Friday, August 28, 2009

Snubs and Ifit

Let’s Fix It: Of snubs and Ifit
Thursday, 27 August 2009
by Sen. Judi Guthertz
Marianas Variety

JUST a few weeks ago, a congressional delegation came to Guam and the six members of the U.S. Congress met with members of the Guam Legislature more than once during their visit, and in general were friendly, open and welcoming to the local community. Their presence and their actions made the people of Guam feel as if we are an actual part of the American Union.

Fast-forward to this week and the Washington establishment presents its other face, and offers a totally different experience. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus was here on Guam, and unfortunately he hardly paid attention to anyone who was not in uniform. He made some of us remember what it feels like to live in a colony.

Repeated attempts by my office to set up a meeting were ignored, and the Navy reportedly eliminated a visit with the Guam Legislature because of time constraints. There wasn’t even a courtesy telephone call or e-mail to say that the Navy secretary was going to bypass us, because of a trip to the CNMI and a meeting with the governor and
legislators there.

Sometimes, when we hear the tremendous buzz about the buildup, and we hear about all of the dollars and yen that will potentially be spent on Guam, we fall back into our “wishful thinking” mode. We think, “maybe our federal government will treat us fairly. Maybe they won’t ignore us this time. Maybe they won’t forget us this time. The reality is that we are an unincorporated territory, which is just a nice way of saying “colony.” We have a lesser status than the CNMI just 75 miles to the north.

The feds don’t need to talk to us, and they know they don’t have to. It’s frustrating that the CNMI has indigenous fishing rights and we don’t; they have relief from high ocean shipping rates and we don’t; they have SSI and we don’t.

And their legislators met with Secretary Mabus, and we didn’t.

Instead, we received an e-mail hours after the meeting didn’t take place, with an apology attached. We all know how it feels to be so unimportant that we don’t even rate an advisory call or e-mail in advance.

Despite the snub, we must move forward. Sen. Respicio and I are working with the University of Guam’s School of Business and Public Administration to put on the “Island Conference on the Guam Military Buildup: the Guam Perspective,” on November 19 and 20. We have invited President Obama, President Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines, and a host of others. We will also be inviting both Navy Secretary Ray Mabusand Admiral Douglass Biesel, who is Commander Joint Region Marianas.

What better way for them to make up for what didn’t happen on this visit, and what better way for them to learn how the real people of Guam feel about the buildup?


In a related matter, I’ve written to Admiral Biesel about the Ifit trees on military property. It’s the Territorial Tree of Guam and its very hard wood was used in traditional construction. It’s a favorite of a number of traditional carvers.

Upcoming military construction may require cutting down some Ifit trees on military property. Although Guam law protects the Ifit, I’m not sure it has any federal protection. I’ve asked Admiral Biesel if he could ensure that if Ifit trees are to be cut down, they are properly harvested and their timber be offered to the local carvers.

This could generate good will in the community. It won’t make up for past wrongs, but every step forward, no matter how small, is worth the effort.


Senator Judith Paulette Guthertz, DPA, chairs the 30th Guam Legislature’s Committee on the Guam Military Buildup and Homeland Security. Send feedback to senatorjudiguthertz@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Guam Leaders and Feds Discuss Compact Impact

Guam, feds discuss Compact impact
By Clynt Ridgell
Published Aug 28, 2009

The subject of Compact impact dominated discussions this morning between lawmakers and a delegation from Washington. Allan Stayman and Isaac Edwards, who are staffers with the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources along with Wendy Fink and Steve Sander from the Office of Insular Affairs are on island meeting with local elected leaders.

Speaker Judi Won Pat said, "The focus of our topic this morning was exactly that - the compact impact and a suggestion was actually made by Senator [Ben] Pangelinan and Senator BJ Cruz, that when Congress agreed to look at the war reparations, they actually created then a Commission and we were suggesting they need to do the exact same thing so they can bring in the major players Guam, Hawaii, the CNMI, and the other major players who are claiming that they have a large number of FAS citizens."

A meeting was held Thursday afternoon in the Speaker's Office with Senator Frank Blas, Jr., officials from GMH, Public Health and the consul generals of the FSM and Palau. Hawaii reportedly made the decision to cut the free services because the U.S. has not been living up to its obligations of fully reimbursing the state for Compact impact costs.

Election Don't Expected to Alter US-Japan Ties

Election not expected to alter U.S.-Japan ties
By David Allen and Chiyomi Sumida, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Sunday, August 30, 2009

CHATAN, Okinawa — Even though Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is expected to get a spanking in Sunday’s Lower House election, don’t look for any immediate changes in the U.S.-Japan security relationship, political observers say.

The Democratic Party of Japan, which is expected to win about 300 of the 480 seats up for grabs, has backed off of previous calls for major revisions to the country’s military relationship with the United States.

Instead, it has campaigned on pledges that focus on domestic issues.

U.S. officials have taken a wait-and-see stand on the prospect of dealing with a new government, particularly in regards to plans to reduce the U.S. military footprint on Okinawa by transferring 8,000 Marines and their families to Guam by the end of 2014 and closing several bases.

In a broader agreement signed in May 2006, the so-called Roadmap to Realignment hinged on moving Marine air operations from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a new air facility to be built on Camp Schwab.

In the past, the DPJ has opposed the project that U.S. officials have called non-negotiable.

"It’s not maybe everything that everybody wanted," Lt. Gen. Edward Rice, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, said earlier this month. "But it certainly is progress in terms of both providing for the continued defense of Japan and security in the region and decreasing the impact of the presence of U.S. forces on the local communities."

Political observers say the DPJ will be treading cautiously on relations with the U.S. and international relations in general during the first few months it is in power.

That is because DPJ’s priority is domestic issues, said Kazuya Sakamoto, professor of international politics at the University of Osaka.

"Because of this, they would rather maintain the status quo in foreign affairs," he said.

The one change in international affairs, Sakamoto said, will be discontinuing the refueling operations conducted by the Japan Self-Defense Force in the Indian Ocean as part of Japan’s support of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan.

"The DPJ announced earlier that refueling operations would be discontinued after January," Sakamoto told Stars and Stripes last week. But that will have little effect on relations between the two countries, he said.

"The operation has rather a symbolic meaning for U.S.-Japan cooperation," he said.

The DPJ has backed away from its previous call for sweeping changes in the status of forces agreement and host nation support for the U.S. bases.

The party’s current platform now calls for minor changes in the SOFA, including stronger requirements on the U.S. to restore property to its original condition when it’s turned over to Japan.

Okinawan DPJ candidates, although strongly against the Futenma relocation project, appear to be toeing the party line.

While Dennie Tamaki, the party’s candidate from the Okinawa City area, is strongly against the project and wants a drastic reduction in the U.S. military presence on Okinawa, he will not be pressing the issue, senior campaign official Masayoshi Ishikawa said Thursday.

"His priority will be on making sure the jobs of the Japanese employees of the bases are secure," Ishikawa said, adding that Tamaki wants to be sure there is replacement employment whenever a base is closed.

After the post-election confetti has been swept away, the DPJ will also be looking to the situation in North Korea, Sakamoto said.

"The most imminent matter for Japan is North Korea’s nuclear issue, not the realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan or the relocation of Futenma air station," he said. "Japan hopes for denuclearization of the peninsula to secure peace and stability in the region."

In an op-ed piece Friday in the New York Times, party leader Yukio Hatoyama, who is expected to be the next prime minister, said "the Japan-U.S. security pact will continue to be the cornerstone of Japanese diplomatic policy."

However, the country will no longer be the "yes man" he accused the LDP of being.

"We want a relationship where we can make suggestions because we are an ally of the U.S., and not a relationship where we dispatch the Japan Self-Defense Forces overseas having been told to do so by the U.S.," Hatoyama said recently during a news conference in Tokyo.

While the realignment of U.S. troops in Japan may continue, it won’t be at full speed, predicts Masaaki Gabe, professor of international relations at University of the Ryukyus.

Gabe said it will be difficult for the DPJ to abandon the Futenma relocation project, however.

"It’s already ongoing," Gabe said. "But, if they win more than 300 seats, they will likely meddle with the 2010 budget bill, which includes realignment related costs, scheduled to be submitted to the Diet in September."

That could affect Japan’s promise to contribute 60 percent of the $10 billion price tag placed on the relocation of Marines to Guam, Gabe said.

Unlicensed Doctors at DMHSA

Medical examiners board investigating physician practicing without license
By Janjeera Hail
Published Aug 28, 2009

It's not the kind of news anyone wants to hear a doctor practicing without a license. That's apparently what's under investigation when it comes to a physician recently hired at the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. Already facing a mountain of legal troubles that could lead to federal receivership, the agency was hit with another blow last week when a complaint was filed with the Guam Medical Examiners Board regarding psychiatrist Dr. Ione DeJesus' lack of a proper license to practice.

Acting director Jason Tedtaotao said that DeJesus arrived on Guam earlier this month, saying the physician, "Provides psychiatric services, medical services in the mental health area." Dr. Patrick Santos sits on the Guam Board of Medical Examiners and has been assigned to the subcommittee in charge of investigating the complaint against Dr. DeJesus. He says that the physician, who is already licensed in the state of New York, is qualified.

But the issue stems from the type of license that she was applying for here on Guam.

