Bantu kami terus meneliti dan menginformasikan. Kami sangat berterima kasih kepada semua yang telah mendukung kamibayar sekarang
Independen --- Since morning, Damanhuri was sitting in his home, listening to the radio in a reflective mood. As a practicing blind masseuse, there has not been many things that he could do since March. He was unemployed with no income, especially after the local government imposed the Large-Scale Social Restriction (PSBB) policy in mid-May 2020.
“It’s hard. Many people with visual disabilities cannot work at all. Massaging business is in ‘suspended animation,’' said Damanhuri. The Mayoral Decree (Perwal) No. 19 of the Year 2020 on the Guidelines for a Productive and CoronaVirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19)-Safe Community in Malang city, East Java regulates the massage business. It prohibits massage parlors from operating to avoid physical contact between therapists and clients and become a virus transmission source.
He said that some businesses still operate in secret while applying health protocols, i.e., using a face mask and hand sanitizer. Even though he is single, Damanhuri still spends around Rp2 million (US$136) for his daily needs. Meanwhile, during the Covid-19 pandemic, his earnings had depleted to less than Rp1 million. Therefore, he needs to cut most of his spendings.
“Luckily, I got help from my family,” Damanhuri continued. Most of them, he said, run their parlors in rented houses. ”Because if [we] are not allowed to open,” he said, “How can we survive in a pandemic like this?”
Damanhuri also received Rp380,000 monthly government social assistance. Malang’s Social Affairs Agency distributed the aid via state-owned Jatim Bank. Aids from the central government, he said, went smooth, unlike the one from the Malang city government. “I’ve only received one time [from the regional government],” Damanhuri continued.
In the pandemic condition, such as today, it is particularly burdensome for the visually impaired. They lost their jobs and have no more income. They could only rely on public donations. “[We] can’t support our children and family,” he added.
“According to the Mayor of Malang City, 100 percent of the aid has been distributed. [They] even [claimed that] the assistance had been distributed on time and targeted. But the reality for the disabled people was far from that,” said Damanhuri.
Some Disabled People Did Not Receive Social Assistance
Meanwhile, Finantius Feriadi from Sanggai village in Canggang district, West Kalimantan, did not receive social assistance even though he has lived in Malang for the past five years. “Unregistered, [I] have not received any assistance for not having Malang ID,” said Feriadi.
Feriadi migrated to Malang after the death of his father. He learned body massage at the Bhakti Luhur Foundation. Before the pandemic, he could have one to two clients a day. “Since March 16, nothing. [I] live in a rented house with no income at all for three months,” he continued.
The chairperson of the Indonesian Association for the Blind (Pertuni) in Malang City Supriyadi said that around 90 percent of blind and visually impaired people work as a masseuse. They have no other skills except body massage. So, they practically have no income during the pandemic.
“We want to be able to keep working,” said Supriyadi. Before the pandemic, every week, Supriyadi handled 10 to 12 clients. However, since the Covid-19 outbreak, his income had decreased.
From a total of 85 Pertuni members in the city, only 40 have received Rp600,000 in monthly Social Cash Assistance (BST) from the Social Affairs Ministry. “The others did not receive any. But only for three months. I don’t know about this August. I haven’t got any information yet,” he continued.
Aside from cash assistance, Supriyadi said his members also did not receive any essential goods assistance either. Instead, Pertuni received them from the communities. He said that he was still grateful for any help during challenging financial situations like today. “Allah will provide sustenance. Surrender. May Allah provide the way,” he continued.
The Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) recorded 1,397 people living with disabilities in Malang, of which 755 were male and 642 female. It also recorded that 18,000 Covid-19 affected families in the city have received social assistance. The funds came from Malang’s regional budget (APBD), East Java APBD, and the state budget (APBN).
Unequal Distribution of Social Assistance
Malang Corruption Watch (MCW) noted a problem in social assistance distribution for people affected by Covid-19. MCW found many overlapping data. So there are data duplicates from the central government and the East Java government.
“People who have died were recorded as beneficiaries. The Malang City government should have coordinated with village administrators,” said the head of research and information at MCW Work Unit, Rina Dwi Astika Duri.
The Malang city administration allocated Rp210 billion for the Covid-19 response fund and disbursed them to several sectors, such as health, economy, and Social Safety Net (JPS). The Covid-19 response budget was 7.7 percent of Malang City’s APBD of Rp2.7 trillion.
Each of the 29,000 benefiting families (KPM) in Malang was entitled to receive Rp300,000 per month for three months. The total budget for the city’s cash social assistance was Rp26 billion. Meanwhile, the central government also allocated Rp600,000 funds per person for 20,098 KPM. Additionally, the East Java government targeted 15,000 KPM for Rp200,000 in cash aid with a total budget of Rp9 billion.
