James Marape, MP: My people , my country PNG

Yesterday National Security Council met and we elevated the Covid 19 ( corona virus ) to a National Security issue instead of just health issue.

This pandemic is a cross cutting issue that affects social security , health of our country’s population and economy.

And this is not the first health issue and scare and will not be the last so we have been working to ensure proper protocols and procedures are in place so that this covid 19 or future endemics/pandemic has a national response protocols.

Our response thus far and into the future are;

  1. Step up on our present surveillance and management at international terminal so we detect infection, (Nt: incoming passengers would require medical certification that shows 14 days of isolation) and Jackson’s is our only designated international airport.
  2. We now scaling down flights, as off Sunday next week ( trial for two weeks). And we will cease flights into and out of Hongkong, Philippines, Narita and Sydney, Honiara and Nadi. We will only have controlled entry from Brisbane, Cairns and Singapore.
  3. Four ports ( Pom, Madang, Lae and Kokopo ) are our designated betting ports. All passengers and ship hands will go through same checking and registry procedures as air travellers.
  4. We have now put military on standby to assist if first case is established. Their medical facilities and officers ( doctors and engineers ) will be looked at as places and personals to be engaged now and for future health pandemics.

They gave Taurama medical centre plus 10 medical personals for use in the first instance.

  1. Our health minister has been doing good job so far, his team will report to NSC to ensure that we monitor global situation as well as local effects when and if it hit our shores. Trust account facility has been opened, K13 million has been wired thus far of money allocated and we meeting weekly to ensure humanly what we can do is being done.
    I thank Members of Parliament and Governors who are willing to sacrifice district and provincial funds to assist in this fight.

We will keep on mobilising resources, and World Bank has issued it’s willingness to give us U$20million in assistances.

  1. We thank Port Moresby Gen Hospital , and our health personals for stepping up including fixing a quarantine or isolation ward. We also working on a isolation area at 6 mile and looking at other centres outside of city and Port Moresby too.

We working with PNG institute of Medical Research to also set up mobile testing laboratories in Pom, Lae and Kokopo.

  1. A network of bilateral partners and private sectors are ready to assist in every and any phase of this epidemic.
  2. We continue to promote healthy lifestyle and discourage our people to mass gather in social and communal activities.
  3. Our traditional border crossers are stopped from crossing, PNG citizens are discouraged from leisure outward flight and public servants (including politicians ) are banned from overseas travel for 60 days.
  4. Lastly but not the least we pray to God to continue protecting us and for ourselves to remain positive in an environment of uncertainties.

We commend Hon J Wong and our Ministers and Public officials for doing their utmost best thus far since January when the corona virus broke through in China.

I thank YAWEH GOD ALMIGHTY for protection on PNG thus far. He will still protect us but He has also given us mind to respond and prepare and that’s what we have been doing since January.

As I wrote we have no case thus far, there were possible candidates identified but medical test prove them negative.

Source: JMPM!

Authoritis Take Hard Stance on Illegal Foreigners

Authorities have made it clear that any foreigner who is found to be of threat to National Security will be removed from Papua New Guinea.

This is in accordance with Prime Minister James Marape’s warning earlier to any foreigners living and doing business in the country to respect and abide by PNG’s laws.
Minister for Immigration and Border Security, Westly Nukundi made these comments following the deportation of a Fifth person of Bangladesh origin a fortnight ago.

Belal Hossain who was detained at the Bomana Immigration Detention Centre for over a month was presented his deportation order at the Jackson’s International Airport by the Immigration Taskforce Team.

According to a statement from the Minister, Hossain was operating a tucker-shop business, Adil Holdings Limited at 9-Mile Kela Mountain in NCD.

Officials have found that the deportee has breached labour and I-P-A laws and consequently immigration laws.

Hossain and four others deported previous weeks were all part of a Human smuggling racket that is now being investigated by authorities.
Minister Nukundj said investors are welcome to do business in PNG however; they must be responsible and abide by the laws.

Those businesses must comply with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) Regulations and pay tax to the government for doing business in the country.

“We are executing the directives and visions of our Prime Minister to Take Back PNG. Those that have been deported have been found to have breached immigration and labour laws and have operated businesses under false pretext and are of high risk to the security of this country”, Nukundj explains.

