Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Comments open on war claims filing date

The federal government's Foreign Claims Settlement Commission is accepting public comments on an interim final rule that establishes a prospective filing date for World War II reparations claims from Guam.

According to a notice from the Office of the Federal Register, the commission intends to publish a notice in June through Guam media announcing a deadline, which can be no later than 180 days after the enactment of the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act.
Comments can be submitted to Jeremy R. LaFrancois, chief administrative counsel, Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, 600 E Street NW., Room 6002, Washington, D.C., 20579. 
All comments must be submitted on or before June 2.
Last year, the proposed payment of war reparations was included into this fiscal year's National Defense Authorization Act, and recognizes that Guam residents suffered unspeakable harm during WWII, by being subjected to death, rape, severe personal injury, personal injury, forced labor, forced march or internment.
The interim rule also defines the terms personal injury and severe personal injury.
The former includes: disfigurement, scarring or burns; while severe personal injury encompasses "dismemberment, paralysis, or any injury of a similar type or that is comparable in severity."
The act is still a sore issue, as it cites Section 30 as a funding source for reparations, which Guam already receives through taxes withheld from military personnel stationed on the island, immigration fees and miscellaneous duties, Post files state.
In February, Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio addressed a congressional delegation from the House Committee on Natural Resources requesting greater representation in Congress and in U.S. issues.
"I think to thousands and thousands of men who have gone to their grave while defending their country, even though they fought for the United States, they may vote for a president only when they are in the military in the states ... or wherever they're at ... but they can't vote from here," Tenorio said. 
Former Sen. Frank Blas Jr., an advocate for war survivors, acknowledged the recent efforts made in Congress, but added more needs to be done to acknowledge the suffering of Guam Chamorros during World War II, Post files state.
Guam's Chamorros suffered wartime atrocities in the hands of Japanese occupiers, but the war reparations will come from the United States government.

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