Fuanes Kamesang, Madraisau Sulial, and Marcella Tamtereng, three of the 30 members of HOD general staff were not retained by the new HOD leadership.
The release of Fuanes Kamesang is said to be additional punishment directed at the "condemned" Delegate Lucio Ngiraiwet of Ngardmau. Both Fuanes and Mr. Ngiraiwet comes from the state of Ngardmau.
Madraisau Sulial and Marcella Tamtereng both of Ngaremlengui lost their employment because they took the wrong side in Ngaremlengui State politics. New HOD Vice Speaker William Ngiraikelau a strong supporter of Gov. John Skebong penalized them because of their support of Wilson Ongos, Skebong's challenger in the governorship race during the last state election held last December.
A new policy barring the police officers from seeking elective office was adopted by the Bureau of Public Safety (BPS) last May 3.
Says BPS Director, "running for and holding elective offices is incompatible with the discharge of the duties of persons subject to the BPS rules and regualtions." So far 5 police officers who are presently holding elected offices as members of their state legislature will be allowed to serve-out their term.
The seat held by Ngaraard State Delegate Tony Bells looks like it will be hotly contested with the word that the current Governor Tadashi Sakuma will enter the race.
A pact has been reportedly reached between Albert Shiro and Mr. Sakuma to form a team in the upcoming election. If Mr. Sakuma is successful in his quest for the OEK seat, than Mr. Shiro will be the annointed heir as the next governor in the state election that will be held to fill the vacant governorship position.
Mr. Shiro served one term in the House of Delegates (1992 - 1996) representing the state of Ngaraard who subssequently lost his seat to the current Delegate Bells.
Commercial Mail Recieving Agency (CMRA) has began its operation by offering almost all postal services the Palau Postal Service has to residents of Melkeok and even the populace in nearby Ngiwal and Ngchesar.
Last April 23, CMRA started accepting payments to PNCC and PPUC. Lentcer Basilius, proprietor of the CMRA said that services includes domestic and international mail, express mail, priority mail, insured mail, and mailbox services - presently has 103 mailboxes of which 13 are rented. They also accept pacakges and offers deliveries and certificate of mailing.
ICTV without any prior notice has been informed by its supplier of U.S programming that due to U.S regulations programming for ABC (channel 7), CBS (channel 5), FOX (channel 2), NBC (channel 4), and PBS (channel 9) beginning on May 21 will no longer be provided.
PNCC is now working jointly with its counterparts in FSM and the Marshalls to seek a waiver in the U.S from the regulation.
Update (May 24):
In a meeting in Washington D.C, the U.S supplier of programs have agreed to resume the taping of the U.S programs for PNCC. We might only miss a week of programming.
A proposed amendment to the labor law will require private employers in the Republic with at least an annual sales of $2 million to grant eligible female employees maternity lave on the same terms enjoyed by employees of the ROP Government. (Senate Bill 6-113, SD1)
Another bill is a proposal to establish a Consumer Protection Board that prohibits the sale of outdated and spoiled food. (HB no. 6-60-2)
There is also a proposal to exempt foreign workers in Palau from paying Social Security taxes unless they are married to Palauans. (HB no. 6-61-2)
Another proposal is to establish a fair labor standards and set up a uniform minimum wage fee for local and foreign workers. (HB 6-63-2)
While the House looks to give private businesses a break by eliminating the $500 annual fee paid for each foreign employee employed by a business enterprise carrying on a business under foreign investment license, according to the proposed bill HB no. 6-101-4. In the meantime it appears that they just couldn't wait to raise our driver's license fee from $10 to $20 by having passed on a third and final reading a proposed bill on May 7 session.
Whatever help our esteemed representatives in Olbiil era Kelulau so readily giveth to the businesses, they happily taketh away from the people. They'll gladly squeeze our pockets for the few cents remaining to cover the shortfall. And so the "little" people's tax burden is getting heavier each time our congressmen comes up with their own set of numbers on how to increase revenue.
If you can't wait to start driving on the 53-mile asphalt surfaced compact road, the paving of the road according to Daewoo Project Manager Min-Sok Kim is scheduled to begin in mid-June. The package that includes Oikull to the new capital will be the first portion to be surfaced.
