Residents of Rappoa Village in the Bantaeng District, South Sulawesi, can now access basic services that meet the government’s minimum service standards (SPM). Local governments have adopted an administration system that facilitates the legal identity documents, a prerequisite to access to health services and other types of government assistance packages. Complete legal identity documents also means that the governments can target the basic services’ development and budget to the specific needs of the residents.
At the front of her four-by-seven-meter wooden house, Sari (70) is stringing up seaweed bulbs into a rope. Ever since her husband passed, this resident of Bo'dong Hamlet in Rappoa Village, Bantaeng District, South Sulawesi has made this piecework the bread and butter for her and her son, Rabbele (22), and her grandson, Ilham (11).
Sari produces these seaweed strands three to four times a month, earning her Rp2,500 for each four-to five-meter segment. "Because I am unwell, I can only tie ten segments on a good day," said Sari, who is blind in one eye. Rabbele, whose hands are disabled, also does not have a permanent job.
Initially, Sari's family had not been registered to any social-protection programs because they lacked legal identity documents. However, in 2018, assisted by Ernawati Ramli, the Coordinator for Population and and Civil Registration (known as Koordukcapil) Office in Rappoa, Sari was issued ID card (KTP) and a Family Registry card (KK), which allowed her to enjoy the elderly residents' allowances from the local government. "I am beyond grateful that with these documents, I can now benefit from the government assistance," she said upon receiving the aid for the very first time.
“I am beyond grateful that with these documents, I can now benefit from the government assistance,” said Sari, esident of Bo'dong Hamlet in Rappoa Village, upon receiving the aid for the very first time.
Each month Sari receives ten litres of rice, two flats of eggs, two litres of coconut oil, and two kilograms of sugar for her daily sustenance. Sari, who had been a lifetime aid user of traditional medicines, can now access health services without difficulty at the public health clinic (known as Puskesmas), hospitals, and private doctors with her government health services and insurance (BPJS).
Sari is one of the 152 vulnerable residents of Rappoa who finally can have legal identity documents and enjoy access to basic services in 2018, when the local administrators implemented the Village-based Civil Registration Service (known as LABKD).
With LABKD, residents can obtain their legal identity documents at their respective villages, without having to go to the Bantaeng District Population and Civil Registration Office (Disdukcapil). The Rappoa Village Government set up the LABKD mechanism and appointed a Koordukcapil with the assistance of KOMPAK.
"Before LABKD was set up, many of our residents, especially the poor and vulnerable, had no access to any social protection programs— such as elderly residents’ benefits, Family Hope Program and Non-Cash Food Assistance Program —from the Department of Social Services," said Irwan Darpin, the Village Head of Rappoa. Such lack of access was due to the fact that they do not have legal identity documents such as KTP, KK, or birth certificates. Government regulations require these documents for residents to access various basic services.
The complexity of the process and requirements has discouraged residents from processing their legal identity documents. "Travelling from Rappoa to here, for example, costs at least Rp10.000 per person, or Rp20.000 for return trip. Furthermore, they must make the trip at least twice, once to submit the application and again to obtain the documents," said Selfi Ahmaniarti Niswar, an officer at the Bantaeng Disdukcapil.
The lack of awareness of the importance of legal identity documents seems to have amplified their hesitancy. "I'm a poor person. Why would poor people need birth certificates?" Sari asked before Ernawati explained that a birth certificate was required for KK and KTP applications, the documents that she needed to register for the elderly residents' benefit from the village.
Immediately after the establishment of Koordukcapil, Ernawati has been bending over backwards to go from hamlet to hamlet to collect data and introduce the new service, including to informal events such as monthly health-care center (Posyandu) activities, Qu'ran reading, weddings, social gatherings, parent meetings at schools, and Puskesmas. Ernawati uses the Makassar local language spoken in the area to explain the benefits of having legal identity documents, such as applying for government’s health insurance (BPJS), obtaining free treatment at a private medical practice, or applying for government social assistance.
Residents only need to submit their legal identity documents to Ernawati for further processing. The process that previously took days can now be completed within ten minutes, except for the provision of e-KTP, which requires recording of biometric data.
The process of lcivil registration service previously took days can now be completed within ten minutes.
Even the COVID-19 pandemic could not stop Ernawati from fulfilling her duties. "We promote the services through social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp. Meanwhile, legal identity administration services are also conducted digitally via WhatsApp," explained Ernawati.
Ernawati allocates Fridays from 12.00 to 16.00, and Saturdays from 08.00 to 16.00 to carry out her duties as Koordukcapil because she has to do her regular civil administration service duties from Mondays to Thursdays from 08.00 to 14.00.
"However, this schedule may change if there are important and urgent cases. For example, if a resident needs legal identity documents to obtain BPJS card while receiving medical treatment at a health centre or hospital," explained the mother of three sons who tries to set aside Sundays as family day.
The hard work of Ernawati and the village officials have paid off. From the inception of LABKD until 2020, 85% of Rappoa residents have obtained a birth certificate, up from 40% in 2017. Likewise, the number of KTP holders has increased to 90%, while KK holders has spiked to 95%, from a mere 60% in 2017.
With legal identity documents completed, residents can enjoy various assistance, ranging from Village Fund Cash Assistance (BLT-Dana Desa), Family Hope Program (PKH), Basic Food Assistance, BPJS insurance, Free Health Service for Villagers, Elderly Basic Food Assistance, to assistance for children school uniforms.
In 2018, the Rappoa local government signed a memorandum of understanding with a general practitioner and a dentist in private practice to provide free treatments to residents, who only need to produce a KTP and KK. "The poor, the elderly, and people with disabilities, many of which had not been able to receive any treatment due to lack of documents, are now diligently visiting the Puskesmas or hospitals to get the medical treatment because it is free," said Ernawati recounting on what made her feel that her hard work was worthwhile.
What’s more, accurate legal identity data is valuable for the local government when preparing the Village Budget and Village Workplan. Ikhsan Ismail (44), the Head of Village Council (BPD) gave the village scholarship program plan for school children as an example.
An accurate legal identity data is valuable for local residents to access Village Fund Cash Assistance, Family Hope Program, Basic Food Assistance, BPJS insurance, and other types of government assistance packages.
"This program requires data on school-age children, such as the number, level of education, place of residence, so on and so forth," Ikhsan explained. "Data is the basis for planning and budgeting. Without accurate data, it is impossible for the local government to provide quality services according to SPM," said the man whose day job is a social-science teacher at SMP 2 Gantarangkeke, Bantaeng.
Now, all 46 villages and 21 kelurahan in eight sub-districts of Bantaeng District have adopted LABKD. All Bantaeng residents can look forward to much improved government services designed according to their needs and based on accurate data. Members of vulnerable groups, like Sari, can sail through their golden years in peace, knowing that their local government will make life easier for them, their children, and their grandchildren.