goodmorningpapua.com – The Indonesian government has shown a commitment to accelerating equity and welfare for the Papuan people, among other things, by dividing Papua into four provinces and West Papua into two provinces by 2022.
The division of the Papua region into six provinces is in line with the geographical conditions of Papua, which is almost 3.5 times the area of Java Island. Papua, formerly called Irian Jaya, is directly bordered by Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the east.
Entering the Reformation in May 1998, there were people’s aspirations to change the name Irian Jaya to Papua. President Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) changed the name Irian Jaya to Papua during a state visit to Jayapura City. The name change was on January 1, 2000.
The development of Papua received a breath of fresh air in 2001 following the acquisition of Special Autonomy status (Otsus) granted by President Megawati Soekarnoputri through Law Number 21 of 2001.
The results of the long journey of 20 years for the Province of Papua to have the status of special autonomy, are slowly but surely starting to be felt by the people. It also proves the strong political will of the Government of Indonesia to advance Papua so that it is equal to other provinces in Indonesia.
The government of President Joko Widodo has continued to commit and seriously build a just, developed and prosperous Papua Land since 2014 until now.
This seriousness is proved by building various basic infrastructure facilities for the indigenous Papuan people, such as in the fields of education, health, clean water, electricity, healthy livable houses, roads, bridges, seaports, to the expansion of airports in a number of districts in Papua.
The realization of this commitment continues. In 2022, the Government together with the Indonesian Parliament approved the division of the Papua region into three new autonomous regions namely Central Papua Province with the capital city of Nabire, Papua Mountains Province the capital of Jayawijaya, and South Papua Province with the capital city of Merauke. For the Province of West Papua, there is one new autonomous region for Southwest Papua with the capital city of Sorong.
Vice President Ma’ruf Amin when visiting Biak in early December 2022 stated that regional division in Papua was one of the Government’s solutions to create equitable development.
With the existence of the new autonomous region, it is hoped that it will facilitate the outreach of government services to the community, given that Papua’s geographical conditions are very broad. Papua is considered too broad if it only consists of two provinces.
“The addition of a new province in Papua is to facilitate the reach of services. For this reason, new autonomous regions are being built,” said the Vice President when accepting the aspirations of the Saereri people in Biak regarding the expansion of the North Papua Province autonomous region. The policy of dividing the Papua region was carried out by the DPR RI on July 25 2022 by passing three laws related to the formation of a new province in Papua.
The three new provinces in Papua are Law Number 14 of 2022 concerning the Establishment of the Province of South Papua, Law Number 15 of 2022 concerning the Establishment of Central Papua Province, and Law Number 16 of 2022 concerning the Formation of the Provinces of Papua Pegunungan and the Province of Southwest Papua in Sorong.
With the ratification of this law, Papua currently consists of six provinces, namely Papua Province with the capital city of Jayapura, West Papua Province with the capital city of Manokwari, South Papua Province with the capital city of Merauke, Central Papua Province with the capital city of Nabire, and the Papua Pegunungan Province with the Capital City of Jayawijaya and the Province of Southwest Papua with the Capital City of Sorong.
The Commander of the Biak Customs, Yosef Daud Korwa, believes that the region devision of the new Papua Province area takes into account the distribution of customary administration areas in the Land of Papua.
The establishment of three new provinces in Papua and one province in Southwest Papua is to bring public services closer in each province.
With regional expansion, development can be more focused, the span of control is closer, and it is able to create an effective and efficient government while at the same time creating employment opportunities. More than that, it can strengthen the existence and role of customary and cultural territories in each new autonomous region as social capital.
On behalf of indigenous peoples, religious leaders, youth leaders, women, and leaders of the Paguyuban Nusantara mass organization conveyed the people’s aspirations for the division of North Papua Province to Vice President Ma’ruf Amin during a visit to Biak in early December 2022.
According to Yosef, there is only one Saereri customary territory left, covering Biak Numfor, Supiori, Waropen, and Yapen Islands Regencies, which must also be divided into a new autonomous region for North Papua Province.
A Deputy Secretary to the Vice President for government policy, Dr. Felix V. Wanggai, said that the purpose of division in Papua was to accelerate the welfare of indigenous Papuans.
The existence of the new autonomous region of Papua, according to Velix, is to arise the dignity of indigenous Papuans by taking into account political, administrative, legal aspects, socio-cultural unity, readiness of human resources, basic infrastructure, economic capacity, and the development of the aspirations of the Papuan people.