Target recipients of the government’s social assistance were not on target and inequal. Many low-income families claimed that they had not received any aids. In contrast, those who are economically more stable admitted that they have. Also, data duplicates were plenty. MCW found families who received assistance from two different funds. ”The Malang City administration is not responsive,” said Duri.
According to BPS Malang, from the 874,890 of its population, 35,890 is in the low-income category. Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic caused as many as 1,303 people to be sent home, and 162 lost their jobs.
The Mayor of Malang City, Sutiaji, claimed that all affected families have received social assistance. He further said that the beneficiaries were based on the Integrated Social Welfare Database (DTKS). We conducted the verification through the Social Assistance System (Sibansos) based on the single Identity Number (NIK) registry. “I think all social assistance [have been distributed]. [Recipients] just need to wait. There are 20,000 families eligible for the East Java [government assistance], so they would not overlap. The last time we had an overlap of 3,000 [recipients],” said Sutiaji.
However, for the next disbursement, Sutiaji assured that there would be no more double assistance recipients. Also, he ensured that all low-income communities would receive them. “God willing, everyone is included. We just need to validate. [They will receive] three disbursements,” he said.
According to Malang City’s Women Empowerment, Child Protection, Population Control, and Family Planning Office (Dinsos-P3AP2KB), 881 people lived with disabilities. As much as 258 disabled people received Covid-19 cash assistance, 43 people received Social Assistance for People with Disabilities (ASPD), and 201 received essential food assistance from the regional government consisting of rice, cooking oil, instant noodles, and face masks.
Meanwhile, there were 478 disabled people who have yet to receive any kind of assistance. Head of Dinsos-P3AP2KB Peni Indriani assumed that those who did not receive aid live with their families. Within that family, there was another disabled person. “Maybe the father already received [social assistance]. So one family, one recipient,” said Indriani.
Indriani claimed that her office prioritized Pertuni members and that all of them had received Covid-19 social assistance. Even if there is no budget from Malang APBD, she said that her office would look at the East Java government or the Social Affairs Ministry. People can also submit a request for social assistance via the Social Health Center (Puskesos) in every village administration.
“The data from Puskesos are sent to the Village head and validated by Dinsos,” said Indriani. However, she did not deny the possibility of incomplete data. So far, her office has halted the data collection process because not all of the registered recipients received their assistance.
Colorful cloth sheets with various motifs were on display in Adi Gunawan’s office, the Adi Gunawan Institute Director. This particular education institution provided knowledge and skills for blind people in the Malang region (Malang City, Malang District, and Batu City). The fabrics were the work of blind people that were colored using tie-dye and jumputan techniques. They called them “Batik Netra” and sold them at the Institute’s official Instagram account @adigunawaninstitut.
The fabrics were being sold at Rp85,000 to Rp350,000 apiece, depending on the type of cloth, motif, and coloring complexity. It was not easy for the blinds to learn about fabric dyeing. Gunawan tried to innovate by creating business opportunities during the covid-19 pandemic. “Many blind people work as therapists or masseuses. Meanwhile, the Malang City government currently prohibits massage parlors from operating,” said Gunawan.
Adi Gunawan Institute Director Adi Gunawan displayed “Batik Netra”, a product by the disabled (Terakota/Eko Widianto).
Gunawan has been independent since he was a child. Graduated from university, he was used to living in inclusive communities with his limited sensory disability. Gunawan is now a social entrepreneur delving into the service industry, music, and vocal instructor. But he started as a finance staff.
Later, he found that many blind and visually impaired people like him could not access education and skills training. Some even struggled to perform their daily activities. So four years ago, Gunawan founded the Adi Gunawan Institute (AGI), a foundation for education, learning, and production. Through AGI, Gunawan introduced computer communication technology and visual assistance in smartphones for the blind.
Apart from that, he also helped other visually impaired people in music training, learning to read braille, mobility exercises, sensory honing, communication practices, and providing them with vocational skills. To date, he has trained more than 300 people with visual disabilities. Gunawan also taught them batik-making by honing their sensitivity using touch, paying attention to patterns, folding clothes, clamping, and attaching cloth ropes.
Feriadi was one of his students. He was skilled in folding and tying the fabrics. After folding according to the motif, he walked towards Indri, his colleague, who has a mobility impairment. Indri helped to put droplets of dye on top of the white cloth tied by Feriadi. Next, she dipped it into a color-binding solution.
