Bobonaro, 8 February 2017 – H.E. the President of the Republic, Taur Matan Ruak, on Tuesday morning held a dialogue with the community of the suco of Male-Ubu. In the afternoon he met with the community members of the suco of Tebabui. Both sucos belong to the administrative post of Bobonaro, Bobonaro municipality.

The Head of State began his speech by explaining the main goals of his visit, namely to thank communities for their contribution to the liberation struggle and to call on them to further contribute to ensure well-being for all. H.E. the President also took the opportunity to highlight the significant strides made by the country and the challenges facing Timor-Leste, to call for the improvement of household economy, health and education (reducing expenses with life and death celebrations), and to point out the importance of unity and teamwork towards well-being.

The Head of State also reported on the progress made by other sucos, which should serve as an example and inspiration to other sucos.

During the Q&A session held in Tebabui, one of the people in attendance expressed concern over the teaching of mother tongues at school which, in his opinion, is very confusing for the students. On this occasion, H.E. the President shared his opinion on this matter:

I’m against the teaching of mother tongues at school. This initiative had the support of the former First Lady Kirst Gusmão. However, maun Xanana’s children go to school in Australia and mine attend the Portuguese School. In a couple of years, my children and maun Xanana’s will find a job and yours won’t. The ministers’ children don’t learn their mother tongue either, because they attend the International School. This only serves to undermine the future of the new generations.”

The Head of State also said that children should start by learning the official languages and teachers should participate in Portuguese-learning activities.

On the maritime boundary negotiations with Australia, H.E. Taur Matan Ruak used the land-related disputes between neighbours to explain how hard it is to solve border-related disputes. His Excellency also said that this is a time-consuming process which requires people to be coolheaded and respect international law.

In Tebabui, on the local shortage of food due to climate change, the Head of State suggested that the heads of aldeia and the head of village ask the government for support. In addition to this issue, the people in attendance also lamented the lack of access to electricity.

In both sucos, community members took the occasion to report on the main local challenges, namely the poor road conditions, the registration of veterans based on partisan preferences and the lack of job opportunities for the youth, among other issues.

During the community meeting, the Head of State was accompanied by the administrator of the Laulara (Aileu municipality), the head of suco of Abafala (Baucau municipality), the head of suco of Matahoi (Viqueque municipality) and the head of suco of Kampung Alor (Dili municipality).