Following Cebu Pacific Airways (Phillipines) charter flights last April 30, Asiana Airlines (Korean) first charter flight arrived here early Sunday morning (April 9). The last Sunday flight was the first of its twice weekly flights scheduled until July 4 of this year.
Says PVA's managing director Mary Ann Delemel, "these are symbols of the confidence travellers have in Palau as a world class tourist destination and also realizes Palau's attraction with it's close proximity to Asia."
Plans to push for more charter flight on both airlines is on the offing.
M.S, a long time reader of this blog emailed me this comment:
"I know it seems as though I'm being all negative about Palau and all the politics, but I see that someone has to point it out--and yes, most parts are true. There's some lose ends there and they needed to be tied.
As for tradition or culture, it all evolves. The Palauans today just don't see/understand that. Culture has always evolved to better comply with it's surroundings/environment. It's just that colonizers stunted it's "growth" when they landed in 17-kmung telang, gave us Christianity, called us savage and told us to stop our ways; and we, Palauans as well as many other islanders, are stuck thinking that our cultures should revert or atleast be closer to what it was like in the olden days---the times right before the WESTERNIZATION. WHICH IS ALL GOOD AND WELL...I understand the pride we have and what we would like to recover...and we try to maintain....I said to move on however, only because I meant that PALAU IS ALREADY MOVING ON...we taste it...we realize it...we recognize it....but we deny it....we don't want to admit it because we would feel like we may have lost our PALAUAN PRIDE....our PALAUanNESS.
Surely, I don't want Palau to move on. I wish I could just go back home, and go fishing/farming. I wish that colonizers never landed and our culture would have grown and evolved. I wish I didn't have to worry about HEALTH INSURANCE. BUT I CAN'T....cause there's this nagging and impending western/asian development around me and I'm pressured to acquire an education so I can MOVE along with it...and you know what's sad about this? Traditions/siukang/customs/culture is what pulls me back from moving on and up and through development. The irony? Many of my traditional leaders are behind the development...truth? Yes...I believe there's truth in that.
BUT I DO see the positives in Palau. I see that literacy has improved in the past decade. I see that more children can read/write/speak English. I see that our YOUNG government is well on it's way to democratic improvement. I see we have better medical/health services. I see we got somewhat fast internet connections. I see that we are now only a week behind on our San Francisco news. I see that there's nothing in the world we don't know or can't achieve to be.
BUT who's "positives" am I seeing? Notice, I mentioned no tradition/culture/siukang....it's so WESTERNIZED...it makes me sick that people don't see it...and they think I want to be WESTERN or BE AMERICAN AND LIVE HERE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE! BLAH! OH CONTRAR!!! I'm here because I was told by many of my leaders that education is what is needed for the betterment of Palau....I've lost some of my BELAUanNESS because of their beliefs....I've had to sacrifice culture, and tradtion because I was told that this is what the rest of Belau needed to become a better more independent nation.
I'm tired of school..I'm tired of America...I'm tired of being seen as a savage trying to acquire a degree...I'm tired of being here trying to be this educated coconut in a sea of Western idealism..........I just want to be Palauan.......*SIGH*....I wish I could have my traditions back....I wish I could go back to culture.....BUT AGAIN...I can't because my leaders press on....and so many others behind them.....is there a middle ground I can stand on??? I don't know...can I juggle being a true ngelekel Belau and stick to my roots, while I becoming a contemporary citizen of the Republic?"
The bill to establish the Palau Decency Commission has passed the Senate and now will be sent to the House. The proposed measure calls for establishment of a public body to curb the proliferation of obscene materials in the country.
The commission will be tasked with reviewing materials and performances to determine whether they are obscene. In a committee report, it said the measure would address the unacceptable increase in the amount of obscene materials entering Palau.
An "unacceptable increase", what is that? How would the commission address that, by setting a quota in the number of obscene materials coming in?
Speaker of the House of Delegates Antonio Bells said Harry Fritz's letter to Bells was in appropriate, intrusive and contradictory.
Fritz in a letter to Bells dated April 22, appealed to the House leadership to retain all staff members of the HOD for the duration of the 6th Olbiil er a Kelulau.
