Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo reiterated following a jog with Indonesian Military (TNI) chiefs of staff on Sunday that the TNI's role is to ensure that health protocols are followed as large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) are eased."Today I invited the Army chief of staff, the Air Force chief of staff and the Navy chief of staff for a morning jog because it is very important to keep our immune system up so that we remain healthy," Jokowi said at the Presidential Palace after the jog as quoted in a State Palace press release.
He urged the military to continue to "discipline the public".
"Keep making sure that the public is disciplined when following health protocols including wearing masks, washing hands, physically distancing and avoiding crowds. The public needs to be told that over and over," he said.
Army chief of staff Gen. Andika Perkasa, Air Force chief of staff Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo and Navy chief of staff Adm. Yudo Margono said that their forces were ready to carry out their duties.
"The Navy force will keep helping in accelerating mitigation efforts against COVID-19," Yudo said. "The troops in the field will help the regional government to discipline society."
Fadjar echoed Yudo's sentiments. "The Air Force will support [the government's efforts], for example by sending medical tools to rural areas with an airport and/or air force base," he said.
Last month, the President announced that TNI and National Police personnel would be deployed to guard crowded places in preparation for the new normal.
Several regions such as Jakarta and Greater Surabaya in East Java have since started to ease social restrictions as they move toward "transitional PSBB".
Rights groups and security experts have raised concerns that the TNI's involvement may result in a "hard" security approach to compliance, harking back to the military's involvement in civilian life during the New Order era. (trn)