Bobonaro, 10 February 2017 – His Excellency the President of the Republic, Taur Matan Ruak, on Monday conducted a dialogue with the community members of the suco of Ilatlaun from 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 through animal husbandry and farming, the cut of expenditure on life and death celebrations and the investment in health and education, and to point out the importance of working together with the local authorities with a view to developing their suco.

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, one of the people in attendance pointed out the importance of further developing Marobo hot springs and exploiting Borluli hot springs so as to attract tourism and generate more revenue.

On the occasion, the Head of State highlighted the economic potential of tourism and expressed his disappointment that the government is not paying due attention to this sector. His Excellency also suggested that community members build a guesthouse offering proper conditions to visitors, providing a new source of revenue for communities.

On the impending failure of the school feeding programme, H.E. Taur Matan Ruak described the programme as a ‘cancer’ that the current government could not solve and made a suggestion,

Why don’t they just hand over the money to the parents and have them manage it? Each child’s weight must be checked every two months.   If weight loss occurs, the household is cut from the programme.”

Based on his visits to the country’s sucos, H.E. the President said that only six sucos benefit fully from the school feeding programme.

On the same occasion, Ilatlaun head of suco said that he was against the monthly life pension law in the current stage of national development since the majority of the population still has to deal with poor road conditions, the lack of water and a high unemployment rate among the youth. H.E. the President agreed with the head of suco’s point of view and assured him that will send back to National Parliament the law which was recently submitted to the Court of Appeal.

Community members also took the occasion to report on the main local challenges, namely the lack of access to the national electrical grid, the lack of health facilities to assist those who live in remote areas, the granting of jobs to Timorese whose parents live in Indonesia to the detriment of those who fought for their country, and the non-award of scholarships to underprivileged students.

To conclude, H.E. Taur Matan Ruak offered the heads of department, directors and the president of the authority of the municipality of Bobonaro the opportunity to answer the questions being asked.

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).

According to the Head of State’s official itinerary for this week of visits to the municipality of Bobonaro, which started on 6 February in Colimau, Ilatlaun was the last suco visited. This latest was preceded by visits to Male-Ubu, Teba-Bui, Cota-Boot and Carabau, Atuaben and Soeleso.