The Jakarta Post
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo is scheduled to visit Riau on Wednesday to directly observe ongoing efforts to handle land and forest fires that have triggered a prolonged air quality disaster during the last 17 years.
Jokowi and his entourage are expected to arrive at Rusmin Noerjadin Airport, Pekanbaru, around noon on Wednesday and will directly depart for Sungai Tohor village in Meranti Island regency, one of Indonesia's outer most areas, which directly borders the Malacca Strait.
Using a helicopter, the President and his entourage will fly to the location through a route that passes across the Tesso Nilo National Park in Pelalawan regency and the Zamrud Lake Nature Preserve in Siak regency.
'President Jokowi has given close attention to the handling of land and forest fires,' Riau administration spokesperson Yoserizal Zein said in Pekanbaru on Sunday.
In Sungai Tohor, Jokowi will speak with the local administration and residents. It remains unknown whether Jokowi will merely discuss issues related to land and forest fires and their handling or if he will also talk about other topics such as impacts of the recent fuel-price increases.
'After the dialogue, the President will fly back to Pekanbaru via Padang Island and the Giam Siak Kecil Wildlife Reserve in Siak,' said Yoserizal.
Before returning to Jakarta, Jokowi is scheduled to visit the Tourism Market, which is popularly known as the Pasar Bawah, an iconic place in Pekanbaru, to speak with market vendors and local residents.
To prepare for Jokowi's visit, acting Riau governor Arsyadjuliandi 'Andi' Rachman, accompanied by Korem (resort military command) 031/Wira Bima commander Brig.Gen. Prihadi Agus Irianto, Riau Police chief Brig.Gen. Dolly Bambang Hermawan and Pekanbaru mayor Firdaus informed the market's vendors and local residents about Jokowi's visit on Wednesday.
Andi said he was thankful for the government's attention to their problems and its commitment to fully resolve land and forest fires and haze problems in Riau.
'Last Tuesday, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya visited areas prone to fires in Riau and on Wednesday the President will visit. This proves the seriousness of the government, encouraging us ' the local authorities ' to be more enthusiastic in finding solutions so that fires won't happen anymore in the future,' he said. (dyl/ebf)(+++)