The Jakarta Post
Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika declared Saturday that the provincial administration had continuously increased its budget allocation to support cultural activities and preserve Balinese culture on the island.
'The provincial administration is strongly committed to keeping Balinese customs and culture alive,' Pastika said during the Dharma Santi gathering, which takes place after Nyepi (the Hindu Day of Silence), at the Bali Arts Center, Denpasar, Saturday evening.
Pastika said that many programs had been implemented by the administration prioritizing the empowerment of customary villages.
'Every year, we increase the customary village budget. Next year, we plan to increase the cash assistance from Rp 100 million [US$8,762] to Rp 200 million for each village,' he said.
Bali has strong ties with 1,488 customary villages, which are different entities to administrative villages. An administrative village is a formal government-defined village. Meanwhile a customary village is a unit for the purposes of adat, or customary law, and a community whose unity is based on customs and traditions.
Customary villages are regarded as the most powerful traditional institutions on the island, wielding significant influence over their members due to their important role in organizing religious and customary rituals, both at the family and village levels.
Most Balinese people view their respective customary villages with the utmost respect, and often some fear, and would not dare to oppose the villages' policies or breach the villages' customary laws.
For years, the provincial administration has provided cash support for all customary villages across the island. This year, the provincial administration provided Rp 100 million in cash assistance for each customary village, the same amount was provided in 2013. This was a dramatic increase from the Rp 55 million in 2012.
The administration also provides cash assistance to all subak (traditional farming) organizations, in an attempt to support traditions in the agricultural sector, which themselves are an important foundation for Balinese culture. The administration provided Rp 40 million for each subak.
This year, the administration has also provided motorcycles to 1,480 customary village chiefs across Bali. The remaining eight customary village chiefs will receive motorcycles next year.
'I hope the motorcycles will make it easier for the village chiefs to carry out their duties serving the residents in their villages,' Pastika said after handing over the motorcycles during the gathering.
Chairman of the Grand Council of Customary Villages (MUDP), Jero Gede Suwena Putus Upadesha, conveyed his appreciation of the governor's policy for customary villages and Balinese culture.
'The assistance for customary villages is really helpful for us to manage and maintain the Balinese culture,' he said. MUDP is an umbrella organization of all customary villages across Bali.
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