Santos explained, "But apparently some minor items were missing and until we get that we cannot issue a license yet, but we could have easily issued a temporary license, which is good for six months. But unfortunately, the Department of Mental Health wanted a full licensure."

Dr. Santos along with the investigatory committee will continue to review the complaint and hope to have the issue resolved by next week's board meeting. No word yet on what the repercussions could be, but this ordeal has highlighted shortcoming within the administration at Mental Health.

"It sheds some credibility issues on the administration at Mental Health," noted Santos. "I'm sure they were aware of licensing procedures and protocols, and unfortunately maybe they should have gotten a temporary license first."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

US Troop Role in Philippines

US troops’ combat role in RP revealed
By Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:23:00 08/27/2009

MANILA, Philippines-The woman who blew the whistle on a fund mess involving the RP-US Balikatan exercises said American soldiers were purportedly “embedded” with Filipino troops in combat situations in Mindanao, and that the United States had taken part in the “planning of combat operations” against terrorist and Moro targets.

With nuns from the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines serving as her bodyguards, retired Navy Lt. Nancy Gadian Wednesday faced the media in a press conference organized by the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).

Copies of her affidavit detailing her observations while stationed in Mindanao and affirming her belief that US troops were based permanently in the country were distributed at the press conference.

Gadian’s lawyer, Evalyn Ursua, said the affidavit would be submitted to the Senate on Thursday. Gadian has expressed willingness to testify at the joint congressional hearing on the continued stay of American troops in the country.

“The [US] soldiers who are deployed in Mindanao are part of the Special Operations Command. This is a unit of highly capable and technically skilled individuals. They will not be deployed here if they are not combat-ready,” Gadian said.

She admitted that she had no personal knowledge on the US soldiers’ purported involvement in actual warfare, but said in her affidavit that Filipino soldiers had confirmed to her “that US troops are embedded in Philippine troops who are engaged in actual combat in Mindanao.”

She also said in her affidavit that she had attended “a couple of situation briefings” where members of the US Special Operations Command gave the Philippine military “intelligence reports on the location of the Abu Sayyaf and secessionist groups in Mindanao.”

Asked to comment, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr. said Gadian would have to prove her claims in the “proper court.”

At press time, the US Embassy had yet to respond to a text message seeking comment, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement had yet to issue a statement.

Violation of Constitution

At the press conference, Gadian asserted that the US military had taken part in the planning of Philippine combat operations.

Aided by their “highly sophisticated equipment, they give information to the AFP counterpart,” she said.

“They have special intelligence equipment and in many instances that I was in the briefings in the conference room, the US counterpart would say where … the enemies are, either Abu Sayyaf or Muslim secessionist,” Gadian said.

“In [the Balikatan] 2002-1, the focus was on the Abu Sayyaf, and we know that they had a role in the neutralization of high-ranking personalities of the Abu Sayyaf,” she said.

Ursua said the participation of US troops in combat planning or their providing intelligence information was a violation of the 1987 Constitution.

“The most fundamental [provision] is national sovereignty … and our Constitution prohibits the presence of US troops. What Ms Gadian is saying is, for the past seven years their presence in the Philippines has been permanent and continuous,” the lawyer said.

She added: “The intelligence [operations], how do they justify that? That is part of the prohibition. They are allowed to use intelligence equipment all over, wherever they want. How do you justify that legally?”

US structures

The US military has also built permanent and temporary structures in several AFP camps in Mindanao, Gadian said.

These structures are often “off limits” to AFP personnel, and Filipino soldiers, including generals and other ranking officials, can enter only upon invitation and are limited to certain areas, she said.

In her affidavit, Gadian explained that the permanent structures “are those with fixed foundations made of concrete and cannot be easily removed.”

She said that since 2002, the Americans had temporary, as well as two permanent, structures in Camp Basilio Navarro, the headquarters of the AFP Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) in Calarian, Zamboanga City.

The headquarters of the US Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) is also at Camp Navarro.

Said Gadian in her affidavit: “The American camp in Camp Navarro consists of two permanent structures, built by the Americans, located near the office of the Headquarters Service Group of the [Wesmincom].

“The two permanent structures are fenced off by barbed wires and guarded by US Marines. Filipinos have no access to those two structures except that on occasions, a few Filipino officers are invited inside the bigger structure [but still on a limited access] which has the name of the [JSOTF-P].”

4 AFP camps

Gadian said the Americans had also built and maintained temporary and permanent structures in the Edwin Andrews Air Base for their personnel and equipment, including tanks and communication facilities.

“This area is fenced and secured by Filipinos and Americans hired by Dyn Corp., an American private military contractor. Filipinos have no access to this area,” she said.

According to Gadian, the Americans have access to the air base’s airstrip, and their planes come and go almost every other day. Their aircraft-C-12, C-130 and Chinook-are parked at the base operations center.

Gadian named the four AFP camps where the US troops maintain “temporary structures”-Camp Malagutay in Barangay Malagutay, Zamboanga City, the training camp of the Philippine Army; the Philippine Naval Station in Batu-Bato, Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi; the Naval Forces Wesmincom in Lower Calarian in Camp Navarro; and Camp General Bautista in Busbus, Jolo, Sulu.

Wood, GI sheets

In Camp Malagutay, the Americans’ office is a structure made of wood and GI sheets with a container van beside it, Gadian said.

It occupies 200-300 square meters of land, fenced off and “generally not accessible to Filipinos,” but the Americans have access to the Philippine Army’s training facilities, she said.

Gadian said she first saw the temporary structure, also made of wood and GI sheets, in the Philippine Naval Station in 2004.

Staffed by seven US Navy personnel, the structure occupies some 200 sq m and houses advanced satellite communication equipment, she said. Rubber boats and land vehicles are parked in the vicinity.

Gadian said the Americans had been operating their structure at the Naval Forces in Wesmincom since 2002.

In Camp General Bautista, they have temporary structures occupying some 1,000 sq m that house personnel of the US Special Operations Command Pacific “365 days a year,” Gadian said in her affidavit.

“In all, the US troops stationed inside Camp Navarro and other parts of Mindanao total about 500 at each particular time, on a rotating basis of three months each. These troops are stationed in Mindanao even without any Balikatan exercises going on,” she said.

At the press conference, Gadian said she and mostly AFP junior officers and enlisted personnel had wondered about the US structures in the Philippines, as well as the US warships (called “frigates”) seen within the country’s “exclusive economic zone.”

She said that on a superior’s instructions, some Filipino soldiers were once brought to a warship where they even sold bottles of a popular local rum for $3 each to the US troops.

In her affidavit, she explained that frigates were for “war and equipped with missiles,” and were utilized as a “fleet in being” or a show of force.

Free ride

Gadian lamented at the press conference that Filipino soldiers had gained very little benefits from the RP-US Balikatan exercises.

At most, she said, Filipino soldiers got a “free ride” in state-of-the-art US aircraft.

As for the humanitarian missions, Gadian said that while it was true that US troops had built school buildings and roads for Filipinos, these were infrastructure that the Philippine government should provide its constituents.

She pointed out that Filipino women were being forced into prostitution by the continued US presence in Mindanao.

Gadian also denounced the arrogance with which US troops treated Filipino soldiers like herself.

She recalled an American soldier signaling to her using his fingers instead of calling her by her name. She said she was incensed and told him: “Don’t treat me like a dog. This is our country.”


Monday, August 24, 2009

Buildup Hits Another Snag

Buildup hits another snag
Monday, 24 August 2009 01:08 by Gerardo Partido | Variety News Staff .

Conflict over military housing may delay Marines’ relocationTHE planned transfer of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam has apparently hit another snag as Japanese media reported over the weekend that there are serious “differences” between the U.S. and Japan over a housing project for the relocating Marines.

The Kyodo news agency, citing sources close to Japan-U.S. relations, reported that these differences revolve around conflicting interpretations over the quality standards for the housing project.

Earlier, Japanese opposition officials already expressed concerns over the “expensive” cost of housing units on Guam given by U.S. authorities.

Bloomberg News had quoted opposition Democratic Party of Japan legislator Keiichiro Asao as saying that the projected $700,000 per housing unit for the Marines quoted by the U.S. is too much given that the land is already free.

Japan election

The Japanese election is just a week away and the opposition, which had been pushing for a review of the Guam buildup costs, is widely predicted to take over power from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

According to Kyodo, the housing project for the Marines is already more than six months behind schedule because of the conflict between the U.S. and Japanese sides.

Moreover, the impasse may delay bids by potential contractors since it normally takes about a year and half before the winning bidder is selected and three to four years before a project of that size can be completed.

This threatens to delay the Marines’ transfer, which was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014 by both governments.


According to Kyodo, another cause of friction is the U.S. proposal to use part of the Japanese funding to help improve military facilities on Guam that are not directly linked to the transfer of the Okinawa-based Marines.

Public opinion in Japan is already very much against the financing plan for the relocation of the Marines, which many Japanese consider too high and unfair.

The decision to take on $6 billion of the total cost marks the first time a Japanese government has agreed to share the costs of building and improving facilities at a U.S. base overseas and this has enraged Japanese nationalists.

Kyodo said the deadlock in the talks to relocate the Marines to Guam may also affect the plan to transfer the heliport functions of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station from Ginowan to Nago, both in Okinawa, as the two elements are closely tied by the bilateral agreement.

Another Kyodo source, which the news agency did not name, said a delay beyond 2014 appears to have become the "tacit understanding" of officials from both sides.

