Discussion Series # 1: Delays in COVID-19 Crisis Policy by the Government

Yogyakarta, April 1, 2020 – In order to respond to the unprecedented crisis which could trigger fundamental changes in the governance of social, political, and economic systems in various countries and even globally due to the Covid-19 pandemic, UGM Faculty of Social and Political Sciences held a series of discussions on “Handling the Crisis of COVID-19”. This discussion series aims to understand the dynamics of Covid-19 crisis response and governance and to provide input to various stakeholders.

The discussion on the topic of Crisis Management COVID-19 is divided into six series using the video conference application platform as a discussion medium, namely Cisco WebEx. Serial discussion # 1 with the heading “The Dynamics of the Crisis Policy COVID-19” was held on Wednesday, April 1 2020 at 13.00 West Indonesia Time. This first discussion series invited the Dean of Social and Political Sciences Prof. Dr. Erwan Agus Purwanto as the speaker, as well as Prof. Dr. Wahyudi Kumorotomo and Dr. Ambar Widaningrum as a UGM Faculty of Social and Political Sciences lecturer who helped spark the discussion. The moderator in this discussion is Ms. Azifah R. Astrina, SIP, M.A with discussion participants of approximately 211 members.

As it happened, Covid-19, which began in November 2019 in China, did not seem to move the Indonesian government to handle it early until early March 2020, there was a case of Covid-19 that had penetrated Indonesia. Pak Erwan’s lack of swiftness in viewing this pandemic was explained by chronology which included the failure to take advantage of policy opportunities to respond to the crisis in the first two months.

Low policy learning, and a government that seems poor vision and strategy in responding to the crisis; the ineffectiveness of the policy message also creates a mismatch between the communicator and the message delivered. Synergy between sectors and levels of government related to political rivalry in Jakarta and the new cabinet of each minister bound by the KPI target; and bureaucracy and regulations that hamper the need to procure goods and services, as well as limited BNPB authority.

Responding to the government’s delay in handling the growing spread of Covid-19 in various countries and globally, Pak Wahyudi also explained several points of concern. It is a lack of anticipatory policy from the government, the absence of clear monitoring, lack of coordination, the emergence of policy compliance issues from citizens, confusing information, disaster-preparedness problems, and weaknesses in public health infrastructure.

“What I regret (is) the Ministry of Health, the Minister even asked us to pray, outside of his authority as the Ministry of Health and not really prepare if Covid then entered Indonesia. Only later did it seem that after that time the WHO Director General also wrote to the president declaring it to be a pandemic and spreading globally, it was widespread that we were frustrated because we did not prepare early, “said Wahyudi responding to the government’s lack of anticipation in determining policy.

Although a little late in dealing with the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, the government seems to have made policies as corrective measures for the delay. In this case, Mrs. Ambar appreciated the government’s step in making corrections. “I think it is an important point that we must appreciate from the very beginning, starting from around March 13, there was a Presidential Decree on the Acceleration of Covid Handling number 4, yes, if I’m not mistaken, then followed by Presidential Decree 9 related to the Task Force, a kind of change to Presidential Decree number 4. , then there is the Inpres on Refocusing Activities, there is Budget Reallocation, Health Workers starting from permits and so on. Now that is the first step at that time the president has issued several regulations there, “said Mrs. Ambar.

If you look back in history, the present condition is a cycle or repetition of the past that occurs. Mrs. Ambar said that based on information that in 1918 there was a Spanish virus which also killed many lives in Java and the response of the colonial government was almost the same as that of today regarding the delay, but then continued to be corrected at that time. According to Mrs. Ambar, in a situation like this we must dare to complain about government policies that seem doubtful about the importance of a strong commitment from the government such as the existence of coordination at all levels and also involving all stakeholders including citizens in determining effective policies. In addition, the role of educational institutions is also important in responding to the dynamics of government policies regarding Covid-19. In this case, UGM Faculty of Social and Political Sciences has made an effort on this matter by holding this discussion series.

After all the speakers finished their discussion, the moderator made a conclusion and opened a question session at the end of the presentation. Although there were a number of obstacles related to audio that were slightly disrupted, the discussion continued properly with the large number of participants participating. At the end of the discussion, streaming of the discussion results was uploaded on the Youtube YouTube Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, so that it could be watched again for those who were unclear or did not even have time to follow. The first series of discussions ended at about 3:00 p.m. WIB

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