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Merauke – Merauke Regent Frederikus Gebze, SE, M.Si is furious with accusations made by foreign NGOs stating that the regent has done manipulation and orchestration regarding oil palm plantation companies in Southern Papua, Merauke and Boven Digoel. This annoyance was expressed by Regent Frederikus Gebze while opening Stakeholder Meeting II on the Development of Oil Palm Plantation and Industry in Merauke and Boven Digoel, at Swiss Belhotel, Merauke, on Tuesday (15/8).

“It is reported that we have done manipulation, orchestrating to gain profit and money by exploiting the community. That is not true,” Frederikus Gebze said, while inviting the indigenous people and the customary rights owners who were present to stand so everyone in the room could see them.

Regent Frederikus Gebze asked the customary rights owners; whether the allegations are true or not, which was confirmed that they are not.

According to the regent, the government is only helping the community to manage their customary rights. Moreover, he said, the President has made the licensing for oil palm industry easier. However, they still have to pay attention to the flora, fauna, community, and the regions. So it would not be done carelessly.

Regent Frederikus Gebze, SE, M.Si said, the investment in Merauke regency is one of the breakthroughs made by the government in order to raise the dignity of the community, particularly the customary rights owners. Therefore, through this investment, the community could manage 20 percent of land use rights (HGU) which is given to the investors by the government.

The Stakeholder Meeting II, which began at 14.00 WIT (Eastern Indonesian Time), was attended by a number of stakeholders; the Head of Investment Body of Papua Province, John Way, the Representative of National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) in Papua, Frits Ramandey, Dr Agus Sumule from the University of Papua and several other stakeholders. The regent also gave clarification about the Stakeholder Meeting I held in Jakarta some time ago.

According to Regent Frederikus Gebze, the first stakeholder meeting was initiated by the Government of Merauke and Boven Digoel in regard to the spotlight on the existence of oil palm plantations in Southern Papua, particularly in Merauke and Boven Digoel.

Regent Frederikus Gebze continued by saying that the government is very supportive of these oil palm plantations. Therefore, if they rely only on the State Budget (APBN), it wouldn’t be enough to finance various fields of plantations. Therefore, investments are needed so the roles could be split.

“One of the ways to fulfill a development is to bring investors. With the presence of investors, we could have shared roles in building the community,” he said.

According to the regent, there is some information about how people see the existence of oil palm plantations based on the situation on peat lands in Kalimantan, and then compare it with the situation in Papua. According to him, it becomes the stakeholders’ responsibility to protect the forest in order to keep it green and sustainable. There is Wasur National Park, there is wildlife and protected forest area. The only question is whether the people only live to see the development or not.

“Because of that, various breakthroughs are made so the people can experience the development. Thus, the government is opening a chance for investments and in the form of offers,” he said.

It is said that from 7 companies, only oil palm companies in Merauke which gives a 20 percent concession for plasma plantations. “In Papua Province, only the oil palm companies in Merauke are bold enough to give a 20 percent concession for plasma in accordance with the Investment Law. We have signed with them and they already have cooperatives to develop on condition that they do not sell them, but owned by the hamlet, customary rights owners and the clan owners,” he explained.

Even more, said the Regent, the customary rights owners from Poo Village also made a request for oil palm plantations.

Through the Stakeholder Meeting II, Regent Frederikus Gebze hopes that every meeting participant will help by giving encouragement and supervision. Supervise by doing a persuasive approach with heart. Not emotionally but professionally. “I hope this Stakeholder Meeting II can be a progress,” he said.

(Radar Merauke – August 16th, 2017)