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KSP Defends Military Involvement in COVID-19 Response

Jakarta - The Executive Office of the President (KSP) supported the Indonesian Military's (TNI) involvement in the country's COVID-19 response as one of the government's strategic and effective efforts in dealing with the crisis situation.

In a virtual public discussion titled "The Power and Role of the Military in Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic" on Wednesday (18/8), Deputy Chief of Staff for Human Development Abetnego Panca Putra Tarigan explained that the military’s involvement in responding to the pandemic situations are permitted in the context of military operations other than war, as stipulated under Law No. 34/2004 about TNI.

“Deploying TNI personnel in the pandemic’s response is related to the vertical structure needs. For instance, in the distribution of logistics, we have no better choice but to involve the TNI," said Abetnego.

The TNI, he added, has the information, human resources, and facilities needed especially for the logistics distribution.

“In addition, The TNI/ National Police (Polri) have their own medical personnel through Dokkes [Police’s Health Agency] and Diskes [TNI’s Health Agency]. So they can strengthen the medical workers' aspects without having the state allocating another fund to recruit new workers,'' added Abetnego, emphasizing the importance of the budget dimension in looking at the issue of military involvement in handling the pandemic.

To answer the public's concerns about acts of violence carried out by the military in handling COVID-19, Abetnego demanded the public not to create a stigma for military personnel.

"Many cases have occurred where residents expelled other residents because of COVID, it was an act of violence by civilians. So, if we want to push for a change, we have to make sure that whatever we communicate should not lead to stigmatization," he appealed.

Further, KSP also openly encouraged academics and scholars to conduct more research on civil governance, assisting the government in finding the best solutions to the pandemic crisis.

“Cultural studies about what happened to our society are also important to do. Sometimes we don't see the cultural, social and economic context in our society," concluded Abet.