The next stage was to untie the cloth and dry it under direct sun. Feriadi admitted that initially, he had difficulties in folding the fabric. Especially with his limited visual sensory. “But I wanted to learn despite not knowing the colors. Whether the shape is a flower or circle, I don’t know,” he said.
He persevered in his training, and now he could produce ikat clothes with unique motifs. Now he has learned other skills besides massaging. Feriadi hoped that he could earn some additional income, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Indonesian Social Circle (Linksos), an organization with particular concern for people with disabilities, also helped distribute the batik cloths through a network of organizations and social media. Even though currently their distribution is limited to the Malang area, the response has been positive. “The community responded [well], we also produced Batik Netra with natural dyes,” said Linksos Coordinator Ken Kerta.
A variety of Batik Netra motifs produced by people with disabilities received positive responses from the public. (Terakota/Eko Widianto).
Linksos assisted around 122 people with disabilities through the Disability Posyandu (integrated healthcare and family planning post). The organization also provided training in other vocational skills such as entrepreneurship, mask producing, tempeh chips, and milk processing. It is difficult for people living with disabilities to find a formal job, Kerta said. So far, his organization only recorded a mere 50 people who managed to find work at cigarette factories. “There is still a negative stigma in society,” he said.
Some also had not received any government’s social assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic even though they are categorized as a vulnerable group. “Not all of them are recorded. Only half received social assistance,” Kerta continued.
Covid-19 Cases Continues to Soar
As victims of the Coronavirus increase and expand. On May 17, the first day of PSBB in the region, 26 people were tested positive for Covid-19, and 12 had recovered. After the restriction and going into the “new normal” adaptation period, the number had continued to increase. On May 30, 47 patients tested positive for Covid-19 in Malang city.
Meanwhile, the transmission of the virus had boomed in the past month. There were dozens of new Covid-19 positive cases every day. The Bunulrejo village recorded 30 patients and 17 more in Mergosono village. Both towns had implemented a Local-Scale Social Restriction (PSBL) policy.
The Covid-19 Malang Task Force on August 10 had recorded a total of 894 positive cases, an increase of 7 patients from the day before. As many as 65 people had died, 479 recovered, and 350 were still in observation. Meanwhile, the total suspected cases had increased by eight people to 1,786. From that number, 95 were undergoing hospital isolation, 275 self-isolating at home, 74 probable, and 1,342 were already discarded.
The next day—August 11, the Covid-19 Task Force reported a rise in positive cases by 12 patients to 906. There were no new deaths, patients who made it to recovery had risen to 495 and under observation were down to 346. The entire suspected case had increased by 23 cases to 1,809. Eleven of the new patients were isolated in hospitals and the rest self-isolate at home.
Mayor of Malang City Sutiaji received PCR test kit donations from PT HM Sampoerna cigarette factory at the City Hall. (Terakota/Eko Widianto).
Mayor Sutiaji explained that the spike in Covid-19 cases resulted from low testing and trace rate to prevent more comprehensive transmission. “The rise in Covid-19 transmission was due to the lack of 3T. Tracing, treatment, and testing,” said Sutiaji.
Currently, only three hospitals in the City could run a swab test, namely the Saiful Anwar hospital, Lavalette hospital, and the Brawijaya University hospital. On average, the laboratories’ turnaround time for the test results was 16 days after performing the swab. Recently, PT HM Sampoerna—a local brand wholly owned by international tobacco giant Philip Morris donated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits.
“We have been waiting for this donation,” Sutiaji continued, adding that the government would install the kits at the laboratory of the Malang State Hospital (RSUD). It could process 32 samples in 30 minutes. The test kits, Sutiaji said, will facilitate and speed up the swab test. Several neighboring regions such as Probolinggo, Blitar, and Kediri had also submitted samples to Malang to be processed.
“Thank you. If you want to donate more, maybe staple food packages,” added Sutiaji. The Social Transformation and Public Awareness (Stapa) Center Foundation, a PT HM Sampoerna partner, had helped with the distribution of the kit. Its Director Agus Rachmatullah said that the donated PCR test kit consisted of reagents, extraction machines, and health workers training.
“It’s ready to be operated,” said Rahmatullah. Sampoerna had distributed similar PCR kits to East Java administration, Surabaya City administration, Pasuruan district administration, and Airlangga University in Surabaya. It had directly imported the equipment from England. In April, workers at one of the company’s factories in Surabaya had tested positive for the disease and died before the result came out. After taking blood samples of hundreds of its workers, and followed by PCR, at least 63 had come back positive. The company then decided to close the factory for three weeks and had a five-day quarantine for its products before distribution.
Author: Eko Widianto/D02
*This article was published in Bahasa at Terakota.id in September 2020 and supported by funding from UNESCO and AJI Indonesia