Under the May 2006 agreement, Japan is to shoulder up to $6.09 billion of the $10.27 billion relocation cost mainly to build houses and improve infrastructure.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Self-Determination and Realpolitik

Island Stir: Self-Determination and Realpolitik
Friday, 21 August 2009 00:10 by Gerardo Partido
Marianas Variety News Staff

The issue of self-determination has become prominent again after the recent visit to the island by a congressional delegation led by Congressman Nick Rahall of West Virginia.

Congressman Rahall, responding to a question from Sen. Eddie Calvo during a forum, stated that he supports self-determination for Guam and that the federal government would abide with whatever decision island residents make with regard to political status.

Rahall is the chairman of the House committee with direct oversight over Guam. And as Sen. Ben Pangelinan noted in his column last Tuesday, Rahall’s statement was the first declaration of support in recent memory from someone with real power in Congress.

Rahall, however, was probably just being gracious to his hosts. Under the concept of realpolitik, which states that politics are amoral and that things should be looked at realistically, I doubt whether the federal government would give Guam a chance for self-determination, at least not in the immediate future.

As the champion of freedom and democracy in the world, the U.S. may morally and ideologically support self-determination. But under realpolitik, Guam is just too important to U.S. security for the federal government to just allow us to adopt whatever political status we want.

Ever since the U.S. Navy and Air Force were forced out of the Philippines, Guam has become America’s most strategic fortress in this part of the world. Guam truly is the tip of the American spear and this is not just rhetoric.

With China continuing to grow as a superpower and Guam in proximity to the major hotspots in the region, America would never dare risk its control over Guam even at the expense of its ideals.

Under realpolitik, two of the options available to Guam for self-determination (namely independence and free association) may already be counted out.

It is hard to see the U.S. granting Guam independence as it did the Philippines. Look at what happened in the Philippines and how America’s bases were booted out there. America simply can’t take that chance again.

On the other hand, free association and commonwealth may not be desirable to the U.S. either because the military cannot build up its forces here if we have our own independent immigration and labor policy as the CNMI does.

In fact, the impending federalization of the CNMI can be seen as part of the U.S. attempt to increase security and tighten its control.

With the U.S. building up its forces on Guam, it makes no sense, security-wise, for our neighbors in the north to be inundated with Russian and Chinese tourists as well as alien workers. Thus, our tourism leaders can dream all they want but it is highly unlikely that Russia and China will be included in the new visa waiver program.

The federalization of the CNMI, the final implementing rules of which will be released in just a matter of weeks, is really meant to exert more control over the CNMI and by fait accompli link it closer to Guam, with our island as the dominant partner.

The closer integration of Guam and a satellite CNMI is a natural development given the military buildup. This integration would not only make it more convenient to manage security, it would also give the U.S. more areas for military use.

As for statehood, the third self-determination option, Guam can gain a lot of benefits from total integration with the United States.

But the real question under realpolitik is what’s in it for the United States? They already get their benefits from Guam under the island’s current political status as an unincorporated U.S. territory. Would the U.S. want the additional costs and responsibility that statehood would bring?

Of course, the situation is not totally hopeless. As Sen. Pangelinan pointed out, the stars may indeed be aligned for Guam’s self-determination with Rahall’s declaration of support, a more enlightened U.S. leader in President Obama, and a native son as an assistant secretary of the Department of Interior.

But unless we see truly concrete actions from the federal government in support of self-determination, let us welcome Rahall’s promise of support but not expect too much from it.

The Last Walkout

"The Last Walkout"
Michael Lujan Bevacqua
August 22, 2009

Several months ago, Guam and the Chamorro community lost a man that some referred to as the “Last Chamorro Statesman” and others the “Father of the Organic Act.” Tun Carlos Pangelinan Taitano, a man known for so many things in Guam over the course of his more than nine decades of life died on March 25, 2009.

When looking back at what he did over the course of his life, kulang bubula’ i lista, it seems impossible for this to be the life of only one person. He was one of the organizers of the Guam Congress Walkout in 1949, the only Chamorro to attend the signing of the Organic Act, a Speaker of the Guam Legislature for the Territorial Party, one of the first Chamorro officers in the US Army, a dancer, a playwright, a historian and one of the founders of the dance group Taotao Tano’ with Frank Rabon, which has been essential in making possible the renaissance of Chamorro dance that we know today.

Taitano was one of those truly butmuchåchu na souls that emerged from the ashes of Guam’s destruction of I Tiempon Chapones (WWII), with a sense of the openess of Guam’s future. That the world was truly different, it wasn’t completely free (kao magåhet na manlibre hit? Ahe’), but it was very different from the prewar colonial era. The key difference was that whether or not the future would be gofha’ån or noplådu, bright or dark for Guam and for Chamorros depended on how much Chamorros were willing to work and to fight.

He is one of the last elite names from that generation, who were already adults when the Japanese invaded Guam, and who then became responsible for rebuilding Guam afterwards. As one of the last of his generation, I often wonder what he thought of what him and his manachaåmko’ had accomplished. Taitano had the privilege and the curse of being one of the last of them who could speak authoratively on what decisions Guam has made since World War II in developing and establishing itself. It is a story of intense Americanization, in a very short period. Rapid modernization and growth, which always seems to teeter as if unsustainable, and the cost of which has been tåno’, lenguåhi, kuttura and sovereignty.

It is easy for anyone, from un takhilo’ na matua to un takpappa’ na manachang to lament how things have changed, and how much different things are. But when someone like Taitano would look over the Guam of today and see the lines of a thousand different maps of Guam laying atop each other, sometimes overlapping, sometimes blending, sometimes displacing, spanning over close to a century of life, change and transition. Would he see himself as a passive observer of those changes, or somehow, who for better or worse, played a big role in making those changes?

Taitano distinguished himself however from most in that generation, in that he saw Guam’s future not only lying with the United States, in following its example, in emulating it and celebrating it in any way possible, but he say the need to protect the culture, the rights and the future of Chamorros. Although Taitano’s preferred political status choice for Guam was statehood, that didn’t in any way take away from his commitment to Chamorros, and to working in some small and some large ways in ensuring that they, their history and their place in this world would not vanish.

He was a vocal advocate for Guam and for the Chamorro people, and made such clear in one of his final interviews before his passing, given to GU magazine earlier this year. He was speaking in terms of what people on Guam and in particular Chamorros as a colonized people should do in terms of getting some power in this process.

The obvious thing here is, the people need a voice. They need to actively
petition and push for their right to decide on the destiny of our island. It is
our right to determine what happens on our land. The people have to urge the
leaders of Guam to fight for their rights, for their interests. If that route
does not work, then use the media. The local media is a start, as far as
relaying the message to Guam residents. But, what the people of Guam really need
is exposure to the whole nation and even the whole world. We can’t sit back and
just let things happen. We can’t just wait for things to work themselves out
because that doesn’t carry over well in the scheme of things.
Achokka’ gi minatai, gof fafayi ha’ este na sinangan. Debi di ta pega este gi fi’on i korason-ta yan i tintanos-ta. Esta makpo’ i che’cho’-mu guini gi hilo’ tano’, lao debi di ta hassuyi i fino’-mu.

Adios Tun Carlos.

Nagasaki Mayor Urges Nuclear Arms Ban

Nagasaki mayor urges worldwide nuclear arms ban
Associated Press
August 8, 2009

TOKYO - The mayor of Nagasaki called for a global ban on nuclear arms at a ceremony marking the 64th anniversary of the devastating U.S. attack on the Japanese city that killed about 80,000 people.

In a speech given just after 11:02 a.m. - the time when a plutonium American bomb flattened Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945 - Mayor Tomihisa Taue said some progress toward eliminating nuclear weaponry had been made but more needed to be done.

He cited a speech by President Obama in April calling on the world to rid itself of atomic weapons, but also noted a nuclear test blast by North Korea in May.

“We, as human beings, now have two paths before us. While one can lead us to a world without nuclear weapons, the other will carry us toward annihilation, bringing us to suffer once again the destruction experienced in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 64 years ago,” he said.

The atomic attack on Nagasaki came three days after one on Hiroshima, in which 140,000 people were killed or died within months. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, ending World War II.

At Sunday’s ceremony, Nagasaki observed a moment of silence at the moment of detonation 64 years earlier, while a large bell in the city’s Peace Park was rung repeatedly.

Taue invited leaders of countries possessing nuclear arms to come to Nagasaki and speak to survivors of the attack.

Prime Minister Taro Aso and other dignitaries also addressed the crowd of thousands that had assembled for the ceremony.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cultural Resurgence: Pa'a Americorps

Cultural resurgence: Pa'a AmeriCorps Community Linala y Kutturan Chamorro program aims to educate
By Amritha Alladi
August 19, 2009

Before any hint of a military buildup, before the invasion of Japanese troops, and even before Magellan's white sails billowed in Guam's horizon, Guam was home to an indigenous people -- the Chamorro -- a people whose beliefs were steeped in respect for their elders and whose culture centered on the celebration of both the island's beauty and the strength of their communities.

It is that culture that the Pa'a AmeriCorps Community Linala y Kutturan Chamorro program at Agana Heights aims to preserve and promulgate. Through weekly lessons in basket-weaving, chanting and dancing, the program serves to instill awareness and love for the Chamorro culture, according to program director Nicole Calvo. She says Pa'a received funding through an AmeriCorps grant from the Serve Guam Commission.

