“To reprioritize for the handling of COVID-19, we are continuously exercising options so that on the one hand our state budget can respond quickly but without deliberately creating a credibility crisis for our own state budget. President Jokowi has revealed that the government and the House of Representatives are in talks to raise Indonesia’s budget deficit cap to finance more needs to fight COVID-19, which has never exceeded its self-imposed limit of 3 percent of GDP.On March 23, the chairman of the House budget committee (Banggar), Said Abdullah, said the government should raise the budget deficit ceiling to 5 percent of GDP, meaning that Indonesia’s state budget could be increased by hundreds of trillions more rupiah.So far, the government has prepared a total of Rp 158.2 trillion (US$9.77 billion) to finance the healthcare sector, safeguard individuals, workers and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the first and second stimulus packages worth Rp 10.3 trillion and Rp 22.9 trillion, respectively. The government has issued regulations to support these spending plans for related ministries, government agencies and local governments. The regulations include Presidential Instruction No. 4/2020 on refocusing activities, budget reallocation and procurement to speed up the handling of COVID-19.The Finance Ministry went as far as issuing technical guidance to speed up budget proposals, on top of many other finance ministerial regulations to accommodate the change in government spending.“The government may need far more funds to counter rising rates of infection and the virus’ economic impact on workers,” said Bank Permata economist Josua Pardede. “With the planned stimulus, combined with the 2.5 percent budget deficit projection, the government still has room for Rp 52 trillion to Rp 69 trillion if they need to take more drastic measures.”Bahana Sekuritas economist Satria Sambijantoro estimated that if the government allowed its budget deficit to widen to 3.5 percent of GDP, spending could be increased by around Rp 334 trillion.“[…] even after accounting for zero growth in state revenues, which we view as quite sufficient to cushion the economy from the COVID-19 outbreak,” Satria said.Topics : The Jakarta Post has compiled a list of funds allocated by the government for medical needs, workers, households and businesses to cope with COVID-19 based on information from the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister and the Finance Ministry as of March 30. The government is finalizing a new state budget designed to battle the health and economic aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including widening the state budget deficit to beyond its legal limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has rallied ministers and regional administrations to refocus their budgets on health care, the disbursement of social funds and economic stimuli to cope with COVID-19.“Actually, from the total spending, which is currently estimated at Rp 2.5 quadrillion, we can afford it, but if there are so many changes we need to adjust accordingly,” Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said on March 20.
Topics : The capital’s human chain was slated to stretch from the world-famous Brandenburg Gate past the landmark Communist-era TV tower at Alexanderplatz and down into the ethnically diverse Neukoelln district.Organizers had registered 5,000 people to show up, while police said they were prepared for up to 20,000.Over 10,000 people gathered in Berlin under the banner of Black Lives Matter last weekend in response to the May 25 killing of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the slogan was also in evidence on banners and T-shirts Sunday.But the organizers of the latest demonstration posted a broader set of aims on their website. ‘Responsible’ protest Their demands include better working conditions and pay for all including migrants, affordable housing, upholding asylum rights, relaunching the economy along green lines and allowing workers more say in how companies are run.”Who bears the costs of the global crisis, who will be stronger afterwards and who weaker — that’s being decided now,” Unteilbar organisers wrote.A map posted online showed how different groups had been allocated responsibility for different sections of the Berlin human chain.They ranged from political parties like the Greens and Left party to civil society groups like “Grannies against the far right” and the Fridays for Future youth climate movement.On their website, Unteilbar organizers urged sticking to “a responsible form of protest in times of pandemic and crisis”, telling participants to remain three meters apart to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission.As the human chain got under way, stewards handed out strips of brightly colored tape cut to the right length as a guide.”We have to stand strong against racism, exclusion and discrimination. But at the weekend and in the weeks ahead, we have to be considerate and take care of one another” by minimizing virus transmission, Berlin mayor Michael Mueller told the Tagesspiegel newspaper ahead of the demonstration. Thousands demonstrated in Berlin against racism and for broader fairness, including sharing the coronavirus burden, as they stretched a human chain through the German capital Sunday while keeping safe distances.Although the German Weather Service (DWD) issued a storm warning for a swathe of the country, people also turned out in other cities like Leipzig and Hamburg after a nationwide appeal from progressive movement Unteilbar (Indivisible).”Now we will decide whether we manage to put ourselves on the path to an anti-racist society of social and climate justice,” tweeted Canan Bayram, Greens party MP for Berlin’s lively central Kreuzberg district.
