Ernes Kakisina, Fardah, Sorong, W Papua – Michael Manufandu, a senior official of Papua, opined that the special autonomy status granted to Papua and West Papua has heralded significant progress for the development of infrastructure and human resources in Indonesia's easternmost island.
The special autonomy policy has been instrumental in bringing about major progress in the development of education and health infrastructure in Papua, Manufandu stated during a webinar themed "Predicting the future of Papua" on Sunday (June 14).
The central government has given permission to the Papua provincial governments to manage their own budget spending and administrations, he remarked.
"In accordance with Law Number 21 of 2001 on Special Autonomy of Schools, Community Health Centers (Puskesmas) and hospitals in Papua, the indigenous Papuans are given the opportunity to go abroad and become officials in all government institutions," he stated.
Hence, Manufandum believes it is unfounded to claim that Papua did not progress under the framework of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Wawan Hari Purwanto, deputy of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) in charge of information and communication, noted that the special autonomy status granted to Papua has contributed huge progress for its residents.
Development in Papua is so far still "on the right track" by boosting development in the economic, education, infrastructure, and other sectors, so Papua and West Papua will soon become regions that record equitable development at par with other provinces in Indonesia.
"The government always encourages the accelerated implementation of development in Papua. We often visit Bappenas (the National Development Planning Agency) to prioritize development programs in Papua. Now, the results have begun apparent," he stated.
Chusnul Mariyah, an academician of the University of Indonesia (UI), also echoed a similar view, saying that Papua has been progressing well after the Special Autonomy policy was applied.
"I have visited several regions in Papua, such as Sorong and Jayapura, to fulfill my duties. Development in Papua is vastly progressing," she pointed out.
However, Mariyah conceded to the fact that shortcomings still existed for which a reevaluation is necessary to ensure smooth running.
The government must stop employing the power approach to solve Papua's political problems. The values, needs, and interests must be prioritized, so that the country is truly present for the people of Papua, she affirmed.