As a result HOD's reorganization, the leaders has asked all HOD employeed - including hte general staff and the committee staff - to submit their courtesy resignations.
"As one who has served in the legislature for so many years, you should recall that there are two seperate houses of the national congress. The constitution ofhte Republic makes it clear, each house is solely responsible for each own internal operations. Therefore, it is entirely inappropriate...to make advances as to how the House of Delegates should conduct its business, and especially offensive to 10 of hte 16 delegates for you to publically downgrade the decision of HOD regarding its staff and employess." Bells said in his letter to Fritz dated May 3.
Bells said Fritz letter is "most contradictory and betraying" since the senator was one of hte lawmakers who did not enact he same law providing protection to OEK employees which they previously enjoyed, among others. He added that Fritz also concerning Senate Bill 4-15 which report and declared that "the employee of the OEK serve at the pleasures and whims of each individual members outside the protection of the Public Service System."
"We find it difficult to understand how you make stand on issues...and to now be arguing for extra protection of House employees." Bell said.
Bells further said that Fritz should learn to show the same respect for the House who manages its own afairs.
In the latest twist of the ongoing conflict between the Koror State Legislature (KSL) and the House of Traditional Leaders (HOTL), by a 13 - 4 vote the KSL overrode the April 30 veto by the HOTL which will terminate in 30 days all six current members of the KSPLA Board of Trustees.
The new law calls for a new seven member board all to be appointed by the governor with the advise and consent of the legislature which also gave it powers to remove a member for a cause.
In another development, the legislature again overrode the HOTL veto establishing a $32,000 salary of the governor and requiring the governor to submit within six months a study and bill establishing a salary scale and personnel system to cover all employees and contractors of the Koror State government.
I said it before and I will say it again, stay tuned...
My two posts here and here seem to have generated a lot of comments (yoo hoo!) from both sides of the aisle. But one recurring theme from the commenters is somehow a Palauan who lives abroad or is going to school is not in a position to make a fair assessment of the local issues presented. His or her opinion are tainted by the fact that they live in outside and therefore being "westernized" in their beliefs. As is demostrated in the comment box there will always be differences of opinions, no matter where you are. Whether you are in the States, Palau, military, Fiji, Australia, or anywhere in the world you will always have certain thoughts regarding a particular issue. And I thank everyone for commenting and for those who are still debating whether or not to get their feet wet. And also for those who prefer emailing me instead, and not to mention those who just enjoy seeing what's going on here. I never thought that this site will be generating so much traffic and I owe it all to you the readers of this site. Thanks again.
Which lead me to try something different here to raise the level of discourse among the readers of this site. Every week I will pick a specific topic and everyone here are invited to post their comment and opinions regarding the topic. But remember to restrict your comment or opinions only to the topic or ideas presented and leave the commenter alone who is not the topic of discussion. I will be ruthless in the comment section that comments that does not address the topic specified will be deleted.
Here's the topic for this week:
One of the 5 potential consitutional amendments that will be voted on during the general election on November 2 is this (There is yet to be a proper wording for the ballot).
ALLOW PALAUAN DUAL CITIZENSHIP. Yes or No, and Why?
From the Marianas Variety On-Line Edition (May 6, 2004),
HAGÅTÑA — It’s not just the tourism industry that’s making a strong recovery, Gov. Felix P. Camacho reported during his weekly address.
As tourist arrivals increase, the thriving visitor industry has resulted in a multiplier effect, expanding other sectors of the economy as well.
“Growing evidence of this is the increase in retail sales at a number of stores including Louis Vuitton and Chanel which grew tremendously since January and that a third charter airline out of Guam, Sky Blue Air, has just opened for business,” Camacho said.
The governor also quoted Joey Crisostomo of the Guam Automobile Association who reported that auto sales have been strong for the past 16 months and looks even brighter for the remainder of the year.
“As our work continues, it is important to report the progress we as a community have made. First and foremost is the rapid economic expansion of almost every sector on island,” Camacho said.
The Captain Company, a realty firm, has informed the governor that median prices for single-family dwellings for the first quarter of 2004 have increased — meaning less home foreclosures — for the first time since early 1999.
