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TNI Anniversary: Unite and fight alongside people against pandemic

TNI Anniversary: Unite and fight alongside people against pandemic

The Indonesian Air Force conducts vaccination drive in Berau, East Kalimantan on October 6-9, 2021. (ANTARA/HO-TNI - Dhomber Air Force Base)

On October 5 this year, the Indonesian National Defense Force (TNI) celebrated its 76th anniversary, just a few months apart from the anniversary of the Proclamation of Indonesian independence.

On October 5, 1945, the TNI was born with the background of the People's Security Army (TKR). The TNI -- with the strength of its three forces -- the army, navy, and air force -- has guarded the long history of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

This year, the commemoration of the 76th anniversary of the TNI bears the theme "Bersatu, Berjuang Kita Pasti Menang" (United, Fighting, We will win).

This theme truly aligns with the history of the TNI that has always stood united with the people and fought to always safeguard Indonesia's independence.

In commemorating the 76th anniversary of the Indonesian Military, TNI Commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto urged all TNI soldiers to continue to boost professionalism and unity with the people.

He affirmed that the professionalism and dedication of TNI showcase its loyalty to the Indonesian nation and state.

"TNI's loyalty has also been manifested in carrying out the task of dealing with increasingly complex threats," Tjahjanto affirmed.

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Roles amid pandemic

In fact, such loyalty is also mirrored through the role of TNI soldiers in handling the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first role fulfilled by TNI at the onset of handling COVID-19 cases was to evacuate hundreds of Indonesian citizens in Wuhan, China, where the first COVID-19 cases were reported.

The Indonesian Air Force, with all of its equipment, worked to evacuate the Indonesian people to return to Indonesia from China.

When they arrived in Indonesia, TNI soldiers were still guarding the evacuated Indonesian citizens to Natuna Island, Riau Islands. The Navy base in the island was used as a place of isolation to ensure the safety of those evacuated Indonesians before they meet their families.

In the midst of the pandemic, the TNI continues to fulfil its duties of caring for hundreds of Indonesian ship crew members -- who returned from abroad -- to undergo COVID-19 isolation on Sebaru Kecil Island, Seribu Islands in Jakarta Province.

At that time, the Navy soldiers worked to ensure that all processes ran in accordance with the standard operating procedures of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Furthermore, TNI soldiers worked to provide more hospital beds and quarantine places amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the capital city.

At that time, TNI soldiers had mobilized their resources to ensure the readiness to use the Kemayoran Athlete House as an isolation location for thousands of COVID-19 patients in Jakarta.

Moreover, the TNI has synergized with the National Police to continue to ensure the implementation of strict health protocols in the community.

To further control the coronavirus disease outbreak, the TNI also plays a role in the distribution and delivery of COVID vaccines to all citizens throughout Indonesia.

President Joko Widodo has indeed mandated the TNI and Polri to make the national COVID-19 vaccination program a success.

Thus, the TNI, with all its resources, has participated to ensure the success of the national vaccination program.

The TNI has conducted vaccinations in 803 hospitals and health facilities throughout Indonesia. The TNI has also conducted mobile vaccinations by collaborating with several private parties and handed over 10,867 TNI personnel as vaccinators.

Moreover, a division of tasks is conducted for the ranks of the TNI -- the navy, air force, and army -- so that implementation and acceleration of COVID-19 vaccination can run well and do not overlap.

Furthermore, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police (Polri) have ramped up efforts to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination in agglomeration regions and other areas in order to achieve herd immunity in Indonesia at the earliest in accordance with Vice President Ma'ruf Amin's request.

The Indonesian Navy, for instance, has been tasked with intensifying vaccinations for maritime and coastal communities in Indonesia in order to attain herd immunity against COVID-19.

"The government expects the TNI and Polri to continue to help to increase the acceleration of inoculation in regions, including in agglomeration areas, where the vaccination achievement was still low," Vice President Amin stated.

The vice president also praised members of the TNI and Polri, who had played a role in the COVID-19 vaccination acceleration program.

Appreciation

Various efforts and roles of the TNI in helping to deal with the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic have drawn praises from several parties, including the president.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) conveyed that the country's tenacity in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be separated from some important roles played by the TNI in every assignment, both individually and in units.

"Our success in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be separated from the great role of the TNI ... the Indonesian soldiers, who always show professionalism in every assignment," Jokowi stated during the commemoration ceremony of the 76th TNI Anniversary in the front yard of the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Tuesday (October 5).

Some members of the parliament also lauded TNI’s role.

Committee I of the House of Representatives (DPR) lauded the National Defense Force for the myriad valuable steps it took for the benefit of the public, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

"We have monitored all steps that the TNI (had taken) since the onset of the pandemic in Indonesia, and so far, the results have been very positive and satisfying," according to Christina Aryani, member of the House's Committee I.

Aryani noted that the actions ranged from enforcing health protocols and overseeing the distribution of basic necessities along with regional governments to vaccination activities.

"Effectiveness of the TNI's work is very helpful for the public in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic situation," she affirmed.

The Indonesian military's active participation had also been well-received by the people, as was demonstrated in the level of public satisfaction with the TNI's efforts that had reached up to 95.5 percent. This figure is better than several other state agencies, she remarked.

Public surveys indicated a very high level of satisfaction pertaining to the military's performance in controlling the pandemic in each region.

"All of this should be lauded and will certainly be a special gift for the TNI on its 76th anniversary," Aryani remarked.

Despite its roles and achievements pertaining to the pandemic-handling efforts, the National Defense Force will certainly still have to face several varied challenges ahead.

TNI Commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto drew attention to several challenging tasks in future that the Indonesian Military still has to face, including guarding Indonesia's borders of the foremost islands, forests and mountains, oceans and air space; enforcing state sovereignty; maintaining the integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia; and protecting the entire Indonesian nation.

To this end, he expressed optimism that all TNI personnel would become more professional and loyal to fight together in facing various future challenges.

"United, fight, we will definitely win. Fight for stronger Indonesia, for growing Indonesia. Long live Indonesian Military!" Tjahjanto noted.

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