"What we are trying to do is a resurgence, a renaissance into our ancient culture, something that we've lost," Calvo says.

Charmorro language, cuisine and family values have been retained, but the performing arts are absent from many of the celebrations, according to Calvo.
When Americorps applied for the grant, Agana Heights, Mangilao, Barrigada, Santa Rita and Agat were the municipalities most receptive to the idea, but soon, mayors from other villages followed suit. Now, Dededo, Yona, Talafofo and Inarajan are also taking part.

Americorps has hired Frank Rabon, master of Chamorro dance, to train the island's instructors on Guam's native dances. Rabon says he has been doing ongoing reasearch for the last 30 years, and has studied extensively the dances of the Austronesian, Micronesian and Polynesian islands to recreate a Chamorro dance unique to Guam.
Ironically, he says his generation lost the interest to learn those arts.

"There was a resistance from the elders 25 years ago," he says. "That was something that was not familiar to them, being that (what) they remember were the outside influences."

Instead, it's today's youth who are looking to reconnect with their roots, and so far, teenagers such as 16-year-old Luke Tedtaotao Jr., have been receptive in learning.

Tedtaotao has been learning Chamorro dance for the last six years under the tutelage of Eileen Meno of the Pa'a TaoTao Tano dance troupe, and now, he's attending Rabon's classes. As a child, he said he never bothered to ask his parents or grandparents what Chamorro culture was, but now, he wants to protect his identity.

Initially his peers at school teased him for learning the traditional dance in which he "shakes his butt," but it didn't faze him, he says.
"It's not just entertainment," he says. "This is my passion. It's in my heart to do this."

The costume for the dance is traditional: grass skirts and wooden staffs. Tedtaotao says the women cover up in a simple cloth and the boys and men where loincloths known as "sadi" and carry a wooden staff as the bachelors and warriors of centuries past once did. Tedtaotao says the movements express the stories of their ancestors.
"It's not just, 'Ooh I love this girl or this boy.' It's how strong your ancestors were in the past."

According to Rabon, Guam's hospitality industry needs to "wake up" to this reality. He says there is a Chamorro culture unique to Guam, and that hotels need to "start perpetuating what we are," rather than showcase Hawaiian or Tahitian dances as local.
"Wake up and smell the coffee because it smells good and tastes good," he says. But more than the hotels, it's the local residents who will benefit from the riches Chamorro arts have to offer, he says.

Plus, the classes will also prepare Guam for the 12th Festival of the Pacific Arts competition among the Pacific island nations, which will be hosted in Guam in 2016, says Calvo.

Classes begin this week in villages all over the island. Anyone interested in Chamorro culture is invited to attend.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Guam Resists Military Colonization

Published on Monday, August 17, 2009 by
Guam Resists Military Colonization
Having No Say When Washington Tries to Increase your Population by 25%
by Ann Wright

The United States and the Chinese governments have some remarkable similarities when it comes to colonization. The Chinese government has sent a huge Han population to inhabit Tibet and overwhelm the Tibetan population, even building the world's highest railway to get people and materials there.

The United States government, with virtually no consultation with the local government and citizens, is increasing the population of its non-voting territory, Guam, by 25%. 8,000 U.S. Marines, their dependents and associated logistics units and personnel-a total of 42,000 new residents-will be moved to the small Pacific island (barely three times the size of Washington, DC) that has a current population of 175,000. The move will have a tremendous impact on the cultural and social identity of the island.

These military forces are being relocated to Guam, in great measure, because of the "Close US Military Bases" campaign organized by citizen activists in Okinawa, Japan. The United States has had a huge military presence there since the end of World War II.

I thought I was reasonably well-informed about America's interests in the Pacific. I had worked as a US diplomat in Micronesia for two years and travelled many times through Guam, a US territory, located an 8 hour flight west of Honolulu.

But earlier this month, in Guam on a study tour sponsored by a coalition of Japanese peace activists spearheaded by CODEPINK-Osaka, Japan, which included a former member of the Japanese Diet (Parliament), I learned new aspects of the decision to relocate this large number of U.S. military to Guam.

Guam was first colonized by the Spanish in the 1500s, became a US colony in 1898, a war-trophy from the Spanish-American war and served as a stopover for ships travelling to the Philippines. During World War II, Guam was attacked and occupied by Japan on December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. American citizens living on the island had been evacuated by the United States government before the attack, but the indigenous Chamorro population was left behind. During the 31 months of Japanese occupation, the Chamorros endured forced labor, concentration camps, forced prostitution, rape and execution by the Japanese military. The United States military returned three and one-half years later on July 21, 1944 to retake Guam.

In 1950, Guam was made an "unincorporated territory" of the United States by a US Congressional act and residents were given US as one of 16 "non-self governing territories" left in the world.

Lands were taken after World War II from the native Chamorro population without compensation by the US military to construct major air and naval bases which the US military still uses. Currently, there are 3,000 US Air Force and 2,000 US Navy personnel and 1,000 employees of other federal security agencies assigned to Guam.

Three Guam legislators told us that the Guam government has not been properly consulted in the discussions between the US and Japanese governments on the relocation of the large US Marine force. Guam officials have been given little firm information about the military expansion plans. They are very concerned about the impact of further militarization of their island as its major income is provided by hundreds of thousands of Japanese tourists who visit the tropical island annually.

They are disturbed by rumors of proposed forced condemnation of another 950 acres of land owned by members of the native Chamorro population for a live fire range for the incoming Marines. Residues of Agent Orange left from the Vietnam War and other toxic wastes from the military bases, plus the possibility that artillery shells and other munitions made from depleted uranium will be used on their island, are all sources of concern for the people of Guam.

In order to get the 8,000 US Marines out of Okinawa, the Japanese government is paying $6 billion to the US government for their relocation. Guam officials are concerned that not enough of the relocation funds will be made available for the large infrastructure improvements that will be needed for the island's roads, water, sewage and electrical systems as it tries to support a 25% increase in population. They feel the military will take care of its bases but may leave the local population struggling with the new infrastructure problems created by the large number of military personnel.

The Japanese people, too, are in the dark about the details of the billions of dollars they will pay the US government to have US forces leave Japan. Japanese members of our delegation were shocked when they learned from local Guam activists that the relocation budget calls for the Japanese government to pay $650,000 for the construction of each new house on the base, while Guam activists told us the cost of a middle class home on Guam is around $250,000. The Japanese delegation was greatly concerned that their government is funding such inflated projects and is going to raise the budget with Japanese Diet members when they return to Japan.

Of concern to the Guam business community is consideration by US House of Representatives law makers to give Japanese contractors the same access as American firms to bidding on contracts worth more than $2.5 billion in upcoming US military construction projects on Guam. Apparently, the Japanese government, like the US government, likes to have its commercial firms benefit from government aid projects it is funding "overseas." With Japan's $6 billion contribution to the $10 billion cost of relocating the Marines, Japan wants some of that money returned to Japan through construction contracts on the Guam infrastructure projects.

Many Guam officials and a large number of Guam citizens are deeply concerned about the cultural, economic and security impact of the dramatic increase in population and militarization of their island the relocation would present. The current cultural divide of those living in relative luxury inside the bases with better housing, schools and services has been a source of friction between the US military and the local population over the years.

Guam officials said that they too have been perturbed about the extraordinarily high expenditures on US military base facilities, when the Government of Guam is strapped financially. The officials said they were amazed and horrified when they learned that the Air Force recently built an on-base animal kennel for $27 million, with each animal space costing $100,000, when locally, the government is unable to provide sufficient infrastructure for its citizens, much less animals.

Professors and students at the University of Guam expressed concern that there will be a sharp increase in sexual assault and rape on the island due to the relocation of US Marines. They believe one of the reasons the Japanese government finally was able to get the US government to move some military forces out of Okinawa was because of major citizen mobilizations that occurred in response to rapes by US military personnel.

In 2008, the US Ambassador to Japan had to fly to Okinawa to give his apologies for the rape of a 14 year old girl by a US Marine. The US military forces on Okinawa had a 3 day stand-down for "reflection" and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had to express her "regrets" to the Japanese Prime Minister "for the terrible incident that happened in Okinawa... we are concerned for the well-being of the young girl and her family."

In April, 2008, U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Tyrone Hadnott, 38, who had been in the Marines 18 years, was charged with the February 10, 2008, rape of 14 year old girl, abusive sexual contact with a child, making a false official statement, adultery and kidnapping.

On May 17, 2008, Hadnott was found guilty of abusive sexual conduct and the four other charges were dropped. Hadnott was sentenced to four years in prison, but will only serve a maximum of three years in prison due to a pretrial agreement that suspended the fourth year of the sentence. He was reduced to private and given a dishonorable discharge from the US Marines.

The rape accusation against Hadnott stirred memories of a brutal rape more than a decade ago and triggered outrage across Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said that Hadnott's actions were "unforgivable."

There are US Congressional stirrings of concern about the relocation of the Marines to Guam. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee chair Ike Skelton has raised concerns about the size, scope and cost of the move to Guam. "At over $10 billion (two and one-half times the initial cost estimate of $4 billion), it is an enormous project, and I am concerned that the thinking behind it is not yet sufficiently mature," Skelton said at a recent Congressional hearing. "We need to do this, but it needs to be done right."