Fauci said the daily increase in new cases could reach 100,000 unless a nationwide push was made to tamp down the resurgent virus.”We can’t just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk,” he said.Fauci said there was no guarantee of a vaccine, although early data had been promising: “Hopefully there will be doses available by the beginning of next year,” he said.COVID-19 cases more than doubled in June in at least 10 states, including Texas and Florida, a Reuters tally showed. In parts of Texas and Arizona, hospital intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients are in short supply. New US COVID-19 cases rose by more than 47,000 on Tuesday according to a Reuters tally, the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic, as the government’s top infectious disease expert warned that number could soon double.California, Texas and Arizona have emerged as new US epicenters of the pandemic, reporting record increases in COVID-19 cases.”Clearly we are not in total control right now,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a US Senate committee. “I am very concerned because it could get very bad.” More than 126,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and millions have lost their jobs as states and major cities ordered residents to stay home and businesses closed. The economy contracted sharply in the first quarter and is expected to crater in the second.’TRUMP FAILED US’The European Union has excluded Americans from its “safe list” of countries from which the bloc will allow non-essential travel beginning on Wednesday.The fresh rise in cases and hospitalizations has dimmed hopes that the worst of the human and economic pain had passed, prompting renewed criticism of US President Donald Trump as he seeks re-election on Nov. 3.His rival, Democrat Joe Biden, on Tuesday said that Trump’s “historic mismanagement” of the pandemic cost lives and inflicted more damage than necessary to the US economy.”It didn’t have to be this way. Donald Trump failed us,” the 77-year-old former vice president said in a speech in Delaware, where he unveiled an updated plan to tackle the pandemic calling for more testing and the hiring of 100,000 contract tracers.In the past week California, Texas and Florida have moved to close recently reopened bars, which public health officials believe are likely one of the larger contributors to the recent spikes.On Tuesday, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut added travelers from California and seven other states to those who must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Texas and Florida were named last week.South Carolina also has also emerged as a hot spot, reporting a record single-day increase of 1,755 cases on Tuesday.In Texas, where the number of new cases jumped to a one-day record of 6,975 on Tuesday, Houston hospitals said beds were quickly filling up with COVID-19 patients.Dr. Marc Boom, chief executive of Houston Methodist Hospital, told CNN on Tuesday that his hospital beds have seen a “very significant” increase in COVID-19 patients, although the death rate has lowered.Boom said he was worried about Independence Day celebrations this weekend, when Americans traditionally flock to beaches and campgrounds to watch fireworks displays.”Frankly it scares me,” he said. Topics :
Students in several parts of the archipelago returned to school on Monday, after months of studying from home, in accordance with the so-called “new normal” protocols in their respective communities.National COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo also said recently that the government was considering allowing schools in “yellow zones” to reopen because of high public demand.“We are reviewing several public requests to allow [students] in yellow zones to go back to school,” Doni said after a meeting with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Monday.Read also: Indonesia starts school year with caution during pandemic Last week, authorities discovered a new cluster at the Army’s Officer Candidate School (Secapa) in Bandung, West Java. A total of 1,262 new cases were found at the academy, 991 of which were students.After the findings, West Java recorded the highest spike with 962 new cases on July 9, accounting for most of Indonesia’s latest single day record high of 2,657 new cases.Sudirman also expressed concern that even though the risks of COVID-19 transmission were increasing, public alertness to COVID-19 had been decreasing.”We need to improve the public’s solidarity to keep each other safe. There’s a saying that an outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere. It means that if there are cases in Bandung, Surabaya, Semarang, there are risks of transmission in other places,” he said.Surdirman said the PMI had been actively informing the public about health protocols that could help curb the transmission of COVID-19, but added that reopening schools was inherently risky even with such mitigation efforts.”Starting from April, PMI volunteers along with the Indonesian Military and the National Police have regularly sprayed disinfectant in public places including schools, Islamic schools and boarding schools. But the best way to minimize [transmission] risk is to avoid crowds,” he said. (nal)Topics : The Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) has urged regional administrations to set up preventive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in schools as students start to return to their classrooms.”Although school reopening is only allowed in green zone areas, we still need to think about the risks. As long as there are new [COVID-19] cases, there is a risk of transmission,” PMI secretary-general Sudirman Said said in a written statement on Thursday as quoted by tempo.co.On June 16, the Education and Culture Ministry announced the country would allow phased reopening of schools located in COVID-19 low-risk areas, or “green zones”.
