House Commission VIII, which oversees social affairs, confirmed that the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has requested a Rp 15 billion ($526,000) budget allocation for 20 “disaster tents” intended for the president and his entourage during visits to disaster regions.
“It’s not an ordinary tent . . . it provides strength and security” House Commission VIII Head Ida Fauziah said. Ida said all factions in the commission accepted BNPB’s proposal, adding that “there will be open and normal tender to prevent mark up.”
BNPB said the budget will be used to buy 20 fully-equipped containers consisting of multiple sections and including a coordination room, radio communication room, media center, operating room and logistics and resting room. The material used for the containers is expected to be resilient natural cataclysms, such as earthquakes, and ash and smoke from volcanos.
“During disasters, VVIPs such as the president, vice president, ministers and other officials can stay inside the tents,” BNPB Spokesman Sutopo said recently. “After the disaster, the tents can be dismantle and kept in a warehouse to be used in other regions. Other institutions that handle disaster usually have these portable posts, such as Turkey, Italy, Japan and other countries.”
But calling the mobile disaster posts “tents” is not entirely accurate, according to BNPB Head Syamsul Ma’arif.
“Tent is not really a good term,” He said recently. “Just say it is a portable post. It is like Gaddafi’s tent,
with the form like a house,” Syamsul said recently.
While lawmakers of House Commission VIII seem to have accepted the portable post’s budget, other lawmakers have said the projects is a waste of state money.
“That big [amount] for the president’s comfort? Buy a normal tent. It’s a sad situation in a disaster region, why buy comfort for officials,” said Eva Kusuma Sundari, a member of the Financial Accountability Body at the House of Representatives.