Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo emphasized that the program for distributing social assistance to residents in need should be continued.

"Regarding social assistance, I need to remind you that it must be continued and monitored, so that it is right on target," the president remarked while chairing the Plenary Cabinet Session at the State Palace, Jakarta, on Tuesday.

He called on relevant ministries and institutions to ensure that the distribution of social assistance, including food assistance, the Family Hope Program (PKH) assistance, and direct cash assistance, is right on target.

Responding to the proposal to stop distributing social assistance during the 2024 elections, Presidential Special Staff Coordinator Ari Dwipayana had stated last week that the government is running a social assistance program to help poor families facing difficult situations due to the rising prices of basic commodities.

"The main purpose of social assistance is as a cushion or social protection, so that poor communities or families are able to withstand the pressure of rising food prices as a result of El Nino as well as supply chain disruptions that have an impact on rising global food prices," Dwipayana remarked via a short message.

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He emphasized that the distribution of social assistance is an affirmative program from the government for the people whose funds come from the state budget and have been jointly approved by the government and the House of Representatives (DPR).

"Hence, it has nothing to do with the election process," he noted.

He stated that the target of the social assistance program was clear; there was name and address data. The distribution of social assistance also involves the central government and village governments.

"Implementation in the field is also open to supervision by various parties. In fact, the government is encouraging program convergence, so that various parties, including non-government groups, are involved in poverty reduction programs," he remarked.

The National Winning Team (TPN) of presidential and vice presidential candidates Ganjar Pranowo and Mohammad Mahfud Md received criticism from the National Campaign Team (TKN) of presidential candidates and vice presidential candidates Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming for proposing to postpone the distribution of social assistance during the 2024 elections.

However, TPN Ganjar-Mahfud's Deputy for Legal Affairs, Todung Mulya Lubis, denied that he had suggested stopping the distribution of social assistance until the 2024 presidential election was over.

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Translator: Yashinta, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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