What will a post-COVID Games look like? In a word, “simpler” — the new buzzword for Olympic officials.Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori put it best when he said the Olympics “used to be conducted in an extravagant, grand, splendor. But the point is that in the face of COVID, would that kind of Games be accepted?”With millions around the world losing jobs and the global economy facing the worst downturn since the Great Depression, officials are at pains to dial down the razzmatazz. “We are looking, together with our Japanese partners and friends, on ways to simplify the organization of the Games, how we can reduce the complexity of the Games, how we can save costs for these postponed Games,” International Olympic Committee boss Thomas Bach told AFP in an interview last month.But exactly how remains unclear. Tokyo 2020 has said there are 200 possible cost-cutting measures under discussion, without revealing examples.Plans said to be on the table include cutting the number of spectators and reducing participation in the opening and closing ceremonies. Will they even happen? Senior officials from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe downwards have conceded a second postponement would be virtually impossible and that if the Games are not held next year, they would have to be scrapped.Bach said he understood Japan’s view that 2021 was the “last option” for the Tokyo Games, stressing postponement cannot go on forever.Even the biggest optimists admit no one can be certain the coronavirus situation will allow the Games to happen.”To be honest with you I don’t think the Olympics is likely to be held next year,” said Kentaro Iwata, a professor of infectious diseases at Kobe University.”Japan might be able to control this disease by next summer, I wish we could, but I don’t think that will happen everywhere on Earth, so in this regard I’m very pessimistic,” he said. How much will it cost? Again, we don’t really know.According to the latest budget, the Games were due to cost $12.6 billion, shared between the organizing committee, the government of Japan and Tokyo city.But the postponement has thrown up a plethora of new costs — from re-booking venues and transport to retaining a huge organizing committee staff for an extra year.The IOC has already set aside $800 million to help organizers and sports federations meet the extra costs of a postponed Olympics, $650 million of which is earmarked for the Games. Tokyo 2020 officials have remained tight-lipped about additional costs, saying they need to finalize the organizational side of things before working out the bill. Will it be safe? Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike told AFP last month that she would be making a “120 percent” effort to ensure the safety of everyone attending the Games, but this is no easy task.Organizers have vowed to look at coronavirus countermeasures “from this autumn forward” but the scale of the challenge was encapsulated by John Coates, a top IOC official in charge of working with the Tokyo 2020 team.”Do we quarantine the Olympic village? Do all athletes when they get there go into quarantine? Do we restrict having spectators at the venues? Do we separate the athletes from the mixed zone where the media are?””We’ve got real problems because we’ve got athletes having to come from 206 different nations,” said Coates.”There’s a lot of people.” The year-long postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to coronavirus has presented organizers with unprecedented challenges and questions over costs, sponsorship and safety.With one year to go, many of these questions remain unanswered, with surveys suggesting Tokyo residents are beginning to cool on the idea of hosting the Games during a global pandemic. Topics : What are the main headaches? Almost every aspect of the Olympic Games, after seven years of preparation, needs to be unpicked and started again. Let’s take two of the major problems: sponsorship and venues.Just before the year-to-go landmark, Tokyo 2020 said it had secured 100 percent of the venues for next year, leaving the competition schedule broadly unchanged.But it remains unclear how much rearranging the venues will cost — including buying out organizations that had reserved them for 2021.Another major problem is the athletes’ village, with many units already sold off as luxury bayside apartments.The postponement and continued uncertainty surrounding the Games is also making sponsors jittery, with doubts over the $3.3 billion they were expected to stump up — more than half Tokyo’s revenue.A poll published last month by Japanese public broadcaster NHK suggested 65 percent of sponsors had not decided whether to extend their financial backing for another year.
