Bali Daily (Jakarta Post) has quoted Bali’s governor Made Mangku Pastika saying, “Tourism is a disaster for the poor. When the tourism sector is developed, the price of people’s daily needs become more expensive and, particularly for the poor, unaffordable,”
Labeling tourism as a potential disaster for the poor, the governor cited his home regency in North Bali:
“For instance, in Buleleng, when tourism in the northern part of Bali has developed, at the same time, people who live in poverty will become poorer. Tourism also attracts many people from outside Bali to come and work here. The influx of these migrant workers will drive the price of food and other needs up.”
The governor continued, calling for government action to protect the poor and disadvantaged: “With the low income that the farmers receive, while the price of daily needs becomes more expensive, farmers won’t have any another choice except to sell their land. Being a farmer in this kind of economic setting could prevent them from improving their quality of life.” Adding: “The rich people will become richer, poor people become poorer, the strong people become stronger. The smart people become smarter, because they have more opportunity to access quality education and other facilities, while poor people can only access lower quality facilities. This creates an ever-widening social gap.”
Seeing government programs as a way of dealing with the problem, Pastika said:
“The vicious circle of poverty should be broken. Government has the obligation to do this and to improve people’s welfare.”
Trying to address poverty in Bali is not without its obstacles. Looking ahead, Pastika said: “The worst thing is there is no synergy between all the programs that are managed by the government . . .
The administrations are still divided along the regions’ and agencies’ selfish egos, as well as political interests. This is our big task.”
The governor has pioneered programs to empower poor villages and eradicate poverty. The Gerbang Sadu – Bali Mandara Program is an village integrated development program that has provided Rp. 1 billion (US$106.000) of cash assistance to five villages launch and stimulate community-based economic initiatives. “
Provincial statistics estimate 183,100 impoverished residents living in Bali. Those statistics ,tallied in September 2011, estimate the number of poor grew 10.6% from the number reported just six months before.
Bali ranks 2nd nationally after Jakarta for having the highest percentage of poor.
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