Jakarta-www.wapresri.go.id. Central government preserves its commitment to advance autonomous regions, among others by increasing budget for the development of the regions in a bid to improve people’s welfare.

“In 2006, we disbursed 220 trillion rupiahs (equal to US$16.64 million). This year, central government has allocated 770 trillion rupiahs, or a 350 percent increase within 10 years, to help develop autonomous regions,” said Vice President Jusuf Kalla in his remarks during the commemoration of the 20th Regional Autonomy Day held at Wates Alun-alun square in Kulonprogo, Yogyakarta, on Monday (April, 25).

Other than funding, the Vice President added, government is also committed to improve regional autonomy through village development program as an effort to achieve equality and social justice.

“We have 47 trillion rupiahs for the village development fund which will be increased next year. We critically need to develop the skills of village officials to manage this fund,” he affirmed.

In regards with the commitment to make regional development more focused, Mr Kalla said, government determined to maintain a moratorium against the formation of new autonomous regions.

“Government has decided to take steps to preserve the objectives of autonomy by halting the formation of new regions while at the same time observing and evaluating the existing autonomous regions,” he said.

He further hoped that local governments and the people could develop autonomy in such a way to realize public welfare and justice, as it is the main goal of regional autonomy from the very beginning.

“It is the local administration that knows well the potentials of a region. Public should be involved in the efforts to make the most of this autonomy,” he said.

Regional autonomy, he continued, is also vital in unifying the nation, particularly in maintaining good relationship between central and local government.

“That is why governors and mayors are representatives of central government in regions as well as heads of the regions,” he said.

Concluding his remarks, the Vice President reiterated that regional autonomy is a mandate by the constitution which raises rights as well as obligations to local government that must be accounted for to the public.

“Regional development does not necessarily mean merely developing office buildings, but more importantly developing infrastructure, waterworks, and roads,” he affirmed.

At the ceremony, the Vice President also handed over Samkarya Nugraha Parasamya Purnakarya awards to the regions considered successful in running its administration with the best performance for the last three years. The regions receiving the awards were Kulonprogo regency, Pasaman regency, Probolinggo city, and Semarang city.