Sen. Alan Seid has proposed to increase to 20 years the existing 5 years loan term payment to all loans acquired from the National Development Bank of Palau (NDBP). The proposed measure seeks to compensate the proposed increase of maximum loan amount extendable by NDBP from 15 percent to 20 percent. Seid said the measure was introduced due to surplus in borrowing. "There are few borrowers and NDBP has a line of credit with the European Investment Bank and other lending institutions such as ADB that want to lend money to Palau," Seid said...Senator Koshiba said the proposed increase in the maximum loan allowable could send more foreclosed properties going into bank assets. "I understand that there are people who at 15 percent were not able to pay so the bank sued them. I just want to caution that 20 percent maybe too drastic for Palauans," Koshiba said...Sen. Otto expressed weariness that the increase in loan could serve only few people. Sen. Asanuma said some people expressed concerns that with the increase in maximum loan borrowers payments will double. However, Sen. Diaz expressed his full support saying, "if we increase this, people will be eligible to obtain large loans so they can fully utilize their lands like putting up huge buildings or condominiums possible through the Elite Visa Act." (Island Times, January 29, 2008)
Senate President Surangel Whipps introduced a bill, SB No. 7-214 that seeks to reduce the salary of the members of the OEK from a maximum of $50K to $40K. A 20 percent reduction...Whipps explained that each year it has become increasingly difficult to balance the national budget without raising taxes. He said that each agency and branch of the government must make difficult choices and take greater efforts to cut spending to manage its budget...Whipps want OEK to set an exmple. (Palau Horizon, January 29 - 31, 2008)
The Palau Chamber of Commerce (PCOC) is mulling asking Olbiil Era Kelulau to arm it with the power to nominate representatives to all government boards and semi-autonomous agencies..."The chamber will write a letter to the delegates and to the senators and recommend that they are allowed to be a nominating body for all boards and semi-government agencies of the government," said Ken Uyehara, PCOC president. He justified that if the PCOC is appointed as a nominating body for all boards, the practice of favoritism and nepotism would be removed in the nominating process...being an independent body, the chamber could ensure that no cronies or relatives of icumbent elective officials are appointed to public positions..."this will be good for governance in this country," Uyehara said. (Island Times, January 22, 2008)
Bill No. 7-122 introduced by Sens. Whipps and Asanuma proposed to require all persons granted work permits to be fluent in either Palauan or English...Under the proposed bill, the Divisioin of Labor will revoke any work permit issued after the effective date of this Act unless the worker files a certificate stating that they have passed a verbal language test, either Palauan or English, from the Palau Community College. PCC will make provisions for the testing of the verbal, conversational, basic language skills, and comprehension of foreign workers in either Palauan or English...The bill is in second reading. (Tia Belau, January 18 - 24, 2008)
According to Gov. Damian Albis, initiative to be included in the State's general election on February 29 are mainly to streamline the structure of the state government, such as the abolition of municipalities, reduce the number of legislature, and to eliminate the position of the Lt. Governor. Albis said a small island like Sonsorol, the structure of the government is too big for them to maintain. He said most state budget goes to the salaries of the personnel and by eliminating the municipal government and the position of Lt. Governor and by reducing the legislature, they can cut down the expenses to save their funds for much better purpose. "With the money saved we can do a lot of things to the island," Governor Albis said. (Tia Belau, January 18 - 24, 2008)
Senate Bill No.77 as proposed by Senate President Surangel Whipps would require employers to pay the minimum of $2.50 per hour for non-resident workers which will increase every five years of employment by 20 cents. The existing law, 30 PNC Ss 125 does not allow most nonresident workers to recieve $2.50 minimum wage but Whipps believe that redefining it there weill be greater economic advantage to not just to the employees but to the business establishment, and to the Republic of Palau as well.
According to Whipps with the increase in number of nonresident workers who may recieve minimum wage, there will be greater demandto hire Palauans due to increased cost to employ foreigners...fishermen, farmers, domestic servants are exempted in the proposed legislation. An employee of non-profit organizations or a business that earns less than $50K a year will be exempted as well. The bill is currently going through second reading in the Senate. (Tia Belau, January 18 - 24, 2008)
Senator Joshua Koshiba said this week that if he will join this year's Presidential race it is because he intends to run after those behind closure of PSB..."I will find all the criminals behind the closure of PSB," Koshiba said...Recently Koshiba said his main concern if he will run for President is to put behind bars those people whom he described as corrupt officials. He cited as an example the questionable withdrawal of deposits of the entire family of one of the high ranking officials in the country. He said that official whose identity would be revealed once he officially declares his candidacy, had withdrawn his deposits in the bank down to the lowest member of his family just before PSB closure.
Former Labor Chief And current VP Special Assistant Henaro Antonio has disclosed that he will be a candidate for delegate too. Risong Tarkong, one of the President Remengesau's assistants, has also expressed her interest in the race to represent Melekeok in HOD. Earlier, Kazuo Asanuma announced his bid.
It has been reported that Senator Joshua Koshiba is the latest to declare his intention to run for the top executive post of the land. He was said to have made his announcement last Sunday night at Dr. Yano's residence at Steba. He is said to be courting Dr. Emais Roberts to be his running mate.
