Posts Categorized: Local government

Ioro 2 office officially open to deliver services

By Leonard Fong Roka

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Two important leaders were present to officially open the Ioro 2 Council of Elders (CoE) located in the Tumpusiong Valley of Panguna District.

Central Bougainville MP and Minister for Communication Hon. Jimmy Miringtoro and the head of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade office in Buka, Mr. Tim Bryson were greeted by an excited crowd of local people.

Mr Bryson stated the Bougainville is a friend to Australia and the government is committed to assist the region. There are 42 CoEs that the Australian government is committed to assist in terms of infrastructural development.

He continued to say that Australia has given the Panguna people K580,000 for the CoE infrastructural development and Ioro 2 and Ioro 1 were the first projects to attain such a funding across Bougainville.

Hon. Jimmy Miringtoro took time to explain the importance of the CoE system of governance.

“CoEs were established during the crisis and the government on Bougainville took them on-board around 2006,” Hon. Jimmy Miringtoro recalled.

“[At that time] the government was not that serious, so the CoE have suffered greatly in terms of finances and infrastructure.

“It was only in 2013 that the government is seriously supporting the CoEs with funding and so on, so as the MP for Central Bougainville I am up with all the CoEs and the Districts of Central Bougainville.”

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Miringtoro continued stated that the National Government is serious about development and progress in Bougainville.

“PNG is not a rich country but we are trying our best to see change amongst our people,” Miringtoro continued, “We are managing our debts and trying to bring vital services to Bougainville.”

“We cannot make it alone. The government needs you people to contribute and to support.

“I thank you, the family that has given the government this piece of land; land is an issue of impediment across Bougainville.

“I tell you that government needs land and if people continue to harass development in their land without taking proper channels to address issues, Bougainville will not progress.”

Chief of Enamira, the land where the CoE office is located, Mr Michael Pariu asked Mr Miringtoro and Mr Bryson in his speech to fund an aid post, a women’s resource centre and a community hall. To this both leaders responded positively and Ioro 2 CoE will get this funding assistance.

The funding assistance to this office began flowing in as early as 2007 when the building was actually erected. This packages including water hoses, an aid post and a police office and water tanks.

Then over the years a water tank and the whole water hose then stretching nearly a kilometre and half was privatize by a local community police office. When the community saw his actions they also rushed onto the remaining hose.

The next lot of funding saw a new water tank and the extension of the CoE building and ablution blocks. The opening ceremony along saw new water hoses that are now stretching about 2 kilometres.

For the opening ceremony Hon. Miringtoro made K10,000 of public funds available and the community added some K5,000 including singsing and other ritual ceremonies related to house blessings.

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Apiatei woman empowered by community decision making

By Ishmael Palipal

611-apiatei-womens-association Women at the village meeting in Apiatei, Central Bougainville. Picture: Ben Kinah.

Women in Bougainville play a very vital role in the society and their participation in decision making is very important communities.

Mr Ben Kinah, one of Bougainville’s young community leaders, stated that the number of women participating in decision making in the Apiatei Village Assembly has recently increased. This is a good sign for participative equality at the village level.

Apiatei Village Assembly is one of the 8 village assemblies in the North Nasioi Community Government in the Kieta District of Central Bougainville. It is well-known for their well setup village government.

Mr Kinah noted that there has being gradual increase in number of women participating in decision-making at their village assembly level in a three year period between 2012 and 2015.

He pointed out that in April 2012 only three women participated, whereas recently the number of women has increased, even outnumbering men on some occasions.

“I was overwhelmed by the gradual increase of our VA women’s participation in decision making in our Apiatei community to date,” Mr Kinah said.

“15 women attended the recent meeting compared to 9 male chief leaders and I observed more young women are taking up leadership roles in their respective census villages of Apiatei.”

He stated that Apiatei Village Assembly is achieving one of its immediate objectives amidst everyday challenges, which is to increase the number of women at meetings through mobilization and organizing of the Apiatei Women’s Association structure.

The association has its foundations rooted in the smaller women’s groups operating out of the 7 census villages of Apiatei Village Assembly.

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New Kieta District office nurtures good governance

By Ishmael Palipal

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Kieta District Office staff and Manageress Lucy Travertz (centre, in yellow)

The Kieta District Office complex was opened December 2014 to foster good governance and management in the region

Ms Lucy Travertz, the manager at the office, acknowledged and thanked the member for Central Bougainville, landowners, chiefs and all other stakeholders who have worked to see this project come this far.

She stated that good governance must be achieved throughout the region as required under the Bougainville Peace Agreement before there can be a referendum on autonomy and independence.

Her team at the district office is looking forward to achieving that at the new location which signifies new fresh start for the Kieta district as a whole. She is confident that her staff will nurture and build good governance to continue to moving the district forward.

The office is located at the former Toniva town in the Kieta district and three-quarters of the funding came from the national government, facilitated by the member for Central Bougainville.

It was another achievement for the people of Kieta in Central Bougainville.