The minister also emphasised that Papua New Guineans’ found to have been harbouring these people will face the consequences of their actions.

All five deported are part of the Twenty (20) that were apprehended and interrogated by an inter-agency team comprise of officials from Immigration, Labour and Police under their operations called ‘Operation Restoration’.

A total of 20 have been apprehended by officials in a joint operation in Port Moresby in February this year.

Operation Restoration by the Immigration Task-Force Team commenced right after Prime Minister James Marape’s visit to Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA) office on January 13th, 2020.

During that visit, the PM said his Government will move swiftly to address the issue of illegal immigrants and their illegal business activities once and for all.

The Prime Minister had issued a warning to any foreigner living and doing business illegally in the country to voluntarily pack-up and leave before authorities caught up with them.

Meantime, Minister for Immigration and Border Security said, this exercise has started in Port Moresby and will continue to other centers of the country in the coming weeks.

Minister Nukundj has emphasise that Marape-Steven Government is serious about addressing this issue, in line with its slogan of “Take Back PNG”.
NBC News

Reports from West Papua indicate more deadly armed conflict in Mimika regency.

The West Papua National Liberation Army claims responsibility for a series of attacks on security forces in the Indonesian-controlled territory since last week.

A Liberation Army spokesman said its guerilla forces in Tembagapura shot dead an Indonesian soldier at the weekend.

He also said the fighters attacked a police vehicle on Monday, injuring up to eight personnel, in Tembagapura on the road to the Freeport gold and copper mine.

The Liberation Army, which is targeting the mine operations in its war on the Indonesian state, claims a Papuan civilian was last week shot dead by Indonesian military in a gold-panning area of a local river.

Papua’s Police Chief Paulus Waterpauw said his forces were looking to arrest the Liberation Army’s forces in Mimika, and its chief commanders in Papua.

A week ago, the Liberation Army also claimed it killed two Indonesian soldiers in neighbouring Nduga regency.

Violent exchanges between the Papuan forces and Indonesian joint military and police personnel have intensified in Nduga since late 2018 when the Liberation Army massacred at least 17 road construction workers.

Source: RNZ

When presidents make the consequential decision to suspend democracy, they usually do so at a critical juncture in history and with a grand purpose in mind.

Would-be autocrats need to have a perfectly plausible excuse for why such a drastic decision is needed.

When Egyptian military leader Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi decided in 2013 to temporarily suspend the constitution, it was a response to political chaos and division created by president Mohamed Morsi’s administration.

But el Sisi’s primary argument was to suppress the rise of Islamism in Egypt as represented by Morsi and his political vehicle the Muslim Brotherhood. Within months of the el-Sisi-led coup, the Egyptian military took steps to undermine the Islamist organization — banning it in September 2013 and declaring it a terror organization in December.

Post 9/11, the war on terror has been used as justification when political leaders have decided to partially or wholly suspend democracy.

Analysts have chalked up Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power grab to the Beslan hostage crisis in 2004, which ended in the deaths of 330 people, mostly children. For Putin, the rise of regional terrorist groups, including the Chechen rebels who launched the siege, indicated Russian state weaknesses; the only solution was centralizing power in the Kremlin.

But the idea of concentrating power in the hands of the executive to deal with terrorism does not come from strongmen like Putin and el-Sisi alone.

Shocked and awed by the 9/11 terror attacks, democratically-elected president George W. Bush enacted the Patriot Act, which greatly expanded the government’s surveillance power. Some provisions, including one that empowers law enforcers to search homes without the homeowner’s knowledge and without a judge-approved warrant, led many rights groups to deem the act as “offensive to democracy”.

Closer to home, when past presidents have decided to forgo democratic practices, it was mostly claimed as being for the sake of great national urgency.

In July 1959, when the country’s first president Sukarno moved to suspend the provisional 1950 Constitution, which included all provisions of the 1948 United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and was the foundation for Indonesia’s parliamentary democracy, the country was in a precarious political and security situation.

Indonesia’s territorial integrity was under threat from regional rebellions while security forces were engaged in a confrontation with the Dutch over who should occupy Irian Barat, now Papua.

Things were so bad that in 1957, the government decided to declare martial law, which later proved ineffective, as security continued to deteriorate, culminating in the attempted assassination on Sukarno himself.