Not having access to sufficient sterilization equipment in the Operating Room is a major issue relating to emergency preparedness, according to President Remengesau. Remengesau urged the National Treasury to to immediately purchase instrument sterilizer for the operating room at Belau National Hospital. This was after the President learned that patients needing non-emergency surgical procedures, which normally could be performed at BNH are referred off-island due to the shortage of functioning instrument for the operating room..."I have determined this shortages of sterilization equipment to be a threat to public health, welfare and safety," Remengesau said. (Palau Horizon, January 15 - 17, 2007)
In a just completed comprehensive Houshold Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) from Office of Planning and Statistics, shows that average household income in Palau was pegged at $20,000 per year while the average expenditure is $19,000. Estimated annual household income in Palau in 2006 totalled $94 million...Koror contributes $64 million (68%), other states had $14 million (15%), East Babeldaob $6 million (7%), West Babeldaob $6 million (6%), Peleliu $3 million (3%), and Kayangel/Angaur $1.5 million (2%).
Major sources of income comes from wages and salaries contributing 58 percent to the total household income. The Imputed Rent respresents 18 percent of the total while Subsistence Activities or Informal Sector contributes the least.
Senate President Surangel Whipps announced on Tuesday he was joining the presidential bandwagon...He said he would make his formal declaration simultaneous with his 68th birthday on February 21. "I want people to know that I am going to run (for president) but I will make a formal declaration on February 21," he told reporters after the resumption of the regular session of the National Congress. He said he has yet to make a final choice on who would be his vice presidential tandem. " I and my political advisers have been meeting with several persons in search of my running mate but I have not made a formal and final decision yet," Surangel said. He added that he will name his partner as well as his platform of government when he makes his formal declaration next month.
Whipps with colleaques Alan Seid, Santy Asanuma, Yukiwo Dengokl and Caleb Otto are leaving for Taiwan on January 19 at the inivitation of the government of Taiwan. Rumors are abuzz that one of these senators could be his running mate. (Island Times, January 11, 2008)
Senator Alan Seid, who has been rumored to be also training his eyes on the country's top elective post, said he would make a "big announcement" before March 1...He said "I have made a decision already. But I need to dramatize my declaration. I have to do it at a proper venue, at the proper time and with my supporters there. I want to announce my candidacy to the people..." (Island Times, January 11, 2008)
I don’t want to be a grump and come down on readers of this blog - but I also don’t want to be taken for a ride and have my blog used in ways that don’t add value to it or the community around it. There is a fine line in moderating comments - and I want to be transparent as to my stance. I wish I didn’t have to have a comments policy - but unfortunately it’s come to this.
Long time readers of this blog know that I never censor comments based on political or ideological point of view. I only delete those comments that are abusive, off-topic, use excessive foul language, or include ad hominem attacks. In case you’re wondering, I’ve only had five comments deleted so far out of the 12,139 comments to date, in the four years since the inception of this blog on January 1, 2004. And you can believe me, it is not an easy thing to do.
I’m totally fine with the variety of approaches to comments - however I want to communicate to readers of this blog where I stand:
There are a few scenarios in which a comment might be removed or commenters blocked:
1. A comment is abusive, off-topic, uses excessive foul language, or includes an ad hominem attack.
2. If a commenter has previously posted comments that are abusive, off-topic, used excessive foul language, or include ad hominem attacks, I as a blog adminsitrator may decide to ban the commenter's IP address. This means the abusive commenter is banned from commenting on the site in the future, even if the later comments are not abusive. I ban IPs because the sheer volume of comments makes it too time consuming to individually delete comments written by someone with a pattern of abuse.
3. If a commenter shares a computer or IP address with someone who has written abusive comments, it could result in a comment being blocked even if the commenter has never posted anything abusive. If the problem persist, I would consider introducing a user log-in feature that will help mitigate this sort of situation.
But more importantly, I love comments on this blog - they are as important as anything I post myself. They add to the knowledge and community that we have here. If you want to comment then you’re more than welcome - whether you feel you are a beginner or an expert - feel free to have your say.
At Ulimang, Ngaraard New Year's party on January 5, Minister of Finance Elbuchel Sadang, two former governors, Tadashi Sakuma and John Skebong declared to run for the Senate, as did Regis Akitaya. However, Sen. Asanuma who was reportedly present at the same event didn't make an announcement as to his reelection. The four have joined Sen. Otto with public announcements of their candidacy to start the year.
Several names have been recommended as running mate of presidential candidate Johnson Toribiong...Jackson Ngiraingas, Patrick Tellei, Johnny Gibbons, Minister Fritz Koshiba, Sen. Alan Seid, Mark Rudimch, and Uduch Sengebau are among the names that came out...recommended to Johnson by his supporters.
Johnson , however, said he would choose a running mate who is younger than him, who has a college degree, experience with management, financial business, politics, public service, no criminal records, and would give the ticket a geographic balance. Earlier, the name of Ngiraingas as Johnson's running mate has been making a sound in the internet. Palauan blogs (??Okedyulabeluu??) have been discussing the tandem of the two. (Tia Belau, January 4 - 10, 2008)
The lists of the necessary qualifications reminded me of the story "e rengkel rubak el mlo omuus ra chert er ngii el soal a bekerurt, e diak longa cheluch, e bekotak, e merael ra meched, etc..."
More than a year after the seat of government transferred to Ngerulmud, President Remengesau on Wednesday ordered all ministers and directors to relocate their offices in Koror to the capitol building by the end of January this year. "The mantaining of offices both in Koror and Ngerulmud is a needless waste of energy...No minister of director may mantain a Koror office after January 30, 2008," the chief executive stated in Executive Order 245. (Island Times, January 4, 2008)
Senator Caleb Otto said he will run for reelection, the first to publicly announce his bid for a seat in the upper OEK chamber, in the national election to e held in November of this year...Otto said he is pretty sure that Asanuma will also seek reelection…said issues relating to the economy would be a hot item during the campaign period because of the negotiations of the Compact of Free Association with the United States. “The debates will be money and development and the sustainability of the economy,” Otto said. More here. (Palau Horizon, January 4 – 7, 2008)