Former attorney-general Mark Dreyfus tweeted, “If The Australian has any respect for decency and standards it must apologize immediately, and never again publish cartoons like this.”But The Australian’s editor-in-chief, Christopher Dore, stood by the cartoon, saying Leak was mocking Biden’s own words.”The words ‘little black and brown girls’ belong to Joe Biden, not Johannes, and were uttered by the presidential candidate when he named Kamala Harris as his running mate yesterday; he repeated them in a tweet soon after,” Dore said in a note to the newspaper’s staff, provided to Reuters by Murdoch’s News Corp.Biden had tweeted on Thursday, regarding his choice of Harris as his vice presidential candidate: “This morning, little girls woke up across this nation — especially Black and Brown girls who so often may feel overlooked and undervalued in our society — potentially seeing themselves in a new way: As the stuff of Presidents and Vice Presidents.” Dore said, “The intention of Johannes’s commentary was to ridicule identity politics and demean racism, not perpetuate it.”Leak did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.Another Murdoch publication in Australia faced condemnation in 2018 over a cartoon of tennis star Serena Williams having a temper tantrum at the US Open.Fans, celebrities and civil rights groups called the caricature racist, but Australia’s media watchdog last year ruled that cartoon was not racist.Topics : A cartoon in Australia’s biggest national newspaper drew condemnation on Friday as being racist for portraying US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden describing his new running mate, Kamala Harris, as “this little brown girl”.The cartoon by Johannes Leak in Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian newspaper, known for its conservative views, depicted a beaming Biden saying Harris, the first Black woman on a major-party national ticket, would help “heal a nation divided by racism” while he went “for a lie-down.””It’s offensive and racist,” Andrew Giles, an Australian Labor politician and shadow cabinet minister, said on Twitter.This is appalling. https://t.co/rnQUOuTeUA— Andrew Giles MP (@andrewjgiles) August 13, 2020
The state-sponsored National Child Protection Commission (KPAI) and the Catholic Church initially helped the abused children in September last year but later they abandoned the boys during the police investigation. The boys told the collaborative investigation team that they did not receive any legal assistance or psychological counseling from the state or the Catholic Church after Angelo was arrested.Terror of the ‘night bat’Lukas Lucky Ngalngola, or Brother Angelo as he styled himself, from the Blessed Sacrament Missionaries of Charity (BSMC) congregation, based in the Philippines, has been accused of sneaking into the boys’ room at night dressed in all-black attire and molesting several of them. The victims who spoke to Tirto.id on Aug. 12 and Aug. 22 this year, alleged that Angelo would kiss them and engage in oral sex. Some boys were asleep and woke to find themselves naked, others were half-awake, some were not molested but saw him entering in the dark, approach a sleeping friend and heard the sound of him molesting the boy. He became known to the boys as the kelelawar malam (night bat).The state got wind of the case when KPAI commissioner Susianah Affandy received a report about the alleged sexual abuse from the principal of the school that some of the boys attended. Instead of reporting the allegation to the Depok Police herself or sending someone from the KPAI to file it, she left it to an ordinary citizen without any legal power, Farid Ari Fandi, to make the report on Sept. 13 last year. “I felt a strong urge to accompany and help the children because I saw myself in them. I was also raised in orphanages. I grew up in different orphanages, struggling to survive,” Farid told the Post in a recent interview.Too scared to reportFarid said at that time, the children were too scared to make a statement because, as one of the victims said, their lives were in Angelo’s hands. Far away from their parents, they did not want to create a problem with their sole provider in Depok. Most of the children are not actually orphans but rather boys from poor families in North Sumatra, Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara.“I wanted to be with them and convinced them to speak up because no one else would do that. Also, I felt that it was a calling for me. Mbak Susianah [from the KPAI] also supported and pushed me to file a report to the police,” Farid said.The Bogor diocese confirmed that it had moved all the children from the Kencana Bejana Rohani orphanage to different orphanages under the diocese’s supervision following Angelo’s arrest. The Bishop of Bogor, Paskalis Bruno Syukur, referred to the decision to take over and move the children as a “humanitarian gesture”, implying that it was not really the church’s responsibility. (Shutterstock/Amy K. Mitchell)Farid’s position at the time was in fact more akin to that of a concerned bystander. The KPAI first asked for his help not to report the alleged abuse but to find suitable places for the 68 orphanage residents under Angelo’s care because they had no place to go. Farid was the deputy head of the National Orphanage