Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Civil Society Forest Coalition urged President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to avow his pledge to preserving Indonesia's forests and safeguarding the customary communities' rights in his speech at the Oct-20 Indonesian presidential-vice presidential swearing-in, Jakarta.

"President Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi’s) pledge to preserve the forests and environment and make it part of his administration's priorities in his speech to be delivered at the swearing-in ceremony will affirm his commitment," Chief of Greenpeace Indonesia Leonard Simanjuntak informed journalists in Jakarta on Friday.

The forest coalition is supported by Greenpeace Indonesia and several other environmental watchdogs, including the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), Partnership for Governance Reform (KPTP), and Madani Berkelanjutan Foundation (YMB).

Simanjuntak remarked that under the Widodo-Amin leadership, the Indonesian government should firmly handle various environmental issues across the archipelago, including the ongoing wildfires in the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan.

To this end, the government should bring to book all companies found guilty of causing land and forest fires and ascertain consistent implementation of law enforcement against those involved in all environmental crimes, he emphasized.

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Walhi Executive Director Nur Hidayat too voiced the calls for President Jokowi to convey his commitment to protecting Indonesia's environment and the rights of customary communities.

Hidayat remarked that Golongan Hutan, an initiative for encouraging voters to question the presidential and legislative candidates of the 2019 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections regarding their stance on deforestation, has, in fact, paid serious attention to the messages and visions of those candidates on the environment.

However, he detested the fact that environmental issues did not feature significantly in the presidential and legislative candidates' campaign trails when in fact, the impact of deforestation is unquestionably quite severe.

Due to this factual reality, Walhi joins this Golongan Hutan Initiative with several other environmental watchdogs to continue to demand the commitment of Indonesian politicians and the elected presidential and vice presidential pair on forest preservation as forests are truly this nation's valuable assets, he emphasized.

Golongan Hutan has also initiated an e-petition, which at least 32,800 people have signed until now, to demand President Jokowi to affirm his commitment to preserving and protecting the environment.

The Widodo-Amin pair will be sworn in at the Parliament Building on Oct 20. Some 30 thousand security personnel will secure this historic event.

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Translator: Prisca TV, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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