In a challenge to US military "forward deployment" strategy in Asia and the Pacific, Guam activists strongly feel the US military should relocate large forces to the mainland of the US where there presence can be better absorbed by the greater populations and existing large military bases, rather than to their small Pacific island.

However, the US federal government seldom takes into account local feelings about their projects, particularly military projects in a region far removed from the Washington power center.

Guam activists want their voices heard and respected and not to be treated as merely residents of a colony of the United States.

Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In December, 2001 she was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is the co-author of the book "Dissent: Voices of Conscience." (

A Blip on the Federal Radar

ben’s Pen
Self-determination: A Blip on the Federal Radar
Marianas Variety
Tuesday, 18 August 2009 00:32 by Sen. Ben Pangelinan
THIS past week, Guam hosted one of the largest congressional delegation headed by the Chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources Committee, with direct oversight over Guam, Congressman Nick Rahall of West Virginia. Congressman Rahall was first elected to Congress in 1976 and was on the Capital Hill when Congressman Antonio Won Pat represented Guam. During this recent trip, he was accompanied by old friends of Guam—Congresswoman Donna Christensen of the Virgin Island, Eni Faleomavaega of American Samoa, Congressman Henry Brown of South Carolina, Congressman Gregorio “Kilili” Sablan of the CNMI and of course our very own Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo.

Different with this visit was the CODEL’s decision to pay a visit to the Guam Legislature. Other delegations have come through and the legislature seems to be an afterthought. I know my colleagues, and this action was not a matter of ego stroking, but a genuine congeniality normally accorded to colleagues of the same branch of government. It really fostered a more open exchange of thoughts on the issues. In my humble opinion, this simple act toned down any desire to play to the camera or even the need for press releases.

The broader focus of Congressman Rahall’s concerns was another surprise with this delegation’s public discourse while they were here. The discussion was not confined to the “tip of the spear” role Guam plays in our national and global goals for the United States’ role in the Pacific and the world. I certainly felt that the chairman looked upon Guam as more than the typical characterization of our importance as location, location, location. Chairman Rahall displayed to me that he saw the people as integral to any equation in the success of the military expansion.

In the discussion on the military expansion and the effects it will have on Guam, this delegation noted the impact it will have to our way of life. Somehow, I got the feeling that although they recognized the military buildup’s positive economic impact on Guam, they also realized that money will not solve all of the problems. They may not have offered any specific remediation, but when they left, I felt better that their understanding of the challenges left more open doors than closed ones.

For me, the most satisfying pronouncement by Chairman Rahall was the unresolved matter of self-determination. The statement of Congressman Rahall addressing this issue is the first instance in my recent memory of someone in the congressional branch with the authority and power to advance it. Even more heartening was the commitment by Chairman Rahall and Congresswoman Bordallo to find the money to support the conducting of a public education campaign leading up to the plebiscite vote.

If ever there was a time when the stars are aligned for our people, this may be that time. With a supportive oversight chairman, a president who recognizes this inherent right for the people of Guam, a native son as an assistant secretary of the Department of Interior, we must do whatever it takes to come together locally to make this happen.

For the last two years, I have endeavored to press on with the decolonization registry and have introduced legislation to build the registry to the point where we can conduct the plebiscite vote on self-determination.

The blip on the radar is the heartbeat of our efforts.

Let’s all do our part to bring it to its full life.

Another Chamorro Killed in the War on Terror

Another casualty from Guam
Friday, 21 August 2009
by Therese Hart | Variety News Staff

FIRST Sgt. Joe San Nicolas Crisostomo, formerly of Inarajan, was killed Aug. 18—11 days before his 59th birthday—while deployed in Afghanistan.
FIRST Sgt. Joe San Nicolas Crisostomo. Photo courtesy by chamorro roots

Of the familian “Sinbad,” Crisostomo’s death added to the growing list of servicemen and women killed in the war-ravaged nation as U.S. military officials get set to mark August as the deadliest month for American forces since the war began.

Crisostomo, who has been living on the U.S. mainland in recent years, left his native home after joining the Army in 1969 and served in the U.S. Army for 40 years. He was in the war-torn country since June 2008.

Crisostomo was the president of a Chamorro club in Washington. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Leon Guerrero Crisostomo.

No details have been released from the Department of Defense yet on the circumstances leading to the dedicated soldier’s death, but violence in Afghanistan is at an all-time high as the resurgent Taliban fighters have ramped up attacks as the country prepared for its second presidential vote since ousting the Islamic extremist group from power eight years ago.

Mass will start tonight night at the San Miguel Church in Talofofo at 7 p.m. for the next nine days or Aug. 29, which would have been Crisostomo’s 59th birthday.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Calls to Decolonization

Call for ‘decolonization’ highlights Chamorro conference
Monday, 29 September 2008 00:00 By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Marianas Variety News Staff

A call to “decolonize” the minds of Marianas’ indigenous people and the islands’ political relationship with the U.S. highlighted the discussions in the 3rd Annual Chamorro Conference.

The two-day conference, which started on Friday at the Saipan World Resort, drew the participation of 148 Chamorros from Guam and 159 from the CNMI.

The speeches and discussions were in the Chamorro language, and the first day of the conference was devoted to issues concerning culture, education, youth and the elderly.

On the second day of the conference, still in Chamorro tounge, federal relations and “national identity” were tackled.

The CNMI presenters were Paz C. Younis, former Humanities Council executive director; former Covenant Party chairman Alvaro Santos; former Speaker Oscar C. Rasa; former Rep. Daniel O. Quitugua; Taotao Tano president Greg Cruz; Covenant negotiator Vicente N. Santos; and businessman Lorenzo DLG. Cabrera.

The guest speakers from Guam were former Sen. Hope Cristobal as well as Chamorro activists Ed Benavente and Michael L. Bevacqua,and Joe Garrido and Tony Sablan.

Rasa explained why he opposed the ratification of the Covenant while Cristobal talked about their “decolonization” efforts on Guam.

She said in order to be decolonized politically, “we need to decolonize the mind.”

The audience roared in applause as Cristobal gave an emotional speech.

Flashing her U.S. passport, Cristobal criticized every symbol printed on its cover.

In an interview later, Cristobal said one of the things people can do to decolonize their minds is to be aware of the symbols “that we use in our daily lives.”

She noted that the U.S., CNMI and Guam flags were mounted on the stage during the ceremony “as if they were equals.”

“We know in reality that that is not the case,” she said. “In reality, the case is that the CNMI and Guam have always been seen and treated by the U.S. as some separate entities, as anomalous things.”

America, she said, has been mistreating the indigenous people of the Marianas since 1901 when a federal court established that Guam was a possession of but not part of the U.S.

“The fact of the matter is that we have been treated like we are a bastard child — that is the reality,” she said.

Unlike the NMI, whose people voted to join the U.S., the Chamorros of Guam have not held an election on the political status they prefer.

Cristobal said what the Chamorros need to do as a people is to be clear about “how we transmit this kind of information to our children. And one of the first things we need to do is take away these symbols.”

She added, “There is no such thing as Uncle Sam. He is not my uncle. And so I don’t have that human-personal relationship with whoever that Uncle Sam is.”

Guam Chamorro activists Ed Benavente and Micheal Bevacqua as well as social worker Lisalinda Natividad said that due to their island’s political relationship with the U.S., the American military buildup is putting Guam in harm’s way.

Benavente said aside from the fear that Chamorros will soon become a marginalized population on their own island, the federal government’s pronouncement that Guam will be American “tip of the spear” is a cause for concern.

Bevacqua said he does not feel good about being treated like an object.

Natividad said the Chamorros on Guam are living in “a very toxic environment” due to military installations of the U.S.

It was through collaborative efforts and networking, particularly with the CNMI, that Guam have been able to pressure the U.S. government to start cleaning up their island, Natividad said.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Guam: One of America's Natural Resources

Rahall vows to support Guam’s needs
Friday, 14 August 2009 03:43 by Jude Lizama
Marianas Variety News Staff

ON THE final day of an official congressional delegation trip to the region that included Palau, the CNMI and Guam, U.S. congressman Nick Rahall declared “Certainly, Guam is one of our natural resources.”

As the chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, Rahall also spoke about the important work currently underway to protect the natural environments of both the nation and its territories.

“We’re working to authorize a coastal management program to give the coastal states and the territories federal support and the tools from which they can plan for responsible and sustainable development, and to the protect the integrity of our coastlines and our beaches,” he said, adding that “all of Guam” is designated as a coastal zone.

Rahall’s comment came during presentations the congressional power-player delivered at the University of Guam in Mangilao and to Guam Chamber of Commerce members at the Hyatt Regency Guam in Tumon earlier this week.

Rahall, who is also the vice chairman for the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, said he recognizes the critical nature of modernizing all modes of transportation on Guam to support the buildup and growth in the civilian community.

“We want to ensure to the greatest extent that improvements, facilities and infrastructure are realized beyond the gates of the military installations,” he said.

The congressman cited that U.S. House of Representatives have been diligently working on legislation for fiscal year 2010 that would allocate nearly $50 million for the island under the Defense Access Roads Program. Rahall added that monies given to the island under the program is a “healthy down payment and a good start.”

Rahall added that the “essential ingredients” of local and national leadership and cooperation are in place not only for a successful buildup, but also towards educating the island community on the various options in choosing a preferential political status.

