National Traffic Police Head Insp. Gen. Istiono inspects his officers in Senayan, South Jakarta, last year. (SP Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)

More Than 30,000 Vehicles Forced to Turn Back in 12 Days of Mudik Ban: Police

BY :TARA MARCHELIN

MAY 06, 2020

Jakarta. According to data from the National Traffic Police, a total of 30,193 vehicles, including private cars, buses and motorcycles, have been forced to turn back during the first 12 days of the Idul Fitri security operation, known as "Operasi Ketupat Jaya," as part of the government's mudik ban restriction.  

"Since the operation started on April 24, we've turned back 30,193 vehicles that were used for mudik trips," Insp. Gen. Istiono, the head of the National Traffic Police, said in a teleconference with the House of Representatives' Commission V on Wednesday.

Istiono said the police turned back 12,537 vehicles in Greater Jakarta, 4,179 in West Java, 2,170 in Central Java, 6,015 in East Java, 3,620 in Banten, 818 in Lampung and 314 in Yogyakarta.

The Jakarta Metropolitan Police have also arrested the drivers of 15 illegal minibuses that were carrying passengers on their mudik trips.

"The Jakarta Metropolitan Police arrested 15 drivers of these illegal minibuses and a total of 113 passengers. We're still investigating the case. The passengers have been released. The drivers could face a sentence of two months of imprisonment and a Rp 500,000 [$33] fine according to the Traffic Law," National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Argo Yuwono said during an online press conference from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) headquarters in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Argo said some people have been taking alternative routes to avoid police roadblocks. 

The police also found travelers hiding in secret compartments in trucks and buses to get back to their hometowns. 

"The trucks and buses have been modified to transport people. Some of them were hiding in mixer trucks and car trunks to fool the police," he said.

Mudik Still Banned

National Covid-19 Task Force Head Lt. Gen. Doni Monardo said the mudik ban still stands as of now. 

"Lately, there's been a misunderstanding that mudik will be allowed under certain conditions. To be clear, the mudik ban still stands. Mudik is still prohibited," Doni said.

However, the task force did issue a circular to allow civil servants, military and police officers, employees of state-owned enterprises and staff of private businesses and non-government organizations to travel for work related to Covid-19 mitigation.

Doni said the travel exemptions were issued since the large-scale social restriction had played havoc with logistics. 

In the health sector, the distribution of medical equipment such as PCR test reagents and machines, N-95 masks, swab test specimens and personal protective equipment has been hampered by the restriction.

"In the food sector, supplies of staple food, especially agricultural products, livestock and fish have been disrupted in some places," Doni said.

Doni said the travel bans have also made it difficult to send new personnel to regional Covid-19 task forces, bring in operators for vital infrastructures and have also hampered repatriations of migrant workers.

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