THIS letter is in support for Member for Esa’ala and Deputy Prime Minister Davis Steven and his initiative and commitment to the people of Eastern Papua, covering parts of Northern, east Central and Milne Bay, concerning the realisation of the roles of PNGDF through “nation building” as reported by The National on Jan 27.
The proposed PNGDF forward base in Milne Bay would contribute to the following:
- PROVIDE maritime surveillance services covering the Solomon and Coral seas reaching out from Alotau bay forward base would be a strategic deterrent to organised illegal and unconstitutional activities within the 12 miles and 200 nautical miles economic zones;
- RENDER possible support of green economy activities to Eastern Papua rural farmers who are handicapped through transport accessibility;
- RENDER support to the calls for humanitarian missions to provincial disaster management authorities on natural-caused emergencies and disasters;
- RENDER civic activities support through provision of civil engineering and services on roads, bridges and airstrips including new infrastructure construction and rehabilitation work in Milne Bay and nearby border communities bordering Milne Bay, Central and Milne Bay-Northern;
- PROVIDE community climate adaptation activities through provision of afforestation programmes or projects on barren land in compliance with the UN desertification countermeasures whereby PNGDF personnel maybe considered to engage on mass planting/replanting of required trees on barren lands and/or abandoned coconut plantations;
- PROVIDE sovereignty protection through Green Belt projects or activities along the sea level rise threatened beaches of coastal areas including the sinking low lying atolls of Milne Bay so that the landmass as part of the sovereignty of PNG is safeguarded from encroachment of sea level rise inundation or tsunami destructive impacts through possible activities of mangrove planting countermeasures;
- SUPPORT Wash programmes in remote and drought prone communities to improve water facilities, environmental health and hygiene of the communities; and,
- SUPPORT law and order authorities concerning the emerging organised and complex criminal organisations involving local and trans-boundary activities.
The population of PNG is increasing at a high rate and institutional services by the State have to be increased and improved in interoperability manner so that the limited resources are optimised
for maximum net benefits for people.
The PNGDF is one of the key State’s institutions which can become both social and economic achiever for the nation through its national building calls.
There are lands available for long term lease or outright purchase near Alotau town, including Samarai Island.
But make sure not to be involved with land estates which are now under legal disputes by PNG courts initiated by landowners or incorporated land groups (ILGs).
Another option is to build the forward base on the main island of Kiriwina in the Trobriand Islands where there are two big WWII airstrips that can be rehabilitated to cater for international flights including expanding the current jetties to also serve as PNGDF forward base.
Such improvements of WWII airstrips can link with international flights for tourists and boost tourism which can be possible if the Government is serious in connecting the PNGDF to social and economic activities.
Other related complimentary services can be established by local business players.