109 Candidates Certified for CNMI Elections

109 candidates certified
Friday, 14 August 2009 00:00 By Gemma Q. Casas
Marianas Variety News Staff

THE Commonwealth Election Commission certified on Wednesday 109 of the 111 individuals who filed their candidacies for different public positions, with independents comprising more than half of those seeking office in the Nov. 7 general polls.

The ruling Covenant Party has 26 candidates but no mayoral hopeful on Rota.

Independent and non-partisan candidates totaled 57.

The Democratic Party has four candidates — environmentalist Angelo O. Villagomez for Saipan mayor, Rep. Justo S. Quitugua for senator, and Willie Brundidge and Jesse J. Torres for Precinct 5’s two seats in the House of Representatives.

The CNMI Republican Party has 27 candidates but, like the Covenant Party, no Rota mayoral hopeful.

The commission certified the candidates during a meeting late Wednesday at the governor’s office with Chairwoman Frances Sablan presiding.

With all the candidates now officially certified, the commission can start printing the ballot.

There are no retention questions this year for any of the judges or justices.

But voters will have to decide on two initiatives.

The popular initiative, a proposed law, will apply the Open Government Act to the Legislature, while the legislative initiative, a proposed constitutional amendent, will align CNMI elections with the U.S. congressional election held in even-numbered years.

The popular initiative must be approved by two-thirds of the voters, while the legislative initiative needs only a majority of the votes cast.

Robert Guerrero, the commission’s executive director, said they will hold an educational campaign about these initiatives.

He said the commission is also ready to take on the challenge of holding a runoff in case none of the four gubernatorial teams get the majority of the votes cast.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rahall Backs Guam Self-Determination

Rahall backs Guam self-rule
Thursday, 13 August 2009 01:01 by Jude Lizama
Marianas Variety News Staff .

CONGRESSMAN Nick Rahall of West Virginia said yesterday he would support the choice of the island community “to decide and unite among yourselves as to what you want” in reference to Guam’s political status.

“Certainly, we’re not going to address the issue if we see division and different sides fighting each other on the issue,” Rahall said. “The people at the grassroots level have to get it together first. That’s what democracy is all about.”

Guam has three options to choose from—statehood, free association or independence. However, the self-determination plebiscite has been suspended indefinitely due to the Guam Elections Commission’s inability to meet the required percentage of voters to fill the Native Inhabitants Registry.

Rahall made known his position on Guam’s quest for self-rule in response to Sen. Eddie B. Calvo’s question during the Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Hyatt Regency Guam yesterday.

“When we choose our political status, would you be in favor of that choice and fight for this cause?” Calvo asked Rahall, to which the congressman replied, “Yes, we would.”

Rahall added that the community is “going to have to get out and work among themselves.”

As chairman of the powerful U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, Rahall oversees federal insular areas including Guam. The island’s political status is the longest standing local political issue ever faced.

Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo noted efforts by her office to identify and fund an educational program for a plebiscite emphasizing her commitment to see the island community hold a plebiscite and achieve self-determination once and for all.

“It’s really up to the people,” she said. “Whatever you decide, I’ll carry the water.”

Rahall added that Congress recognizes the uniqueness of what is being asked of the island, which he stated is a “big factor in your favor.” But that regardless of such factors, he said, the island community still needs to “work together.”

“It’s not us from Washington imposing our will down upon the people, but the people expressing from the grassroots level up to us what they want to see,” Rahall said. “Not only with political status, but that affects the military buildup, as well.”

He advised the local community to not “sit back and expect the federal government to shower dollars down upon every problem that comes up.”

Rahall determined that because of prevailing budgetary conditions, island leaders should seek private help and private-public partnerships with the recognition that there are less federal dollars available for a plebiscite.

Voice of the people
“Many of our people feel their voice won’t count even if we choose a political status in a plebiscite. We should take every opportunity to secure commitments from U.S. leaders that they will respect and stand by the self-determination of the people of Guam,” said Calvo. “Guam is important to U.S. interests, now more than ever. This is the time to expect action from the U.S. government on an issue that has languished for far too long.”

Blas Jr. Presents Compact Impact Petition to Congress

Blas, Jr. to Congress - Reimburse Guam
Top Stories
Written by Guam News Factor Staff Writer
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 11:32

GUAM - Senator Frank Blas, Jr. yesterday presented an historic petition signed by 7, 415 Guam residents to U.S. Congressman Nick J. Rahall, II, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources.

The petition was presented at a working luncheon hosted by Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo for the visiting congressional delegation and island leaders.

The petition to Congress asks for the unreimbursed costs of services provided relative to the Compacts of Free Association. Senator Blas, along with Senator Tina Muna-Barnes organized the petition drive.

"The people of Guam are speaking loud and clear. ‘Reimburse our island for your mandates,'" Senator BIas said. "The amount of money the U.S. government owes Guam can almost fund the full operations of the local government for an entire year! It is a gross injustice Senator Barnes and I are fighting hard to correct."

Citizens from the Freely Associated States also are concerned about the federal government's failure to fulfill its obligations under the compacts. The lack of funding has created shortfalls in resources to provide the services all the people of Guam deserve and expect.

Many former FAS residents signed the petition, acknowledging the need for the U.S. government to abide by its fiduciary responsibilities.

The petition included signatures from former Governor Joseph Ada, former Lt. Governor Frank Blas, former Congressman Robert Underwood, Lt. Governor Michael W. Cruz, members of the Legislature and the Consul Generals of the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau.

The original petition was submitted to Congress via Congressman Rahall, who is leading a Congressional delegation on Guam. Electronic copies were provided to the other members of the delegation.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Marine Preservers Based on Faulty Analysis

Marine preserves based on faulty analysis
By John S. Calvo • August 12, 2009
Guam PDN

The Bill 190 opponents state that the Marine Protected Areas have been successful. The only thing successful has been their propaganda.

In the absence of a thorough review of important maps, a field trip around the island shows various obstacles (accessibility, natural boundaries, military bases, private property) inadvertently but effectively create marine preserves. If we already have natural, political and social marine preserves that take up 50 to 75 percent of our coastal areas, then what is the need for additional preserves?
The creation of Guam's marine preserves in Public Law 24-21 primarily focused on regulating only one user group -- the fishing community. The proponents of the MPAs will state that they used the best available science. According to the Marine Preserve two-year report to the Legislature in July 5, 2005, "Harvest and participation data obtained through the Inshore Fisheries Survey Project (F-1R, Subproject F-1, Study 1, Job 2) were used to justify the establishment of the marine preserves."

There are some major failures of the survey analysis. Why were only so many fish caught? Why were the conditions of harvest not part of the survey? Why were the variables such as water quality, runoff, etc., not also studied to rule these factors out in the determination that fish stocks were down due to overfishing? Why wasn't the habitat studied to rule out the health of the habitat as the reason for a reduction in fish stocks?

Science is a process of deduction. The best available science existed at the time to do these things; why it wasn't done or considered is baffling.

Wolanski and Richmond's 2004 study on Fouha Bay notes, "Until recently, the major strategy for coastal reef management is to rely on marine protected areas. Managers draw a line around coral reefs on a map, inside of which extractive and destructive activities are prohibited or regulated. ... This management practice has proven insufficient where coral reefs are found near land and where human activities within adjacent watersheds contribute to the decline of water and substratum quality."

This study indicates that even if fishing is eliminated, an area will continue to decline if other threats are left unabated. It also indicates a failure of government of Guam agencies to work together to solve the island's land use problems. Why must the fishing community suffer for the effects of land use practices and poor natural resource agency management?

Division of Aquaric and Wildlife Resources staff has frequently noted at public meetings that the marine preserve areas provide a "spillover" effect, where fish stocks within the preserve area will continue to reproduce and essentially fill up the preserve, causing fish to "spill over" into adjoining areas. Another version of the theory is that protecting fish stocks within an area will allow those fish to reproduce and the larvae would be transported out of the area and settle in adjoining areas.

Marine preserve areas do not work for all species. Ken Longenecker and Ross Langston presented at the 2007 Hawaii Conservation Conference on the biomass of three fish species in Haunama Bay and Maunalua Bay in Hawaii. Their findings suggest that in order for MPAs to be a beneficial tool for fisheries enhancement, biomass in the closed area must be at least double the open area. In their study, they found this is not happening in Hawaii's most famous and oldest no-fishing area. Their study suggests that MPAs are not a beneficial tool for fisheries management for the species that were studied.

Mark Tupper of the University of Guam Marine Laboratory studied the "Spillover of commercially valuable reef fishes from marine protected areas in Guam, Micronesia." He notes that "for most species and sites, biomass was significantly higher within the MPA's than in adjacent fished sites. Movement of fishes into and out of the MPAs were determined by mark-recapture experiments, in which fishes were tagged both inside and outside of MPAs. Four out of five species studied showed little or no net movement out of the MPAs."

This study demonstrates that MPAs can enhance export of fish biomass to fished areas, but spillover is species-specific and depends on factors such as species size and mobility. The study notes: "For the combination of all species, overall spillover was lowest at the Tumon MPA, where only 1.7 percent of all tagged biomass was exported."

Another problem with the "spillover" theory is that it can't be assumed to work in any area that becomes protected. Spillover may work for certain species, but only if the boundaries and locations are chosen correctly.

