Suwito and Pitanto, who as leaders of the Renokenongo Mudflow Victims Association represented 465 families who have been living in temporary shelters at the Porong market building for almost three years since their homes were destroyed by the disaster, stressed that the victims did not accept nor reject Lapindo’s new commitment, which they said the company could break whenever they wanted to.
“The reality is that the energy company has not yet paid the full amount of compensation and the government is nothing in the eyes of the Bakrie Family, who have ignored the 2007 and 2008 presidential instructions on the compensation payment and have given similar pledges twice previously,” Suwito, chairman of the Renokenongo Mudflow Victims Association, told The Jakarta Post by telephone on Monday.
Suwito and Pitanto stressed that that Bakrie Family’s new pledge to pay the victims Rp 15 million (US$1200) monthly would certainly prolong suffering because the families could not do much with the amount.
Representing the Bakrie Family and holding the majority of shares in Lapindo, Nirwan Dewanta Bakrie made a new commitment before Social Affairs Minister Bachtiar Chamsyah, Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto and National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendrarso Danuri last week that Minarak Lapindo Jaya, a subsidiary of Lapindo, would pay Rp 15 million per month to each victim until 80 percent of the compensation was paid.
The new commitment was made only two months after the Bakrie Family pledged on Dec. 3, as witnessed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to pay Rp 30 million per month to each victim. The pledge was made after Lapindo failed to pay the compensation by the original deadline of August, 2008.
Minarak’s president Andi Darussalam insisted that his company keep the new commitment because of the Bakrie Holding Group’s financial problems.
Indra Harsaputra and Ridwan Max Sijabat
(c) The Jakarta Post