On December 16 President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo attended a gathering of TNI (Indonesian military) village supervisory non-commissioned officers (Babinsa) from throughout Sumatra at the Balariung Pinang Masak, Jambi University, in Central Sumatra.
The gathering was attended by some 3,286 TNI soldiers comprising 3,019 Babinsa, 228 danramil (sub-district military commanders), 31 dandim (district military commanders), fifteen representatives of the air force, fifteen representatives of the navy and 33 Polri (national police) personnel.
During the event Widodo said that the performance allowance for the TNI and Polri will be disbursed in January next year and that the administrative process for the disbursement at the Finance Ministry has already been completed.
"Every time I visit the regions there are people who whisper, 'Pak [Mr] President please increase Babinsa's operational allowance'. As a result the performance allowance calculated from this January can already be received", said Widodo in a written release on Sunday December 16.
With the soon to be disbursed performance allowance, Widodo asked that Babinsa take responsibility for monitoring the use of village funds which have already been handed over by the government which have reached 187 trillion rupiah for 74 thousand villages.
"Tell the kades [village heads] that in realising the use of village funds they must be used in the village, don't let them leave the village and benefit local businesses", said Widodo.
Currently, said Widodo, there are already benefits being felt from village funds such as new roads, integrated healthcare service posts, kindergartens, markets and the like. It is hoped that these village funds can create economic equality throughout Indonesia for the sake of social justice for all the Indonesian people.
At the end of his greetings, the president ordered the Babinsa to build unity and prevent conflicts between the TNI and Polri.
TNI commander Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto meanwhile expressed his thanks to Widodo for raising the performance allowance which he said would improve soldiers' welfare. Currently, direct allowances received by and available to Babinsa average at between 900,000 to 1.2 million rupiah a month.
"Likewise in the name of all TNI soldiers, I express my thanks for the increase in performance allowances which as of December 17, 2018 will be received by all soldiers who will get a performance allowance increase averaging 51 to 70 percent", he said.
Tjahjanto said that the participants at the gathering represent the ranks of the TNI who are assigned to territorial military commands and are in direct contact with communities.
"Because of this therefore, the TNI's territorial function is also a bridge for the TNI as an institution with society in the framework of promoting consciousness of national defense", he said.
Tjahjanto also took the opportunity to express his appreciation for the Babinsa which have earned great prestige.
This includes, among other things, discovering a fertilizer formula which has benefitted farmers, succeeding in collecting home-made firearms without incident through community awareness, assisting in teaching at schools located in the interior and together with Babinkamtibmas – village-assigned police officers who act as advisers on security and public order – successfully thwarting robberies by criminals.
"Our hope is that all of the prestige which has been earned can be maintained and even continually improved", he said. (art)
Babinsa or Bintara Pembina Desa, are non-commissioned military officers posted in villages and wards and affiliated with the civilian administration. These officers provide a community level presence for the TNI's territorial command structure which mandates the deployment of military command posts and detachments at all levels of the civil administration: provincial, district, sub-district and village. This structure provides the organisational framework for the TNI to act as a political security force at all levels of society.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Tunjangan Naik, Jokowi Minta Babinsa Kawal Dana Desa".]