Forum. Other people were contacted by the KPAI as well: activists from the Indonesian Child Protection Agency (LPAI) headed by child protection activist icon Seto Mulyadi, Depok Social Affairs Agency and a Catholic nun who has experience in running an orphanage.After attending one meeting with the Depok Police, Susianah apparently left Farid to deal with the investigation alone. Asked for confirmation, Susianah told the reporting team to call the KPAI head, Susanto, who declined to talk to the Post because he claimed to be too busy. The team contacted KPAI commissioner Putu Elvina but she refused to delve into the case in September and went on to explain that the KPAI had contacted the police again and would pursue the investigation.The Depok Police investigation in September appeared to set itself up for failure from the beginning. Even though Angelo made a documented confession that he had molested some of the boys, the police said they could not bring Angelo to court. The police said the prosecutor’s office wanted them to add more statements from the victims and witnesses but they could not find the three boys who had made the original police reports.Due to his lack of formal standing in the case, Farid did not have constant information about the boys’ whereabouts. Other than Farid, the children had no legal representative nor did they get any psychological counselling after their trauma. The last time that Farid met the three boys who were ready to speak up was at the police office when they filed official statements and were about to undergo a physical examination. But the police only examined one of the three because they were then picked up by someone. The police did not elaborate as to who it was that picked the boys up.Read also: Justice delayed, denied for victims of sexual abuse in Catholic ChurchThe head of the Depok Police’s criminal investigation department Wadi Sabani claimed that they received information that the three children had all gone back to their hometown in North Sumatra so they could not complete the dossiers as requested by the prosecutors. Other sources said the boys were actually being moved by the Catholic Church to an orphanage in Puncak in Bogor, West Java, and another one in Central Jakarta.Wadi recalled that even before the three boys were picked up and later scattered unable to be contacted again, they had retracted their reports against Angelo, citing a “debt of gratitude to Angelo” as the reason.“The suspect [Angelo] financially supported them from the first day they arrived here [in Depok]. They were aware that no one would take care of them and others at the orphanage after we arrested [Angelo]. They knew that no one would pay the rent or their school fees. Therefore, each of them eventually made a statement that they had forgiven [Angelo] because they owed him a debt of gratitude,” Wadi said.Farid said to his knowledge, even though Angelo was in detention, he was still a financial supporter of the children while they were under the care of Angelo’s acquaintance, Darius Rebong.The role of Bogor DioceseAfter Angelo was arrested and detained on Sept. 14, the Bogor diocese and the parish churches near the Kencana Bejana Rohani orphanage took care of the rest of the children for about two weeks after his detention. But the diocese did not inform Farid and the police about the children’s whereabouts, thus stymieing the police investigation, and when Farid and his wife, child protection activist Ilma Sovri Yanti Ilyas, called an official from the diocese’s legal division, both were dismissed as having no legal standing in the case. “Who are you? From what institution? We only want to deal with the LPAI,” the official said as quoted by Ilma, referring to Seto’s institution.The Bogor diocese confirmed that it had moved all the children from the Kencana Bejana Rohani orphanage to different orphanages under the diocese’s supervision following Angelo’s arrest. The Bishop of Bogor, Paskalis Bruno Syukur, referred to the decision to take over and move the children as a “humanitarian gesture”, implying that it was not really the church’s responsibility. The decision was made after the diocese received reports from church members about the children’s miserable conditions after being abandoned by their sole guardian, Angelo.Read also: ‘The Church betrays us’: More Catholic school abuse victims speak upSpeaking to two journalists from the Post and Tirto.id recently at the Bogor diocese meeting room, Bishop Paskalis said his office did not know anything about Farid, having heard about the case from the KPAI. Paskalis’ explanation was iterated several times by the eight lawyers and consultants from the diocese’s legal team, as well as four other priests, who accompanied Paskalis during the interview.A member of the legal team, Agus Setya Purwoko, said the diocese was informed that the KPAI was the party that filed the report against Angelo to the police. “We have never heard of the name Farid until today,” he said. Later during the interview Paskalis and his team said they did not want to concern themselves with the legal process against Angelo saying, “that’s their [Farid and the KPAI’s] business”.Diocese washes its hands of AngeloThe diocese has insisted that the matter is not its problem because it believes that Angelo was not