The study by Tupper mentioned previously also noted that "Patterns of spillover were strongly influenced by physical habitat barriers, such as channels, headlands, or other topographic features. MPAs that are physically connected by contiguous reef structures will likely provide more spillover to adjacent fished sites than those that are separated by habitat barriers."

Tupper's conclusion states: "Knowledge of fish movement patterns with respect to reef topography may be useful for choosing MPA boundaries in order to maximize spillover of target species."

In determining the location of any marine protected area, it is also beneficial to consider those areas that already are least accessible due to the natural, political and other obstacles. For centuries these have provided for natural spillover, which have made the cultural and traditional fishing areas productive. Mitigation of land use detriments and a review and possible reassignment of coastal development and tourism activities to more suitable locations will enhance the natural resource and provide opportunity for sustainable use.

The decision to make these areas MPAs were primarily due to their "productivity," however, their productivity may have been caused by the fact that these areas were the spillover points from the less accessible and more dangerous fishing areas that surround them.

The spillover theory does have some merit, as it will work for certain species, if the location is chosen correctly and the boundaries are appropriate. However, applying the spillover theory to Guam's current marine preserve areas is far-fetched. The creation of the MPAs was not able to take into account these findings and the MPAs were put in places that the people of Guam used for fishing.

The Legislature should look at repealing or amending Public Law 21-24 so that other management tools (or proper MPAs) can be developed to protect Guam's coastal resources.

There are some problems with Bill 190, which can be fixed, but it does put the MPA discussion back on the table. Our natural resource agencies need to stop avoiding their responsibilities. We need accountability.

John S. Calvo is resident of Tamuning-Tumon.

Bordallo: Funding Mechanisms for Buildup Already in Place

Bordallo: Funding Mechanisms Already In Place For Guam Buildup
News Analysis
Written by Jeff Marchesseault
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 21:29

By Jeff Marchesseault
GUAM - "‘The buildup is going to happen. We just have to do it right,'" Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo told Guam News Factor after a speech by the House Armed Services Chairman at the University of Guam this morning.

Bordallo, who chairs the Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee under Natural Resources Chairman Nick Rahall in the U.S. House of Representatives, was actually quoting Rahall's familiar refrain about the massive military expansion already in its planning and contracting phases on Guam. When asked whether her subcommittee would recommend the omnibus funding legislation now being called for by Guam Senator Judi Guthertz to help ensure adequate funding for a long list of projects related to the civilian-side of the buildup, Bordallo said she preferred piecemeal legislation. And she expressed confidence that all necessary funding would be identified and committed in due course.

Guam Shouldn't Have To Compete
Yesterday, Guthertz, who chairs the local Committee on the Guam Buildup, "told the CODEL that piecemeal legislation will not answer the needs that will appear immediately during the course of the buildup." That, according to a news release she sent after attending a welcome luncheon for the visiting Members of Congress.

In fact, yesterday Guthertz also provided the media with a laundry list of unaddressed issues related to the buildup, including infrastructure and utility upgrades and expansion, capital improvements, transportation funding, economic development, and regular meetings to track buildup progress and ensure fair and equitable treatment of the civilian community. She calls it the "Agenda of Priority Concerns for the Guam Military Buildup".

Referring to her comprehensive outline, Guthertz reasoned, "It is also not just or sufficient to require Guam to compete with the 50 states and the other territories for grants and loans for the above listed projects as if they are not absolutely necessary for a successful buildup."

In fact, in her Agenda, Guthertz goes as far as to suggest, "An OMNIBUS APPROPRIATION BILL MAY BE APPROPRIATE for the civilian community of Guam's needs."

Omnibus Appropriation ‘Unrealistic'
But a CODEL news conference at the Hyatt today told a different story. Several members of the Congressional Delegation said that it would be unrealistic for the Government of Guam to expect one broad piece of legislation to cover realignment needs on Guam - inside or outside the fence.

Referring to the many bodies that will be involved in determining Guam's buildup needs, Bordallo told reporters, "There are so many different committees involved with this expect one all-encompassing piece of legislation is not realistic in my opinion."

House Delegate Donna Christensen said, "What the people of Guam and the Legislature can be assured of is that we understand the challenges, given (prevailing) economic conditions." But she added that "given our budgetary constraints, it would be very difficult" to pass omnibus legislation for Guam's buildup needs alone.

"We've had omnibus legislation before but when you're talking about a $16 billion buildup, you're talking about seven different committees," said House Delegate Eni Faleomavaega of American Samoa.

Offering perspective on the complexities and resourcefulness of the perennial Congressional money-hunt, Rahall told those gathered at the news conference that some funding "might not be from appropriation, but money that already exists."

That 'Bordallo Swagger'
As a longtime politician who grew up on Guam in the first few years after World War II; who cut her teeth in the current-affairs world of broadcasting; who spent many years in local politics filling roles as First Lady, Senator and gubernatorial contender; and who now represents her island in Congress, Bordallo seems to have the veteran stateswoman's sixth sense and calm resolve that all necessary funding, forms and functions of the military buildup will fall into place as needs arise. And that while it may be the job of some to press for comprehensive lists of necessary changes, it is her fiduciary duty to navigate the competitive realities of the Hill, to negotiate and compromise with the powers that be to help ensure that Guam gets what it needs, when it needs it, without hurting the needs of constituents in the countless jurisdictions outside of Guam.

An example of ‘other needs' was represented right there at the news conference today. Congressman Henry Brown said, "I'm from Charleston, South Carolina where 30,000 people lost their jobs (when a naval facility shut down there after a Base Realignment And Closure assessment)."

New Hope From Hawaii
All neediness aside, Bordallo and the Members of Congress traveling with her are encouraged by a change of command at the White House that has brought renewed focus on Guam and the Pacific. It is evidenced in everything from Hawaii-born Senator Barack Obama opening a presidential-election campaign office on Guam and committing himself to Guam causes such as the fight for war reparations -- to President Obama writing a letter of commendation to patriotic Guam for proudly celebrating its 65th Anniversary Liberation Day and appointing Agat native Tony Babauta as his choice for Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs.

Furthermore, as President, Obama has insisted that Congress must re-include its $211 million 'reduction' in Navy construction on Guam if lawmakers still want his signature on the 2010 Defense Authorization Act. Tossing the construction funding back into the hat will show Japan that the U.S. is serious about honoring its agreement to reduce forces in Okinawa and that America appreciates the $336 million that Japan has already spent on realigning forces to Guam. To do less, in Obama's mind, would be to further jeopardize the $6.09 billion in financing that Japan has previously agreed to in writing.

"In the last few months there's been a real change. Now that you see the new administration, you see a lot more commitment (to Guam and the region going) in a better direction," said Bordallo at today's news conference.

Faleomavaega couldn't have agreed more. "This administration has given a much better structure in dealing with the buildup," he said.

Been There, Done That
Bordallo's parting comments to reporters offered further perspective and steely resolve that could only knowingly come from one as familiar with Guam politics as she. Someone who grew up in post-war Guam with an intermingled sense of a borderless Guam that was then, through military settlement, every bit as American as it was Chamorro.

Referring to a population that is expected to swell to nearly a quarter of a million by the time the buildup is completed over the course of the next decade, to the rapid construction of installations, to the 21st century 'boat loads' of dollars that will be spent on the whole affair, and to the countless hours devoted to planning the best possible outcome for all stakeholders, Bordallo put it to us straight.

"I've been involved in this buildup for a long time. Guam has had numbers like these before. This buildup will occur throughout the island ... and I will be your eyes and ears in Washington to make sure we get what we need."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Congressional Delegation Heads Home

Delegation heads back to Washington with specific requests for Guam's military buildup
By Heather Hauswirth

Today marked the final day of the congressional delegation's visit to Guam. The codel began the day by paying tribute to the thousands of Marines who paid the ultimate sacrifice. They then wrapped up their visit by discussing the needs of the island in preparation of the military buildup.

The congressional delegation now leaves the island with what they say is a better understanding of the territory's needs and the impact the military buildup will have not just on our community but infrastructure, as well. Consolidated Commission on Utilities chairperson Simon Sanchez says he would like to implement key infrastructure construction blue prints pertaining to water and power.

The only problem - he's still waiting on funding. Said Sanchez, "We are working on a comprehensive water management program for the northern aquifer. We hope to reach some consensus with JGPO on this plan, and from then be able to determine what has to be built in terms of wells, how do we tie the systems together and most importantly, who pays for it?"

Money allocated for the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Authorization Bill has not yet been appropriated for construction purposes. However, representative Nick Rahall, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee and leader of the codel's trip to Guam, spoke to these concerns and says this funding will not come over night.

He said, "There will be costs involved all the way around here. It's not something Congress will be able to address over night with a magic wand and magic appropriations bill. It will take a lot of working together and coming up with innovative and perhaps new ways of financing public private partnerships is one of the alternatives we are looking at."

The issue of finances is further complicated with Hawaii representative Neil Abercrombie's controversial provision that would increase the defense authorization by billions of dollars. "It would also initiate a dual wage system here in Guam, which would not be beneficial to our community. This could possibly, if anything like this went through, could derail the Guam buildup," said Guam congressional delegate Madeleine Bordallo.

And while Bordallo's sentiments are shared by many on the island, Senator Matt Rector introduced legislation supporting the Abercrombie amendment, as he said, "I don't think it's controversial at all. The Abercrombie amendment will produce over $10 billion into our economy, a minimum of a billion dollars in revenue just for the public structure. Who in their right mind wouldn't want that?"

