MOH seeks immediate actions to address threatened services
The Ministry of Health has sent a letter to the office of the president, mind stating that the ministry is in need of an additional budget to prevent future problems. The letter was sent on June 6th, hospital stating that they seek approximately $350,000 to hire and support other important issues in the hospital. They’re also seeking funding that to operate the decompression chamber. The Ministry of Health currently lacks funding to hire replacements for those medical personnel who have retired or resigned, however efforts will continue deliver essential medical services.
Supplemental Budget Update
The Ways and Means and Financial Matters Committee of the House of Delegates recently send a letter to the Ministry of Finance requesting information or practices they use on reviewing the supplemental budget.
A letter from Delegate Secilil Eldebechel from WMFM to Vice President Kerai Mariur requested the following information:
- List all of the Expenditures
- List all employees of the Executive Branch and their salaries
- Electricity Bill for the Government from every month from year 2010 and 2011.
- Reports of bill payment to the PPUC from 2010 to 2011.
- Reports of Remittance payment to the Pension Plan office and the Social Security office.
- Report from the court judgment that the government must pay.
Delegate Eldebechel stated that he needed these information because a ratification of the over expenditures are in the supplemental budget.
US warns Palau officials of One-China policy vs. Taiwan
The United States reminded Palau of the One-China Policy through a diplomatic note that was sent to the Ministry of State following a ribbon cutting ceremony that was attended by both the U.S Ambassador to Palau and the Republic of China-Taiwan Ambassador. Under the policy, all U.S Embassies are not allowed any contact with any representatives from the government of the Republic of China-Taiwan. In addition, the U.S government only recognizes the People’s Republic of China or Mainland China as the sole government. The diplomatic note further asked the Palau government not to invite other foreign embassy representatives to attend such ceremonies if they did not make any contributions to the project at hand. The letter also asked the Ministry of State to advise all state governments and government agencies of the policy.
$41M went in and out of PSB in 2005
In 2005, $41 million was deposited and withdrawn from the defunct Pacific Saving Bank according to a report by former independent counsel. A confidential report by then Independent Counsel Lewis K. Harley that was recently made public discloses “unusual” banking transactions involving millions of dollars going in and out of the Pacific Savings Bank in the years leading up its collapse in November 2006. The report also stated that an accountant reconciled bank’s account found that in 2005 a sum of over $41 million was deposited and withdrawn all in the same year, which was noted as an unusual banking transactions for a bank of this size. With his findings, Harley made a recommendation to the Republic in 2009 to hire a forensic accountant to look into the matter. However since then, a forensic accountant has not been hired. According to reports, President Toribiong indicated that a Special Prosecutor must be hired first before obtaining a forensic accountant. Palau is still without Special Prosecutor, and the Office of the Attorney General is currently handling SP cases.
No General Manager for PPUC since Mr. Ken Uyehara served his time as GM
The Palau Public Utilities Corporation continues to operate without a permanent General Manager since Interim GM Ken Uyehara’s contract expired. Although the Board has not hired a permanent CEO yet, they appointed one of its members as a temporary Managing Director and CEO. A legal opinion released by the Law office of Dengchokl, Dimitruk and Nakamura states that the resolution that appointed John Sugiyama as the temporary Managing Director is improper. Furthermore, the General Manager and CEO of PPUC must be a non-voting member. Sugiyama was appointed by the President and approved by the Senate with full board membership with voting rights, which means that his temporary appointment to the position is improper.
Campbell is to visit Palau in August
A high official from the United States Department of State will be visiting in August of this year. Kurt Campbell, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs will be meeting with President Toribiong during his visit to discuss several issues among them is the Uyghurs temporary stay in Palau. In his letter, Campbell also revealed that the permanent resettlement of the Uyghurs is still in progress. He also thanked Palau of its commitment to resettle them temporarily.
Two Filipino nationals found guilty on drug charges
Two Filipino nationals now serve a lengthy jail sentence in Palau for drug related charges. German Nunez, who earlier entered a not guilty plea to counts of trafficking methamphetamine, was sentenced to serve 12 ½ years and pay $5,000 in fines. In a separate, but similar case, Christopher Guevarra who was found guilty of attempted trafficking of controlled substance was sentenced to also serve 12 ½ years in jail and pay $5,000 in fines. Both men are now serving their jail sentences at Palau’s correctional facility in Koror.
Palau elected VP of the UN General Assembly
Palau was elected as of the Vice Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly. Palau was the only Pacific Island country elected, however it serves the position with several other countries such as China, Honduras, Israel, Lebanon, Nepal, Netherlands, Peru, Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Trinidad & Tobago, United Kingdom and the United States. The Republic of Serbia was elected as President.
Palau-Taiwan farmers created a program called “ Klaingeseu”
The Palau-Taiwan Farmers Association has established a new program entitled the “Klaingeseu”. The program puts in place a collaborative initiative between farmers, vendors and consumers. The new program will also involve training in terms of helping farmers obtain marketing skills and adding value to their crop. Such program will also include visits to various farm sites.
Ngaremlengui State held it’s first Women’s Conference on June 15, 2012
On June 15, Ngaremlengui State held its first ever women’s conference. More than 100 women participated in the conference where they discussed several issues such as tourism development, customs, education and other s. The conference will become an annual gathering for Ngaremlengui women to discuss current issues and find solutions.