a real Catholic brother given that his congregation, the BSMC, is not an officially recognized order.In a letter dated Sept. 19, five days after Angelo was detained, the diocese wrote a letter to Catholics in their jurisdiction. Signed and stamped, by among others Bishop Paskalis, the letter said that since April 2019, the diocese had asked Angelo to stop referring to himself as bruder (brother) and to stop wearing the attire of a brother in a Catholic order. “But he broke his promises,” the letter said. “Because of that, all his actions and the consequences are his personal responsibility to be answered for by him according to the laws of the State and of the Church,” the letter said.However, when asked further if the diocese formally made clear the status of Angelo to members of the parish to stop him from misusing his assumed priestly identity to collect money to support his orphanage, Father Yohannes Driyanto, one of the priests who sat with Paskalis, said that it was unnecessary as it was “a matter of internal business”.“We cannot prohibit people who have good intentions from helping. So, we wouldn’t go out there and announce ‘Hey Catholics, don’t support him [Angelo]’. But we would inform those who came to seek information before making any donation. We would say please go ahead to help but do know that he [Angelo] is not a [Catholic] brother,” Driyanto said.The diocese also did not explain what happened in April last year that led the diocese to denounce the BSMC. It also said that a picture of Bishop Paskalis posing with Angelo and children from the orphanage, published in March last year on the website version of the most renowned Catholic publication in the country, Hidup magazine, was not really a sign of approval of the orphanage. “As a bishop I can’t reject any requests to take a photo with me. It’s the same when Angelo asked to take a photograph with me in it,” Paskalis said.Angelo told Hidup that the bishop let him open the orphanage on May 18, 2015 for a three-month probationary period. According to the orphanage’s legal document the Post obtained from the Law and Human Rights Ministry, Lukas Lucky Ngalngola opened the Kencana Bejana Rohani in December 2015. Bishop Paskalis denied Angelo’s claim, saying that he only permitted him to teach English and not to open an orphanage. (Courtesy of/www.hidupkatolik.com)Angelo told Hidup that the bishop let him open the orphanage on May 18, 2015 for a three-month probationary period. According to the orphanage’s legal document the Post obtained from the Law and Human Rights Ministry, Lukas Lucky Ngalngola opened the Kencana Bejana Rohani in December 2015.Bishop Paskalis denied Angelo’s claim, saying that he only permitted him to teach English and not to open an orphanage.Investigation faltersOn Dec. 17, 2019, approaching the end of the three-month period when the police can detain someone before the case must go to court, the dossiers had yet to be accepted by the prosecutor’s office, the police called Farid and asked him to withdraw his report.Farid said before he made the difficult decision he was constantly called by the police, which he referred to as “horrifying and intimidating”. Farid could not hold back his tears when he told the Post how he felt abandoned by all relevant institutions, including the KPAI, which at first encouraged him to go through the legal process.“The police called me every single day for a month. I fully understood that that was the way they worked. I tried to discuss the matter with Mbak Susianah [from the KPAI], but to no avail. I was even accused of taking bribes from the police [to drop the case],” Farid said, his voice breaking.Read also: Catholic Church excludes adult women in talks about protecting sexual abuse victimsTo help him with the police case, he created a WhatsApp group comprising representatives from state institutions in charge of child protection issues including the KPAI, the Social Affairs Ministry and the Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry, in addition to a number of other non-state child protection agencies as well as activists, to maintain communications and to obtain support. But none of them backed him when dealing with the police investigation, despite having been informed about the progress of the case.“I was so exhausted. In the end, I didn’t respond to the police calls anymore. I just went to the police and withdrew my report. I had informed the state. I provided all information about what was going on to the relevant ministries but they abandoned me,” he said. “I cried when I signed the papers, thinking about those children.”The fate of the childrenAfter spending two weeks in two separate Catholic orphanages, a cook in the old orphanage, Sinta, told Bogor Diocese that the children needed to continue their studies in their schools in Depok. Some of the children then returned to the orphanage where they are now looked after by Darius Rebong, Angelo’s acquaintance.Darius said that Agus from the Bogor Diocese legal division told Sinta to look for a place to rent to accommodate the children. Sinta found that Darius had spare space in his house so the diocese paid Darius Rp 50 million (US$3,399) to rent his place for the children for four months. Later in November, Darius asked the Bogor Diocese to hand over the children