Easy Access Allows Further Economic Growth
PTFI Provides Mass Water Transportation Facility
Development of people’s economy is development that promotes the local wisdom of rural areas, encompassing local demographics, socio-cultural and physical, geographic characteristics, and agricultural, fishery, and animal husbandry activities. It involves a pattern of engagement in economic development.
Some villages in Mimika regency abound with natural resources, and three such villages on the region’s southern coast are Omawita, Fanamo and Otakwa. Here the traditional fishermen’s yields are outstanding. These ethnic Papuans from the Kamoro tribe who are traditional landowners in Amungsa land rely on traditional fishing for their livelihoods. The natural resources at hand are endless. But ironically, in the midst of this abundance, these coastal villages are vastly underdeveloped. A primary obstacle is the lack of transportation. In the manner of coastal peoples, the Kamoro make use of rivers for inter village travel and to journey to the city (Timika).
PT Freeport Indonesia as a major company operating in Mimika regency is committed to assisting local Papuan communities in the highlands and lowlands through various programs. For the lowland Kamoro, a number of village development programs have been introduced. These include the Limar (community electricity) program which has been in place since 2013, fishing cooperatives, a clean water supply program, and community programs for education and healthcare. Of no less importance is assistance provided for river/sea transportation in the form of boats to serve the villages of Omawita, Fanamo and Otakwa.
PT Freeport Indonesia has provided public river transportation plying the Pomako – Otakwa – Pomako route, in the form of a 50-ton vessel. The vessel, 16 meters long and 4.5 meters wide, can carry up to 50 – 60 passengers. The vessel serves the route 2 to 3 times weekly, for a single-trip fare of Rp. 10,000. Meanwhile the route from Omawita-Fanamo to Otakwa is facilitated by two smaller vessels, likewise provided by PT Freeport Indonesia.
The event to launch and bless the public transportation vessels was held on Thursday (30/10) in Otakwa, attended by PTFI management, Mimika Regency Transportation Office, and residents from the three villages (Omawita, Fanamo and Otakwa). The event kicked off with the all-night customary Kamoro rite of ‘beating the tifa’, followed by a ceremonial procession and a customary welcome dance. All residents from the three villages merged to take part in the ceremony. After the traditional ceremony, a mass was offered to bless the vessels, led by Pastor Jonas, OFM from the Mapurujaya parish. Representatives from Mimika regency’s Transportation Office and from PTFI management were also present at this launching and blessing of the vessels.
On this occasion, Pastor Jonas, OFM called on residents to put to good use the facility provided by PTFI. “These vessels must not be used to carry improper goods such as alcoholic beverages. These vessels may only be used to carry catches of fish and crabs from the villages, and to bring children to school. The good intentions behind provision of this public transportation facility must not be undermined. Therefore let us safeguard these vessels, and use them in an appropriate manner for the good of the people.”
On behalf of PTFI management, Kery Yarangga explained the facility embodies PTFI commitment to assist residents, in this case the coastal Kamoro. “Make use of the vessels to transport the people’s yield; fish and crabs abound here. Proceeds from the sale of fish and crabs should be used to buy household necessities, not useless items. Use the vessels to take children to school.”
On behalf of residents of the three villages, Marinus Sawakurpi thanked PTFI for bringing about what the villagers had long yearned for. “The vessels are precious to us, as with these means of transportation we will be able to market our catches of fish and crab in Timika. Previously we encountered much difficulty, as despite the abundance of fish, it was too costly to transport the fish to Timika. Now it is much more affordable for us to sell our fish and crabs in Timika” (Hendrikus)
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