In the construction sector, Camacho said the Guam Contractors Association is reporting that January and February numbers for 2004 so far show that $13.5 million in new construction activity is well underway.
As a result, more than 1,600 new jobs were created in the construction industry.
The Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association is reporting an increase of more than 500 jobs, raising total employment throughout the visitor industry to nearly 4,500 jobs.
According to Camacho, improvements in the daily lives of residents prove that less government, a more efficient workforce, lesser burden on the private sector and fewer restrictions on individuals freedoms — coupled with providing the opportunities for growth — is the formula for economic expansion.
The above picture of Guam's economy may be a sign of better things to come to the region, especially a turn around of our economy from an anemic average of 2% per year since 2000 to a more robust growth this year and years to come.
I remember when President Remengesau first took office, his administration immediately coined the term "non-payday weekend". Saying that Palau's financial condition is akin to a non-payday weekend.
Now with a little more than six months remaining on his first term, I am interested in hearing from the administration whether Palau is still operating on a "non-payday weekend".
The President in his State of the Republic Address, "Despite the fact that the Asian economy failed to rebound during 2002 and 2003, Palau's tourism figures show some very positive signs...and early signs indicate that this expanding tourist base will continue with a record January of 8,000 tourists...The bottom line is that we should have more tourists in Palau in 2004 than at any time in our history."
I would like to see some forecasted numbers, say that our economy will more than double the yearly growth rate of about 2 percent. It would be better to have the numbers so that we at least can have the level of comfort to know that the administration is serious about meeting its stated economic goals, and furthermore, so that the public can be provided with a measure to gauge the performance of the administration against its economic forecast. Instead of just muddling through taking credit when necessary and reverting to the cover of "non-payday weekend" when its economic policy fails.
There were more traffic accidents recorded last year a compared to 2002, according to police reports.
In 2003, there were a total of 295 cases of negligent driving, reckless driving, and leaving the scene of an accident, compared to 255 cases in 2002. An increase of 40 more cases or 15 percent.
For months of January to April this year, a total of 77 traffic accidents were reported: 22 in January, 34 in February, and 21 in March. The figures represent a 13 percent increase from what was reported in the same period last year.
In 2003, the month of December posted the highest number of negligent driving, reckless driving, and leaving the scene of an accident with 40. Next is the month of November with 36 reported cases.
Immediately after reading the paper you try to look for answers as to why the increase. That's what the local papers fail fo do. They're just in the business of reporting press release as news.
Could it been hard to ask why the increase? Alcohol related? Or is there a correlation between the increase and new nightclub drinking hours?
As mentioned below, August 19 is the deadline for filing of candidacy at the Office of the Election Commission. Under the present law, filing of nominating petition must be at least 75 days before the general election which is set on November 2. According to the acting adminstrator of the Election Commission no candidate has filed a nominating petition so far.
If more than two candidates filed for the office of the President and Vice President, than a primary election must be held on the last Tuesday of September (September 28) to select the top two candidates for the general election.
A total of $173,250 has been budgeted for this year's general election.
Today is a national holiday, Senior Citizens Day. A day dedicated to those 55 and up. We dedicate the years 14-40 with our Youth Day on March 15. But what about those who are just out of the womb to their pre-teen years, should we have a day of celebration for them? And while we're at it let's do one for the 41- 54 middle age group. Give every age group their day of observance. Why not, we all need more holidays. Not?
Anyway, this day is also for my parents who are both now senior citizens, mom at 63 and pop at 73. Still strong, going up an about everyday.
Mada, a kuureng er a kmal ungil holiday el mora rebek l' senior citizens el kirel tial tokubets el sils er tir.
Palau's hotel rooms have been booked in advance for the July 22-31 Pacific Festival of Arts. More than 2,700 participants from 29 countries have confirmed their attendance to the festival. The islands will also recieve an influx of tourists and visitors from around the world who are expected to come to Palau to witness the festival, which is being billed as a cultural milestone for the country.
The festival organizing committee is encouraging people who have available rooms to rent our their places for the use of the festival. So far more than 30 homes are currently being inspected as possible venues for the Home Stay Program.
Apart from the hotels, the participants will be housed at the eight schools in Koror and Airai.