goodmorningpapua.com – There are two Pos Lintas Batas Negara or PLBN being a connecting gates between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea in Papua. The points are the Sota PLBN in Merauke and the Skouw PLBN in Jayapura City. During the Covid-19 pandemic, this cross-border post was closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Even though the cross-border post is closed, the movement of people staying atthe border areas of Papua, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea or PNG remains to be going. The areas which are so-called traditional border crossers pass through the ‘rat road’ linking PNG with Indonesia. There are conditions for border crossers as border residents. Indonesian citizens must have a red card and a yellow card for Papua New Guinea citizens.
A researcher from the Papua Archaeological Center, Hari Suroto, said that the Papua New Guinea police were always monitoring the rat’s path. What’s interesting about the trading activities of these border communities, for him, is that Papua New Guineans shop for basic goods to Indonesia more than the other way around.
The people of Papua New Guinea who want to shop in Indonesia, especially Jayapura City, must convert kina into rupiah. One quinine is worth Rp. 5,000. Hari Suroto, who is also a lecturer in archeology at Cenderawasih University, explained that generally Papua New Guinea’s traditional border crossers come from Wutung, Nusu, Yako, Lido, Vanimo in Sandaun Province. They crossed the border rat road on foot. Then take Damri or an angkot which is usually called a taxi to Jayapura City.
They choose to shop in Indonesia, precisely in Jayapura City because it is relatively closer than Port Moresby, the capital city of Papua New Guinea. The price of goods in Jayapura City is also relatively cheaper compared to similar products purchased with kina currency. “The types of goods in Jayapura City are more diverse and the quality of Indonesian products is considered to be better,” said Hari Suroto.
What do these traditional border crossers from PNG buy in Jayapura City, Papua? They usually buy instant noodles, instant coffee, tea, soap, detergent, cigarettes, vetsin, canned milk. Some also buy up cooking oil, canned drinks, rice, and other basic necessities. The agricultural products allowed and usually carried across national borders are areca nut, vegetables, and other garden products. “Marijuana and liquor are prohibited,” said Hari.
The movement of these traditional border crossers has helped to drive the economy of the people of Jayapura City, Papua, during the Covid-19 pandemic. They continue to carry out their activities as usual by implementing health protocols.
Meanwhile, modern border crossers or people who do not live on the border of Papua and Papua New Guinea with Indonesia, cannot have a red card or a yellow card. Modern border crossers still have to meet the conditions, namely to have a passport and visa before crossing the border. A visit visa to PNG can be obtained at the Consulate General of Papua New Guinea in Jayapura City.