Thousands of Indonesian Migrant Workers Returns to Bali

The arrival of thousands of PMI (Pekerja Migran Indonesia / Indonesia Migrant Workers) in Bali caused pros and cons in the community after the government decided to permit cruise ships carrying PMI to lean at the port of Tanjung Benoa to unload passengers. Dewa Made Indra, Chair of the Covid-19 Task Force for the Acceleration of Handling in Accreditation, admits that the positive Covid-19 case continues to increase, however, currently positive cases mostly come from Indonesian migrant workers while the number of local transmissions is relatively small. This reality, according to Dewa Indra, as quoted from the Bali Post, made the Task Force place the arrival of PMI (most of them work in a cruise ship) as one focus of handling with strict supervision. Since the beginning of the arrival either through the airport, the port of Benoa and overland, all are under supervised.

The Bali government do the maximum effort so that they do not become a source of transmission. Bali people no need to worry let alone make a rejection. I handling them to make sure the process follows WHO procedures. They cannot go anywhere and go back to their home village alone, said Dewa Indra. Their arrival from any entrances has been monitored. The government does a rapid test for them. If the result positive the government will send them to the hospital and if negative they must stay in the quarantine places.

There are about 22.000 migrant workers from Bali. Mostly they work in cruise ship companies. The cruise ship will lean in another island of Indonesia however since mostly they are from Bali, the company request permission to lean in Bali as the Denpasar City forbids any cruise ship to lean and load/unload the passengers in Benoa harbor.

The Badung regency has a view regarding the PMI who gets quarantine in Badung area even though they are not come (have no Badung’s ID) from Badung regency.  I Ketut Suiasa, vice-regent of Badung regency said this is not about agreed or disagree (of PMI arrival), this is about the moral responsibility of humanity. In this situation, anyone has to give protection (in the name of humanity).

According to Suiasa, for that matter, none of them should argue about the arrival of the PMI in the middle of Covid-19. However, Suiasa reminds those who are in quarantine should get the health service according to the determined procedure. The medical team should monitor quarantine people so they healthy is guaranteed.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Indonesian Seamen chapter Bali, Dewa Susila, who also a member of Covid-19 Bali task force said that they, the migrant workers, are the Balinese and have a right to back to their homeland so Dewa Susila stands up for them to be allowed to back home. For those who object about the arrival of PMI, Dewa Susila deplores. They keep silent when the sailor contributes about 12 trillion IDR (foreign exchange) for Bali. Likewise, they (PMI) stimulate people’s economy as they bring money to their village. The PMI also contribute to reducing unemployment in Bali as about 22.000 of Bali people work as sailormen. When there is an event they don’t expect, even though this is a pandemic, they voice loudly, said Dewa Susila. The return of PMI follows the strict procedure to avoid transmission. The government does quarantine so they are not allowed back to their home village before they are confirmed that they are in good health condition (not virus carrier).

I Nengah Yasa Adi Susanto, one of the ex-migrant workers from Bali appreciated the government policy. All PMI have a rapid test and do quarantine. Adi Susanto deplores there is a negative stigma fro the PMI from the people. We don’t blame the community who has a negative stigma to PMI because they do not understand how the Covid-19 transmission. We think it is because of the lack of education from the government. So for that, the task force in the village should give information in the community. However, the migrant worker is a “foreign exchange hero” and rural economic movers, Susila added.

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