Subject: Former East Timorese run amok in W Timor over not receiving direct cash aid (BLT)

also Aid disbursements begin for East Timor refugees

The Jakarta Post

May 18, 2009

Former East Timorese settlers run amok over BLT

by Yemris Fointuna


Dozens of former East Timorese living in Kupang regency, East Nusa Tenggara, wreaked havoc and hit officials when finding out they were not eligible to receive the 2009 direct cash aid (BLT).

The settlers attacked Oebelo village chief Apeles Bulang and the head of village administration at the Central Kupang district office, Jeremias Mone, on Friday.

At least 300 former East Timorese families residing in a settlement in Oebelo village were not listed as eligible to receive aid.

Apeles said Sunday almost half of the settler households were not registered although the village was not to be blamed.

He said BLT registrations were done at the Central Statistics Agency's (BPS) local office.

"This year, there are only 159 families on the *BLT* list, compared to 320 families last year," Apeles said.

Police managed to arrest one of the former East Timorese, identified as Daniel Do Santos.

Daniel and other settlers stormed the village office to ask whether they were eligible to receive the BLT.

The settlers believed they had been registered as low-income residents, therefore were eligible to receive the cash aid.

"Our names were registered, so why they are not on the list?" Daniel asked.

Kupang Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Endang Syafruding said the police would facilitate talks between both parties over the issue.

At least 100,000 former East Timorese are still living in camps scattered over the province, also known as West Timor.

The settlers are former pro-integration refugees who opted to remain on Indonesian soil after the majority of the population in the then East Timor province decided at the 1999 referendum to secede from Indonesia.

Most of the settlers also said they were no longer registered to receive rice handouts for low-income earners (raskin).

"Not only are we no longer eligible to get raskin, now we are also not eligible to get the BLT," said Mario Freitas, one of the settlers.

"We feel like we are being treated like second class citizens in our own country."

This year, East Nusa Tenggara received 103,975 tons of rice to be distributed to 577,606 households across the province.

"The figure means the number of households in East Nusa Tenggara receiving the handouts will decrease by 45,467," head of the East Nusa Tenggara office of the State Logistics Agency (Bulog), S. Ariyanto, said.

"There will be 5,068 less tons of rice distributed."

Meanwhile, East Nusa Tenggara Governor Frans Leburaya expected the number of BLT and raskin recipients to keep decreasing every year.

"Some people are protesting because they are no longer registered to receive the BLT and raskin," he said.

"But we must ensure the recipients are the ones needing aid the most."


Aid disbursements begin for East Timor refugees

Andi Hajramurni , The Jakarta Post , Makassar, South Sulawesi

Tue, 05/19/2009 3:10 PM | The Archipelago

Some 1,800 families who fled East Timor and claimed refugee status in Makassar, South Sulawesi, were sent aid payments worth Rp 5 million (US$480) each on Monday.

The money was sent from the Office of Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare using postal money orders from the main Makassar Post Office.

Makassar post office's second in charge, Agus Priyana, said his office had served 1,767 recipients in five regencies and cities, namely the city of Makassar and regencies of Gowa, Takalar, Maros, as well as Pangkajene and Kepulauan.

"We began our disbursement for Makassar today *Monday*. Recipients in Makassar may take their postal money orders directly to post offices, to counters we have prepared," Agus said.

To claim and cash the postal money orders, eligible recipients must show ID issued by the National Committee for Political Victims of East Timor, a residential ID card or driving license and a recommendation letter issued by a local administration declaring that they are refugees from East Timor.

Aid recipients have until the end of September to claim their money, Agus said.

PT Pos Sulawesi chief Maman Suherman said there was a total 4,683 households eligible for aid payments in five provinces across Sulawesi - in South Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, North Sulawesi, West Sulawesi and Gorontalo.

"South Sulawesi has the most *eligible aid recipients* with 3,709 households," Maman said.

Maman had appointed 10 post offices to distribute the payments, namely the offices in South Sulawesi's Makassar, Parepare, Palopo, Watampone and Bulukumba; West Sulawesi's Mamuju; Central Sulawesi's Palu; Gorontalo; and North Sulawesi's Manado and Mobagu. Maman's office had begun delivering the money orders to these 10 post offices on Friday.

On Monday, based on The Jakarta Post's observations, only a few recipients had claimed their money at Makassar Post Office. The number, however, was expected to grow on Tuesday, Agus said.

Former East Timorese resident Syarifuddin Talli, 62, said he was grateful for the payment. Talli, who had moved to Makassar in 2000, said he planned to use the money for business capital, and to make ends meet for his family, so he wouldn't need to depend on his children and extended family members.

"Remembering when I first came to Makassar, my family helped me *survive* because we didn't have anything from East Timor," said Talli, who now lives on Jl. Abdullah Daeng Sirua in Makassar.

The aid is the third such payment the East Timorese refugees have received so far. Previously they had accepted Rp 500,000 per household from South Sulawesi provincial administration and Rp 3.5 million per household from the Social Services Ministry, in 2005.

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