* An early year note from JATAM
by: Widia Primastika (Asian Trend) and Alwiya Shahbanu (Jatam)

After fireworks celebration on the eve of 2019 to 2020, Silvi (22) a worker in a hotel in Blok M, had to stay in the office. Heavy rain on New Year’s Eve forced her to wait. Even though she wanted to go home quickly and lie down. When the rain stopped before the dark sky passed, she moved.

Unfortunately, Silvi had to give up hope to rest, to get rid of the remaining fatigue and sleepiness. Arriving at her boarding complex, the flood was almost at the height of an adult’s chest blocking the road. Silvi’s room on the 1st floor was flooded at knee level. Everything’s wet. The water gets higher and the peak at noon is at breast height.

“I take a permittance for two days, Ma’am. A day because of the flood, another day to clean the room. “There are some things that are broken, (including) my cellphone, the one that i left at t boarding house, stove, and cellphone charger,” Silvi told me last week.

That night, when the Jakarta sky was shrouded in the smell of gunpowder, it rained heavily. Jakarta, Bogor, Bekasi, Tangerang, West Bandung, Cikampek, and Cipali are washed down by rain. Not just any rain. The intensity is 377 mm / day. This is the latest record of the highest rainfall in Jakarta and its surroundings since the Dutch era in 1866.

“This time it was very extreme and hit most of North-West Java, causing severe flooding,” said Agus Wibowo, BNPB Public Relations.

Flash floods also hit Lebak, Banten. Forests in the Halimun Salak Mountains National Park are cleared for mining. “In Lebak, Banten Province, we see that this is indeed caused by forest encroachment due to illegal gold mining,” Jokowi said.

This time, President Jokowi acknowledged that the climate crisis caused flooding. “Some are caused by damage to the ecosystem, ecological damage that exists, but there is indeed our fault because we throw garbage everywhere,” he was quoted as saying by Tempo.co.

The matter of flooding caused by ecological damage due to mining was also acknowledged by Jusuf Kalla in April 2019. At that time he was still the vice president.

“Flooding is always due to lack of forest, the forest is a place to store water. As a result of various kinds, the efforts of gardens or mines, so this environment must be protected properly, “he said in response to the deadly flood in Bengkulu.

The leaders of this country understand very well that the resilience of the environment has diminished. Also, understand that one of the culprits is mining and oil palm plantations. However, it seems like that is only a momentary concern when asked by reporters.

In the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) report at the beginning of 2020 , which was launched early last January, said that throughout 2019, the worst affected areas were in the “rich” concessions. Deadly large floods occurred in Banten and West Java, also in Bengkulu, Bontang City, Kutai Kartanegara Regency, Tanah Bambu Regency, North Konawe Regency, and Mimika Regency.

As a result, many residence were destroyed. Thousands of family have been evacuated and remain traumatized. Their properties blend with mud, carcasses of trees and rocks.

In North Konawe District, for example, there are 71 IUPs and 68 of them are nickel mining permits. Besides, this region also has hundreds of thousands of hectares of privately owned and state-owned oil palm plantations.

Unfortunately, after the disaster, Jokowi and his government were also not deterrent. Instead of improving mining and plantation policies, in this second period, he built a mining oligarchy. One-third of the cabinet members are believed to be closely related to the coal and other mining businesses. Not only that, but the oligarchs also fiercely asked for the revision of the Minerba law to be passed.
JATAM found the pattern of Indonesia’s natural destruction is very easily seen at a political moment. The practice of political bondage occurred in the range of 2017-2019. There were 101 local elections (Pilkada) in 2017 and 171 local elections in 2018. The peak of the political bond in the 2019 Election when electing the president,vice president and the legislature.

JATAM found as many as 7,180 Mining Business Permits (IUP) or 82.4% of the total 8,710 IUPs issued at 171 locations of 2018 Regional Election -. Then, 4,290 IUPs were issued in 17 provinces that hold Pilkada or nearly 50% of all IUPs in Indonesia.

Once again, it makes sense if the election politics is financed by thousands of permits. Take a look at what the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security, Wiranto told the KPK on March 12, 2018, ago.

“We, from the organizers, ask to be postponed, the inquiry , the investigation and the submission of him as witnesses or suspects,” Wiranto said.

JATAM highlighted East Kalimantan and Central Java that sold the licenses the most in the political years. The Kendeng Mountains and JATAM Community Network found 120 mining permits in Central Java issued from January 2017 to February 2018. A total of 87 licenses include Rembang District, 13 in Grobogan, 11 in Blora, and 9 in Pati. The peak was the issued of 13 permits in July 2017, only a few months before the Central Java Election took place.

In East Kalimantan, mining permits always increased in the period before and after the Samarinda elections in 2005, 2008, and 2013. Before the Samarinda elections in 2005, only two mining permits were found but increased after the 2005 elections to 76 permits. And now it has reached 1,433 permits after 2013. This figure continues to increase from 2017 to 2019.
Political debt is not only in the form of a clearance sale
Then what about 2020? The practice of political bondage will be more violent because 270 regions carry out local elections. Mining and plantation licenses will be sold as capital for power struggles.

A similar concern was also conveyed by Komnas HAM Chairman Ahmad Taufan Damanik. He said that the regional elections were used by regional heads to auction mining projects. And along with that, agrarian conflicts will also grow. He reminded 2020 is a political moment in the region because there are 270 regions both provincial and district and the city will hold the elections simultaneously in September.

“If you hold local elections, there will be a lot of mining permits along the way,” Taufan was quoted as saying by Gatra.com.

Not only the clearance sale, but JATAM also found that some easy policies and regulations benefit mining entrepreneurs and political elites. A total of 14 policies or regulations were issued right before the 2018 elections. One Government Regulation (PP), four ESDM Ministerial Regulations (Permen), and nine ESDM Ministerial Decrees.
Amazingly again, in 2020, Jokowi is in the process of issuing the law of the broom universe or Omnibus Law. This law will protect the interests to cut several investment barriers so that predatory laws are easily passed including narrowing the democratic space.

JATAM evaluate, that there is no hope for – welfare improvement in the hands of Jokowi. Because the last hope to clean up Indonesia which is reflected in the good performance of the Corruption Eradication Commission has also been silenced. The KPK was killed along with corrupt reforms. So in the next five years, mining corruption will be more fertile.
Yet through its national movement to save nature, the KPK has succeeded in suppressing the potential for state losses. Minerba mining non-tax (PNBP) value from Rp. 17.68 trillion increased to Rp. 24.76 trillion.

For JATAM, 2020 is the momentum for the people to unite against the regime’s bare scenario which will further afflict this. This year’s political moment must be used by the community to ensure that their votes are no longer for electoral politics which perpetuates the power of the oligarchy. (*)