Konradus Epa, Jakarta – Jakarta governor Anies Rasyid Baswedan is to provide more funding to a multi-million-dollar scheme to help restore more than 3,000 places of worship in the Indonesian capital, according to a senior city official.
Christian churches, Muslim mosques and Buddhist temples have all benefited from the Worship Place Operational Aid program that Baswedan introduced in 2019, said Aceng Zaeni, head of Jakarta's Education and Mental Spiritual Affairs Bureau.
The program has provided US$10.65 million to renovate more than 3,679 worship places including 1,379 churches, he said.
Funds have also been provided to pay church workers and teachers in Sunday schools, said the official at an event on March 22 to announce additional funding for the aid scheme this year.
This year 11 billion rupiah or $786,000 will go toward renovating at least 65 places of worship
"Through this, we wish to promote tolerance of all religions in Jakarta," Zaeni said.
Baswedan, whose term as Jakarta governor ends in October, has played a role in getting permits to build several Catholic churches which were previously opposed.
He was elected in 2017 after defeating former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian.
The chairman of the Pentecostal Church in Indonesia (GPDI), Reverend Johny Weol, thanked Baswedan for the aid.
"All churches in Jakarta have received funds from the Worship Place Operational Aid scheme. It has been very helpful," he told UCA News.
Rev. Weol hoped a similar scheme could be implemented across the country.
"Governor Anies has shown through this policy that he is patriotic, tolerant and respectful of diversity, which has helped maintain interreligious harmony in Jakarta," he said.