While local politics will continue to play out here in the Guam Legislature, the codel returns to Washington with a laundry list of requests that include ensuring the necessary funding for the island's infrastructure needs.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Collateral Damage Video

$65 Million in New Revenue for Guam

$65M in new revenue: Bill aims to spend $540M in fiscal 2010
By Brett Kelman • Pacific Daily News • August 11, 2009

Buildup construction and federal economic stimulus funding could generate up to $65 million in new revenue for the government of Guam next fiscal year, Office of Finance and Budget Director Chris Budasi told senators yesterday.

Of that possible $65 million, a "conservative" budget proposal being reviewed by lawmakers would result in spending only $30 million, Budasi added.

The spillover will be used to shrink GovGuam's deficit, he said.

For every new dollar injected into Guam next fiscal year, GovGuam expects to make a dime, Budasi said.

Senators met to begin discussions about how much money GovGuam expects to receive and spend next year. The revised budget bill would spend about $540 million of

General Fund money to run the government and $101 million to pay tax refunds.
The General Fund spending allocated in this year's budget was about $20 million less than the proposed fiscal 2010 budget bill.

Budasi, who helped propose the budget bill with Democratic Sen. Ben Pangelinan's finance committee, said new revenue streams will be created by the coming military buildup and President Obama's plan to invigorate the economy by pouring money into local governments.

The coming military buildup will bring about 8,000 Marines, their 9,000 dependents and as many as 10,000 skilled laborers to Guam over the next few years. An unprecedented level of construction is needed to ready the island for its new residents -- and whoever does that construction must pay taxes.

Budasi cited the new Naval Hospital, which will be rebuilt over the next few years so it can accommodate Guam's growing military population, as an example of a project that would generate revenue for GovGuam.

"It's a $450 million project that we believe is going to be broken up over the next four fiscal years. Some of the activity is going to hit in this fiscal year then in subsequent years," he said. "We cut that $450 million number up, and we apply our adjustment to it for how much of that money we think is going to stay in the economy. ... And then that is the number that we believe is activity that will generate additional tax revenue."

Budasi said another source of new revenue are federal economic stimulus dollars Guam will receive shortly. Gov. Felix Camacho submitted an application last week for more than $108 million in economic stimulus projects.

Most of that money must be spent in the next few years, and a lot of the funding will be spent on repairs or construction at local schools or public projects. Whoever does that work must pay taxes too, generating revenue, Budasi said.

Revenues questioned
Republican Sen. Eddie Calvo, a former chairman of the legislative committee on finance, questioned the estimated revenue increases in the bill.

Calvo has announced he is running for governor in 2010 and, if he wins, he could inherit the budget the Legislature debated yesterday.

Calvo questioned if Pangelinan's revenue estimate was too high or based on unverified numbers. Pangelinan said the revenue estimates were based on the government's actual cash collection.

Republican Sen. Ray Tenorio, who's running with Calvo, worried Pangelinan's committee hadn't considered that GovGuam may have less money this year than planned. According to an estimate from the Bureau of Budget and Management Research, GovGuam will generate about $9 million less this fiscal year than had been projected.

Pangelinan said his committee had already factored that into the fiscal 2010 numbers.
Both Calvo and Tenorio asked Pangelinan to call some of Guam's government finance experts to review and validate the revenue projections presented by Budasi. Democratic Sen. Rory Respicio objected to the experts being called.

Respicio said he felt that every time the senators called those experts to review a proposed budget, revenues "magically" matched whatever GovGuam needed to spend. Instead, Respicio felt the Legislature should move ahead with the revenues presented by Budasi.

Tenorio said it was "unfathomable" that any senator would object to financial experts being called to review a budget proposal. Tenorio and Respicio left the floor to argue about the issue.

Those experts didn't take the floor yesterday, but may be brought in today. Session resumes at 9 a.m.

Tourism, which is traditionally one of Guam's largest revenue sources, isn't expected to change much next fiscal year, according to Budasi's budget proposal presentation.

Budasi said the number of tourists next year will hopefully hold steady, but each tourist is expected to spend a little less while they are here, based on Guam Visitors Bureau estimates from June.

"We ran the numbers out and it looks like about a $7 million decrease to the economy," he said.

A GVB report released last week showed a 37 percent drop in tourist arrivals in June, partially because of a rocky economy and fears about the H1N1 influenza pandemic, but GVB General Manager Gerry Perez said the worst was probably over.

Perez said Budasi's estimate for the Legislature was a "fair representation" of what Guam's tourism numbers for next year may be, and because the future is never certain, it helps to be a little conservative.

"Based on everything we know, we expect there to be a slight improvement for the next fiscal year," he said. "Now keep in mind that any catastrophic thing could happen as well. We never expected H1N1."

The proposed budget discussed by senators yesterday would appropriate less money to the Department of Education than last fiscal year, and far less than school system leaders requested.

The department, formerly the Guam Public School System, almost always gets the largest chunk of GovGuam's budget, but rarely gets as much funding as requested.
If passed as is, the budget bill would appropriate about $183 million to the department. A budget request approved by the Guam Education Policy Board in March asks for $263 million.

Last year, the school system requested $263 million, but received $189 million. Guam Education Policy Board Chairman Joe San Agustin has said repeatedly that the lack of full funding is responsible for many of the school system's shortcomings.

An Independent Guam

EGuam on its own
Monday, 10 August 2009 00:31 Letter to the Editor .

THIS is the picture of an independent Guam that I have in my mind. The United States keeps Anderson Air Force Base here simply as a military outpost in the Pacific and as our security. All other lands in military inventories are reverted to GovGuam, being distributed and used at our discretion.

American dollar remains to be our currency, like other independent Pacific nations that have this form of security and currency arrangement. With a stable government and currency comes investors’ confidence. All existing free enterprises continue. All jobs are retained. Mortgages and bills get paid. Now we invest in our selves.

We can take advantage of our proximity to the ocean. We can invest and develop the following initiatives:

A storage facility to accommodate fish harvests from the entire Micronesian region;
A fish cannery;
A transit point for distribution of Micronesian fish to the world;
A fueling and replenishment point for the fishing fleets. In addition to fueling, vessels can replenish supplies such as food, fishing inventory and labor.

Because of our proximity to Micronesia and Asia, these ideas are feasible and will stimulate the development of more businesses. Thousands of new jobs will be created and new monies will be infused into our economy. With new monies we will live better.

Our hospital, utilities, roads, trash and other services will be better maintained. And the domino effect will touch individual lives.

I am not talking about going back to coconut huts and grass skirts. We can leave those for the tourists to marvel at. I like my computer, cell phone, the mall, movies and my car, but I also feel that it is our destiny as a people to decide our fate, for better or worse. It is our birth right.

Caged things must be set free at some point. As with our children, even with all our investment, time and love, there comes the time when we have to let them seek their own path.

Ben “Sinahi” del Rosario

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Congressman Rahall Visits Guam

Congressional delegation on Guam
By Heather Hauswirth
Published Aug 10, 2009

Guam is playing host for the next couple of days to a congressional delegation led by the chairperson of the House Committee on Natural Resources. West Virginia congressman Nick Rahall announced upon landing on the island, "We are looking forward to our fact-finding mission in Guam."

The congressional delegation, led Rahall arrived at the Guam International Airport this afternoon. "This, ladies and gentleman, is our members of our delegation and as I said we know the territories are faced with a number of challenges," he continued.

The delegation has already made stops at American Samoa, Palau, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The two-day stop in Guam completes the delegation's trip. While in Guam, their schedule grants considerable time to discussing infrastructure and environmental issues related to the military build-up. As evidenced by the presence of both Joint Guam Program Office director David Bice as well as Rear Admiral Douglas Biesel at the arrival of the codel at the airport this afternoon, the plans for the build up are clearly at the top of the agenda.

Biesel, the commander of Joint Region Marianas, spoke to KUAM News about the need for constant communication between JGPO and the Government of Guam, saying, "We are out here to brief the codel on the buildup as well as talk about Guam infrastructure because that is where Chairman Rahall and his codel are interested in and what is the condition of Guam's infrastructure and what support does the federal government need to make in terms of helping Guam's infrastructure support the realignment of military forces."

Biesel added that he would be spending significant time with the codel while they are here, saying, "That's why there visit is absolutely so important so we will spend tomorrow morning with them. I invited them on to the US Submarine Tender, the USS Frank Cable tomorrow for breakfast. We will tell them a little about why we have a submarine tender and three homeported submarines here and then we'll do about an hour of military briefings of the islands, we'll cover the joint region of Marianas, we'll cover the marine core build up of the island and of course any environmental impacts."

As preparations for the military buildup continue, the congressional delegation's visit to Guam will help the committee make key decisions moving forward.

While on Guam, the delegation will meet with Government of Guam and federal officials to discuss issues related to the military buildup and other local issues. Chairman Rahall will speak at the University of Guam as part of the president's lecture series on August 12. The delegation will also participate tomorrow in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Asan Bay Overlook unit of the War in the Pacific National Historical Park to honor the liberators of Guam and the people of Guam who endured the occupation.

Additionally, the delegation will participate in a working lunch with local leaders to discuss infrastructure and environmental issues related to the buildup.