fully to him and he later set up a foundation for the orphanage.Bogor Diocese said it let Darius take over the children and start the new orphanage because Darius said he “had an agreement with Angelo” that the children would be under his care. Darius confirmed that he and Angelo had an agreement, showing Tirto.id and the Post a letter, handwritten by Angelo, stating that from Oct. 14 Angelo would no longer be the guardian of the children and devolving the responsibility to Darius.There are now 44 children in Darius’ orphanage and in early August Darius broadcast a message to Catholics in Depok to help the children because they did not have enough money to feed the children and to pay for their education.Read also: Time for Catholic Church to decide which side of history it is onBishop Paskalis, whom Darius met in person to express his intentions, said that he could do nothing other than to take the children off his hands after failing to convince Darius to work with the church in the care of the children.“We offered to take care of the children together but he insisted on going solo. Thus, we absolved ourselves of the matter, including in regard to the nature of their [Darius and Angelo’s] relationship. Later on, we found out that he [Darius] had set up his own foundation,” Paskalis said. The bishop claimed the diocese had planned to provide counseling and other essential services for the children but after Darius took the children, they dropped that plan.Darius and the five interviewed victims confirm that they never received any counseling services from the church. “I don’t understand why the Bogor diocese doesn’t want to give counseling to help the children. Maybe they are helping them through their prayers,” he said.Topics : A proverb says that it takes a village to raise a child but oftentimes, it takes only a person to ruin a child’s life and in Depok, West Java, a whole community of powerful adults seems to have abandoned children who were allegedly molested in a locally run Catholic orphanage.Far away from their parents, with no one to look after them except for the head of the orphanage, known as Brother Angelo Ngalngola, the alleged molester himself, the children cried out for help. A collaborative team between The Jakarta Post and Tirto.id has uncovered facts that confirm that both the state and the Catholic Church heard the boys’ cries but washed their hands of them, allowing the suspect to walk free from police detention to celebrate Christmas, and a few months later set up a new orphanage and live among vulnerable boys again.In September last year, Brother Angelo, the head of the Kencana Bejana Rohani orphanage, was arrested by Depok Police for the alleged sexual abuse of several boys. The police released him in December after they failed to complete the dossiers for the prosecutors’ office to bring the case to court. As of August, Angelo was still the head of a new orphanage, albeit having changed his name to Brother Geovanny Ngalngola and was living among more than 20 children under his care.
Bhutan, the remote Himalayan kingdom famous for measuring gross national happiness, on Tuesday took the first steps to lift its coronavirus lockdown, saying there was limited community transmission.The country of 750,000 people between India and China — one of the few nations in the world that have yet to register a virus death — has so far recorded 225 infections.”Experiences in many countries reveal a surge in Covid-19 cases, mostly detected in the second week of post-lockdown,” Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, a doctor who continues to practice on weekends, said in a television address late Monday. “Which is why our re-opening strategies should be gradual.”The shutdown was first imposed in early August after a Bhutanese woman tested positive after interacting extensively within the community. She had earlier tested negative.The health ministry said the lockdown was being gradually lifted as there had been an uptick in cases in recent days but no widespread community outbreak.It added that most new cases were from confined clusters or quarantine facilities where Bhutanese returning from overseas have to stay for 24 days. Under the new guidelines, people will be allowed to leave their homes for non-essential activities like walking from Tuesday to Thursday.In the following three days, public transport would resume. Private travel would be allowed after that.If there is no major outbreak, the government would further relax other restrictions.International flights to the isolated nation remain suspended. Topics :