Faced with such a dire political situation, it was apparently easy for the founding father to roll out measures that would weaken democracy.

In 1966, when Gen. Soeharto rose to power, he took the drastic legal, political and military decision to rid the country of the communist threat and bring back a semblance of political stability.

Soon after Soeharto received the March 11 decree from Sukarno, which basically gave him an order to improve the overall security situation, the army general enacted measures to ban the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), set up a kangaroo court to try the party’s bigwigs and purge the Indonesian military of elements sympathetic to Sukarno and/or the PKI.

Soeharto basically founded his authoritarian regime on demonizing communists and repeatedly imposed draconian measures throughout the New Order era on the pretext of cracking down on remnants of the PKI.

While we should not consider any effort to undermine democracy as permissible, at least we now know that for most would-be autocrats, suspending democracy should be taken seriously and not be spurred by mundane tasks like creating jobs.

And from the brouhaha surrounding the deliberation of the omnibus bill on job creation, we now know that not only was the plan to compromise our democracy not motivated by some higher purpose, we also learned that officials involved in the bill’s discussion failed miserably in their job of making an effective sales pitch for the plan.

While Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD tends to make light of the solemn pledge to defend democracy — saying that the omnibus bill’s contentious articles resulted from “a typo” — Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto completely misunderstood the concept of democracy itself.

A typo is when you mistake a full stop for a comma and there’s nothing to suggest that the phrase “…central government can change provisions within this law or change provisions within laws not amended by this law” is the work of a careless intern at the State Secretariat.

And if concentrating power in the hands of a president was solely motivated by the urgent need to protect the office holder from potential impeachment, then minister Airlangga mistook the job of a president for that of a king.

In a democracy, it is the job of the president to negotiate with the House on how best to execute his office. And if the president loses the debate and is forced to make concessions, it is simply the function of the separation of powers.

Besides, if the ultimate goal is to create jobs and push economic growth, the government could, for instance, focus on streamlining and/or improving existing regulations.

In the grand scheme of things, job creation should be a matter of governance, not constitutional tinkering. Don’t burn a house just to smoke out a rat.

Deputy chief editor of The Jakarta Post

Indonesia says 1 soldier killed in ongoing Papua clash

TIMIKA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s military said Monday that a soldier was killed in an ongoing clash between security forces and a rebel group near the world’s largest gold mine in Indonesia’s easternmost Papua region.

The clashes, which began Feb. 29 near the Grasberg copper and gold mine in Papua province, had previously killed a police officer and injured three others. Police said the attackers are believed to be members of the West Papua Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Organization.

Rebels in Papua have been fighting a low-level insurgency since the early 1960s, when Indonesia annexed the region, which was a former Dutch colony. Papua was formally incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a U.N.-sponsored ballot that was seen as a sham by many.

Mimika district military chief Lt. Col. Pio Nainggolan said the soldier was hit by a bullet when he was preparing for dawn prayers and died at a hospital hours later.
He said a joint military and police force was hunting “an armed separatist criminal group.”

“We are on the highest alert as instructed to all troops on the ground,” Nainggolan said in a video obtained by The Associated Press.

The mine, which is nearly half owned by U.S.-based Freeport-McMoRan and is run by PT Freeport Indonesia, is seen by separatists as a symbol of Indonesian rule and has been a frequent target for rebels.

The current shootout in the mining town of Tembagapura has caused about 2,000 villagers to flee for safety to neighboring Timika city.

Attacks by rebels near the Grasberg mine have spiked in the past year.

The Grasberg mine’s vast gold and copper reserves have been exploited for decades by Freeport-McMoRan, damaging the surrounding environment while providing significant tax income for the Indonesian government.

But indigenous Papuans have benefited little and are poorer, sicker and more likely to die young than people elsewhere in Indonesia.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Villagers Flee to Escape Shootings in Indonesia’s Papua

By The Associated Press, March 7, 2020

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A weeklong shootout between security forces and a rebel group near the world’s largest gold mine in Indonesia’s easternmost Papua region has caused nearly 2,000 villagers to flee, officials said Saturday.

The clashes, which began Feb. 29 near the Grasberg copper and gold mine in Papua province, have killed a police officer and injured three others, Papua police chief Paulus Waterpau said.