According to Ms Lucy Travertz, the new Kieta District office complex was completed, after 12 years of struggle, with the collective efforts of those who were involved. She feels that now they can settle down in their very own house which will help fulfill the district administration’s vision of a peaceful and secure middle income district by 2017.

In recent years the district office management and staff were housed in Arawa town in the rate complex house owned by former member for Kokoda constituency, Rodney Osioco.

“It finally happened following a long wait after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with six major Clans, Councils of Elders and the administration in 2008,” said Ms Lucy Travertz.

She urged the people to look after the infrastructure and work together with the leaders to see more developments happen in the Toniva area.

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Cocoa trade set to benefit from Roreinang road improvements

By Gideon Davika

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The road to Roreinang in the South Nasioi Constituency is under major construction for the first time in 24 years.

The Roreinang road was supposed to be upgraded long ago but local conflicts and governance issues meant that no work was carried out and road was in a very bad condition for many years.

Now the people in the area have seen the importance of road system and they have requested for the road to be upgraded.

A local company, Islands Design Construction, was awarded the contract to upgrade the road and the owner of the company, Tony Kumaisa, stated that the road take a few months to complete.

Kumaisa also said that about three kilometres was upgraded last year with more set to be completed, but due to lack of funding they stopped work.

The people of Roreinang will greatly benefit from the upgrade to their road and it is said that the area produces more cocoa than any other in Kieta District.

A local cocoa trader from Roreinang, Steven Yamaru said that when the road is completed it will be very easy to transport cocoa to the buyers in town. He also said that for years it took them hours to transport cocoa and sometimes his car breakdown because of the road condition.

Now that the road is under construction the locals are very happy and wait eagerly for its completion.

As soon as the road is completed business in the area will boom and people will benefit greatly from this infrastructural development.

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Arawa council works for a clean and healthy environment

By Gideon Davika

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The Arawa Urban Council is working very hard to keep the town Arawa, the rivers and streams that flow nearby clean.

Notices have been put up at the banks of the two rivers, the Tupukas and the Bovong, which flow through the heart of Arawa town.

The residents of the town have been deterred by the fine of K500 for throwing rubbish into the river.

Since the notices were erected the two rivers have been free of any rubbish and local kids can now enjoy themselves and wash in the rivers.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government has bought a new rubbish truck which operates every day to collect rubbish from the households and all the streets in town.

Health inspectors have also been seen on the ground checking that the rubbish in town is disposed of properly.

The town mayor said that one of their aims is to keep the town clean and make it tourist destination. The region has been made more accessible to tourists and other visitors since the reopening of the  Aropa Airport in December 2014.

The council wants to ensure the town is kept clean for the people of Bougainville to enjoy a clean and safe environment that is free from disease which may spread due to unhealthy environment.

There are many good developments that are happening around Arawa, reiving the town which was once the capital town of Bougainville.

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Footbridges the next priority for Kongara

By Gideon Davika

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Fast flowing rivers during the wet season make transporting goods hazardous to the people of Kongara.

 

The people of the Kongara constituency in central Bougainville have called for assistance to build footbridges at troublesome river crossings,

Kongara, part of what is sometimes known as the highlands of Bougainville, is one of many places in the autonomous region known for its untouched environment.

This constituency is located in a forested area where there is limited road access and people walk to their villages following the same bush tracks that were used by their ancestors to trade with the people from the coastal areas.

The people living in Kongara transport materials, such as iron for roofing and food supplies, by carrying them on their shoulders.

Despite the lack of roads people still manage to survive and some villages have managed to build permanent houses in order to improve their living standards.

The local representative, the Hon. Dominic Ita MP, is well regarded in the community and has helped the area with much needed services, like schools and health clinics.

Since there are many fast flowing rivers in the region the service that is still desperately required are footbridges.

The people find it very hard to cross rivers, especially during rainy season. The two rivers that need footbridges are Laluai and Pungkaa as they are the main places that people cross to go to their villages.

Many people have died trying to cross those two rivers when they are flooding.

The representatives in the region held a meeting and brought their complaints to the Council of Elders. Dominic Ita has heard the complaint of his people and has said he is willing to fund a project.

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Sealed roads will improve living standards in Arawa

By Ishmael Palipal

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The main residential road in Arawa filled with potholes.

Arawa town will soon see a rehabilitation and maintenance program to ensure the main roads and town streets are sealed.

The water and sewerage maintenance has been underway for three months and soon the upgrade of roads and streets will commence.

The town council, under the management of Mr Mark Sivutare, has been laying the ground work for this major rehabilitation program will likely commence in March.

For many years the potholes in the main streets of Arawa were a major problem for the travelling public.

Some of the local maintenance done to the roads was also major health hazard to the people, especially those residing along the road, because of dust that would be sprayed in to the air from the road.

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Young plumbers working on a sewage tank along the section 14-15 road.

This new program will increase the living standards in the township of Arawa. The town council reported that they have higher plans in place for the development of the town itself thus they are urging the public or town residence to work closely with them to make the town a better and more beautiful town to live in.

The road sealing program will be co-funded through Special Intervention Fund and the Australian Government’s Transport Sector Support Program (TSSP).