Other nations with more limited resources have opted to band together under multilateral initiatives to procure future vaccines or have secured bilateral agreements with vaccine-producing countries.Read also: New reckoning for WHO vaccine plan as governments go it aloneIndonesia is no exception, as it has ordered 30 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine for delivery by the yearend and up to 340 million doses for delivery next year in deals with China and the United Arab Emirates.The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the ideal goal was for each country to receive enough vaccines to inoculate 20 percent of its population, starting with health workers and the most vulnerable groups regardless of nationality. Retno said that meeting domestic needs and securing access to affordable vaccines could go hand in hand, highlighting that a global effort was necessary to overcome and recover from the pandemic together.“[The FPGH] must continue to stand behind multilateral initiatives such as the global allocation framework [of] the COVAX Facility to speed up vaccine development and ensure equitable and fair allocation,” she said. “No one and no country should be left behind.”The COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) is an initiative led by the Gavi vaccine alliance in coordination with the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to purchase 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for equitable distribution to countries around the world in 2021. It has secured 300 million doses to date, reports AFP.WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who attended Thursday’s FPGH meeting, said that the COVAX effort had only managed to secure less than 10 percent of global needs.He also underscored the danger of “vaccine nationalism” in compromising equitable access to future COVID-19 vaccines for all countries.Read also: Efficacy and safety first: Experts urge government not to put vaccines on pedestal”Once we have an effective COVID-19 vaccine, it’s vital that we also use it effectively. And the best way to do that is to ensure that some people in all countries receive it, rather than all people in some countries,” Ghebreyesus tweeted.The head of the global health authority lauded Indonesia’s efforts as the 2020 FPGH chair in advocating for “affordable health care for all”.The FPGH comprises Brazil, France, Indonesia, Norway, Senegal, South Africa and Thailand. Established in 2006, the forum has agreed to fully support global efforts to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic through global health and foreign policy harmonization.In a related development, Retno also attended the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Thursday, during which representatives of the world’s top economies sought international cooperation over easing travel restrictions and reopening borders.Read also: G20 foreign ministers discuss easing travel restrictions“This effort needs collective global leadership. Efforts to revive and reconnect our economic cooperation must be supported, [but] without sacrificing strict health protocols,” the minister said in her remarks.During the meeting, the ministers discussed the “importance of coordinating precautionary measures” across borders to protect lives and livelihoods, the G20 said in a joint statement following a virtual meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia.Topics : Indonesia has called on fellow members of the seven-nation Foreign Policy and Global Health (FPGH) forum to push for equitable access to vaccines, especially at a time when poorer countries may lose out to their richer neighbors in securing access to any future COVID-19 vaccines.“Meeting the domestic need for vaccines is a necessity, but we must not do so at the expense of others. […] We must be a positive force for accessible and affordable vaccines for all,” Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said in an official transcript of the forum’s virtual meeting on Thursday.Retno’s remarks come as a number of developed countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, European Union members, Canada and Japan, have reserved an estimated 3.1 billion doses of experimental vaccines for themselves, before the clinical trials have even finished.
A key indicator, the rolling 14-day average, fell to 18.2, tracking ahead of state government expectations, officials said.”That continuous improvement will serve us well as we continue to open up,” premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Tuesday. “This strategy is working (and) is delivering us those lower numbers.”Meanwhile, the state of Western Australia reported 8 new coronavirus infections, following a small outbreak on a cargo ship that arrived from the Philippines earlier this month.The state had zero or low single digit daily virus infections for weeks before reporting on Sunday infections among workers on the bulk carrier moored off the iron ore export hub of Port Hedland.A total of 17 crew members of the Patricia Oldendorff have tested positive for the virus, and are quarantining on the vessel or onshore, the company said in a statement.Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, reported two new infections on Tuesday, both returned travelers who were already quarantining in hotels. The state has not had any locally acquired cases in four days, officials said.Topics : Australia’s coronavirus hotspot state of Victoria on Tuesday reported 10 new infections in the past 24 hours, turning around a second contagion wave that only last month was infecting over 700 people every day.The country’s second most populous state has paid a high price to contain the spread of the virus, placing nearly 5 million residents of its capital Melbourne under one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns since early August.The state, which accounts for the bulk of the country’s over 27,000 infections, and 882 deaths, on Sunday lifted some of the restrictions, including nightly curfews.