot. Apparently this company has run out of fund so they haven’t started their operation yet.

“I still have the picture (which was taken with a drone) and when compared to the picture in the video and the article released by BBC News Indonesia, they look similar. Maybe it was taken from WISIBONO. To avoid assumptions, there should have been information on where and when the picture was taken,” he said.

Regarding the allegations from Wahana Lingkungan Hidup (WALHI) on the damages for land in Boven Digoel-South Papua of Rp100,000/hectare, Felix said there was no such thing called “land damages” but there was something known as “land release payment or tali asih. The term “land damages” implies that after being given to the community, they don’t have any rights to receive anything else from the company, and it certainly wasn’t like that.

He called it, “land release payment or tali asih”, which implies a “bond” between the company and community to work together to manage the land. Because the community has the right to receive assistance from the company when the company operates. “The company has CSR obligations such as providing public facilities, building plasma plantation for land owners, and sending the children of clan chiefs to school, and others. That is what is currently going on in PT Korindo till this day.”

Personally, he said Korindo has brought them a lot of conveniences. “All of you from outside only went there a few moments ago and threw counter-productive comments, while Korindo and us are people who live there from day to day, month to month, year after year. We are the ones who experience difficulties and joy there, not you,” he said concluding the conversation.


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