Children play at a slum area in Muara Baru, North Jakarta, on Wednesday. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Gov't Offers Social Safety Net Program for Jakartans, Issues No Ban for Idul Fitri Exodus

BY :LENNY TRISTIA TAMBUN, IWAN M PUTUHENA

APRIL 02, 2020

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has promised a social safety net program for 3.6 million Jakartans affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jokowi said the program would be made available to low-income families in the capital.

"This is an economic stimulus for low-income families to help them survive the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in the capital," Jokowi said in a teleconference from Bogor Palace on Thursday.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said 3.6 million people in Jakarta need to be listed on the program. 

"Yesterday, the Jakarta governor said there were 3.6 million people who would need a social safety net assistance. To date, the Jakarta provincial government has given it to 1.1 million residents. There are 2.5 million people left who still need immediate assistance," Jokowi said.

On Tuesday, Jokowi announced a Rp 405 trillion ($25 billion) stimulus package for Covid-19 mitigation focusing on healthcare spending, social safety net, tax breaks and debt restructuring for corporations and small businesses.

Out of that total, Rp110 trillion will be used for the social safety net program, which includes a staple food card, a pre-employment card and an electricity subsidy.

Green Light for Idul Fitri Exodus

According to Jokowi, Jakarta residents who had decided to return to their hometown earlier than usual for Idul Fitri – most of them daily wage workers – were forced to do so because they had lost their jobs from the coronavirus epidemic. 

This is why the social safety net program must be rolled off immediately to reduce the number of people who might still want to leave Jakarta, currently the epicenter of the epidemic in Indonesia.

The president said neighborhood units (RT) and urban hamlets (RW) should help officials identify residents who have just returned from Jakarta and its satellite cities – Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi – so they can be put on the list of people under surveillance (ODP) and monitored for coronavirus infection.

The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, said on Thursday the government has decided not to ban mudik, the Idul Fitri exodus, despite fears it might lead to a spike in coronavirus infections.

Last year, around 33 million Indonesians made the return journey from urban centers to their hometown to celebrate Idul Fitri.

The government said it could only appeal to people to cancel their mudik plan for everyone's safety. 

"We've decided there will be no official ban for [mudik]. But we appeal to people to hold off their mudik plan this year," Luhut said.

According to the Jakarta Transportation Agency, as of March 31 more than 70,000 people had already left the capital for their hometown.

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