The eventual outcome will be to have Buka, Arawa, and Buin roads upgraded and sealed.

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Council of Elders system to get a facelift

By Anthony Kaybing

The empowerment of Councils of Elders (CoE) to curb law and order problems and uphold social justice is a prime concern of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG).

President of the ABG, Grand Chief Dr John Momis, said that each CoE will be given the power to look after law and order in its area.

President Momis stated that empowering the CoEs will allow them to exercise authority effectively in their communities and women and ex-combatant leaders will be included in the process.

Despite the general peace and tranquility in communities on Bougainville there have been isolated incidents where law and order has been a problem.

With the Bougainville Police Service’s lack of capacity to control the situation the ABG has responded with this idea to complement the police presence.

There have been instances where weapons were used to intimidate and even kill people and cases where the people suspected of sorcery were put to death.

A recent event was the ransacking of Chinese-owned shops in Buka Town. Previously in Buin Town an ABG joint venture had goods carted off by looters.

President Momis has urged people to be responsible and to let proper procedures take place instead of taking the law into their own hands.

“We must have the commitment to prepare ourselves to meet the conditions of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, one of which is the law and order,” the President said.

“This is so that when we reach our ultimate political future we will have the strength and the integrity to enlighten us to enjoy the freedom that the people of Bougainville have been fighting for.”

Momis, who has been a strong advocate of peace by peaceful means, stated Bougainville cannot continue to risk its future by resorting destructive means that only defeats the purpose of its progress.

The CoEs will soon be renamed Community Governments in an effort to revamp them and increase their effectivity in the communities on Bougainville.

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Tupukas community bridge project stalls without funding

By Leonard Fong Roka & Tommy Alasia

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The Tupukas River, a branch of the Bovong River, in Arawa holds many fond memories for those who have had an association with it and the Tupukas Primary School gets its name from its position close to the tail end of the River.

Further upstream at the head of the River, however, it is a different story for communities who know the destruction and havoc the Tupukas River causes when it is flooded.

Crossing it is the only means of transportation and communication for the Singkai, Piiva, Damaosi, Taungmiring, Laita, Dokotoru, Karangkena villages and a dozens of hamlets along the Tupukas section of the Bovonari.

The River is a vital link for the people yet successive governments, from the provincial government era to the present, have not considered building a bridge to help the people. The prospect a bridge had been merely a dream.

This dream is now slowly taking shape to hopefully become a reality soon.

In 2012, two community leaders initiated the idea of a swing bridge over this section of the river. They were Mr Nehemiah Kompaon, a partially blind vegetable farmer and Mr Paul Taana, a tradesman with a record of constructing bridges and community crossings in the Bovonari area under his belt.

The community contributed money, raising K300, and started the project.  Most of the building materials are borrowed from individuals on a trust basis or partially paid. The labour is free while the only payments are for hardware materials and consumable, such as fuel and oil.

Most of the funding came out of the Mr Kompaon’s cabbage plots while Mr Taana is the brain behind the construction.  For as long as these two men can remember, they have been promised bridges to no avail.

In the days prior to the Bougainville Crisis the communities remember being promised a bridge if they elected an individual into the North Solomons Provincial Government in the 1970s, but it did not eventuate.

In 2005, with the birth of Autonomous Bougainville Government, the people were once again promised a bridge for electing an individual to parliament and once again it did not happen.

Now out of frustration the communities have joined forces to work for themselves.

The sight of people suffering at the might of the Tupukas River and many near death accidents have given the people the drive to help themselves.

“Our women lose their goods, our children miss school and vehicles are frequently washed downstream and damaged while crossing the flooded river,” Mr Kompaon said.

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Buin gets tough on crime and anti-social behaviour

By Winterford Toreas

In recent times the Buin District of south Bougainville has been regarded by many as an area where lawlessness activities are rife.

Nearly every week there were reports received from the area of different criminal activities, including murder, and for many people there was little respect for the rule of law.

However this has now changed with people now opting to see the rule of law enforced and those engaging in illegal activities facing the full force of the law.

The Council of Elders in the area have already enforced strict measures to punish those that do not comply with their set rules.

According to paramount chief Jacob Tooke from Mamaromino village in the Baubake constituency, there has been a big positive change taking place in the district.

“Buin is now a changed place,” Mr Tooke said, “today you will see that people are respecting the rule of law.”

“You will hardly see any drunkards or people walking around with bush knives as had been the case in the past years. This is a positive sign that law and order is improving.”

Chief Tooke said the Buin people are also looking forward to the upcoming 2015 ABG General Election.

He added that his people have realised the importance of this election, so they want to ensure that a trouble-free election is held in their area.

Another prominent figure from the district also revealed that the Council of Elders have already imposed measures to punish those that continue to engage in illegal activities.

He gave an example of a rule setup at Laguai village for those who are caught consuming locally-brewed alcohol.

“If a person from Laguai is seen drinking homebrew in town or in other villages, he will be ordered to dig a big drain when he returns to his village,” said the man, who wished not to reveal his identity.

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