Rebels in Papua have been fighting a low-level insurgency since the early 1960s, when Indonesia annexed the region that was a former Dutch colony. Papua was formally incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a U.N.-sponsored ballot that was seen as a sham by many.

The mine, which is nearly half owned by U.S. Freeport-McMoRan and is run by PT Freeport Indonesia, is seen by separatists as a symbol of Indonesian rule and it has been frequent target for rebels.

Waterpau said attackers believed to be members of the West Papua Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Organization, ambushed a police patrol from a hill on Feb. 29, killing one officer and injuring two others.

In a second attack, gunmen shot at a police car on Tuesday, injuring another officer, he said.

The attacks occurred in the mining town of Tembagapura in Papua, where the rebels have been fighting a low-level insurgency for independence.

A local disaster mitigation agency chief, Yosias Lossu, said buses owned by PT Freeport Indonesia evacuated a group of 258 villagers from Banti and Kali Kabur villages on Friday. Another 699 people, mostly women and children, were evacuated early Saturday.

He said about 800 villagers from Longsoran, Batu Besar and Kimbeli villages were evacuated to a police headquarters in Tembagapura on Friday.
“Most women and children are scared and feel intimidated by gunfire near their villages,” Lossu said.

A National Liberation Army of West Papua commander, Lekagak Telenggen, said in a statement released Saturday that they are responsible for the attacks in Tembagapura.

“We will keep fighting until PT Freeport Indonesia stops operating and closes,” Telenggen said.

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua remains hopeful it will be granted greater status in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The Morning Star flag a symbol of the West Papuan Independence movement. Photo: RNZ PAcific/ Koroi Hawkins
The Morning Star flag a symbol of the West Papuan Independence movement. Photo: RNZ PAcific/ Koroi Hawkins

The Movement has observer status in the MSG, whose full members are Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia’s FLNKS group.

Vanuatu will take over the group’s chairmanship from PNG when it hosts the next MSG leaders summit in Port Vila in April.

The Movement’s secretary Rex Rumakiek says he expects there will be a decision on its membership application in Vila.

He says a recent MSG foreign minister’s meeting in Suva showed support for the Movement to do more than simply observe.

“An initiative by Papua New Guinea as the chairman of the meeting, he asked around all the ministers whether they want to support us to speak or not. He wanted them to say yes or no. It was Fiji actually who first agreed, yes let them speak,” Rex Rumakiek said.

Mr Rumakiek said he was hopeful the MSG would be granted full or associate membership in the MSG, but he admitted that Indonesia’s government influence would seek to work against it.

Indonesia, which has previously opposed the Movement’s involvement in the group, has associate member status in the MSG.

The Liberation Movement said the MSG and the Pacific Islands Forum were well placed to hold Jakarta to account for human rights abuses in Papua.

However both regional groupings have had little success with their requests for access to Papua to be granted to independent human rights monitors.

Source: RNS

West Papuans to Seek Mass Political Asylum in Papua New Guinea.

By Lewis Prai Wellip

The Deputy Regent of Nduga regency in West Papua, Mr Wentinus Nemiagge has warned the Indonesian Government and President Jokowi.

If they don’t withdraw all the troops (Organic and Non-organic) in the Ndugama region of West Papua within 2 months, he will have no choice but force mass evacuation of civilians to seek political asylum in neigbouring Papua New Guinea.

The warning comes amid ongoing clashes between Indonesian security forces and West Papua National Liberation Army or TPNPB-OPM. Currently over 50,000 civilians are displaced from their villages in the highlands of West Papua.

Over 200 people have died since Indonesian military bombed the villages in Ndugama region in 2018.

Indonesian Military is currently engaged in massive military operations in highlands of West Papua especially in;

  • Intan-Jaya,
  • Puncak Jaya,
  • Nduguma,
  • Lany-Jaya,
  • Wamena,
  • Paniai, and
  • Timika.

Indonesian military is also grabbing land and trying to build its new military Base without the approval of the local tribal leaders.

The situation in West Papua is a time-bomb and could trigger mass evacuation of civilians across the border.

Photos attached are images of innocent civilians shot by Indonesian military in Keneyam, Nduga regency in West Papua on 27th February 2020.

See full Press Release by Central Headquarters of TPNPB-OPM as per attached.