President Joko Widodo has finally declared the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) a National Disaster under Presidential Decree No. 12 of 2020 (“PD 12/2020”) which was issued on Monday, 13 April 2020. Through PD 12/2020, the President has strengthened the role of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana/ “BNPB”) as the COVID-19 Task Force (Gugus Tugas Percepatan Penanganan Coronavirus 2019). BNPB will lead the national effort to tackle the COVID-19 directly under the President’s command, in cooperation with the relevant ministries and regional government agencies. The President also emphasizes the need for central-regional government congruity in policymaking for COVID-19, as he has instructed the heads of regional governments to refer to the central government’s policies when establishing the policies for their respective regions.
The declaration of a national disaster is briefly regulated under Law No. 24 of 2007 regarding Disaster Mitigation (“Disaster Mitigation Law”), under which the criteria for the declaration of a national or regional disaster level include: the number of victims, material losses, damages to facilities, the area affected in the region and the socio-economic impact of the disaster. Under Government Regulation No. 21 of 2008 on the Implementation of Disaster Mitigation (“GR 21/2008”) which is an implementing regulation of the Disaster Mitigation Law, a disaster emergency is to be declared by the central or regional government, depending on the level of the disaster.
The President does not refer to any of the above criteria for a national disaster emergency in the recently issued PD 12/2020. However, on the date of issuance of PD 12/2020, 13 April 2020, the confirmed COVID-19 cases had officially reached 4,557 with 399 dead nationwide. From various sources, we gather that the numbers of confirmed cases and dead are growing exponentially every day.
The impact of the President’s national disaster declaration
The following consequences are worth noting following the declaration of the national disaster:
- BNPB’s authority
- Protecting citizens in times of disaster
- Restrictions on peoples’ movement and activities
- Impacts related to the law of contracts
Please read the complete advisory to learn more about the four consequences above.