Prosperity of outermost islands must be secured: Indoensian minister

Sangihe (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Indonesian Social Affairs Minister Salim Segaf Al Jufri today said that the country's outermost islands were the front line of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI); therefore, there needed to be improvements for the prosperity of people living in those areas.

"We want to see people's financial well-being in the outer lying islands improving so that they don't have to move to other areas but can instead remain the vanguard of the NKRI," Salim said during a visit to Sangihe Islands regency, North Sulawesi, on Sunday, as quoted by Antara news agency.

During his visit to Sangihe, which constitutes North Sulawesi's outermost island bordering the Philippines, Salim rolled out the Bedah Kampung (Village Rehabilitation) programme in Leboh village, Manganitu district. He stayed overnight in the house of a villager whose residence will be included in the Bedah Kampung programme. Under the programme, 120 damaged houses in Leboh village will be repaired by the Social Affairs Ministry.

Salim said the Bedah Kampung programme, which will be implemented through the traditional Indonesian custom of gotong royong, or helping each other, was aimed at breaking the chain of poverty. The programme is one of a number of efforts to revive the spirit of social solidarity.

Indonesia's outermost islands, including Sangihe, have become the focus of programmes run by the Social Affairs Ministry and several other ministries.

Salim added that people living on outer islands might move to neighbouring countries, such as the Philippines, to seek a better standard of living if no efforts were carried out to improve their livelihoods.

The government also plans to implement the Bedah Kampung programme in other border areas, such as East Kalimantan.

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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