Sunday, December 11, 2016
Guam war claims passes US Senate
“This is a historic day for our island as the Senate has passed war claims legislation as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017,” Bordallo said. “The passage of this bill brings us a step closer to honoring Guam’s greatest generation and rightfully recognizing the survivors of the occupation of Guam during World War II. The passage of the bill also has special significance as today marks the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Guam on December 8, 1941 and the start of what would be 32 months of enemy occupation by Imperial Japanese forces. Securing passage of this bill has been a long and difficult process. Yet, despite political and budgetary challenges that we faced along the way, I never gave up on our efforts to resolve this longstanding issue for our island. This has been a long and difficult road, and I appreciate the support and assistance from many in our community, especially my predecessors in Congress who laid the groundwork for this effort, my current and former staff who worked diligently behind the scenes, and the survivors who documented and submitted their experiences during the war. Looking forward, over the coming year, processes will be established for the survivors and heirs of those who died during the occupation to receive their claims. I will continue to work to ensure that the claims process is appropriately carried out, and I hope that Governor Calvo will join me in petitioning the incoming Trump Administration to hold Guam’s treasury harmless in the payment of claims. I will also work with Sen. Frank Blas Jr and the Guam War Survivors Memorial Foundation to see if they can help our local community be prepared for the claims program once it is established. I think this type of public-private partnership will serve our community well. Today is a proud day for Guam, and I look forward to President Obama signing this bill into law.