War claims processing center opens doors, claimants encounter setbacks
TAMUNING, Guam — The Guam War Claims Processing Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 24. The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. It is located at the old Hakubotan Building across from the Tamuning Post Office.

“Our staff are eager to help, and we want everyone to know that we will work as quickly as possible to process every adjudicated claim so we can pay our war survivors the money they rightfully deserve,” said Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero.

However, some claimants received slips of paper directing them to contact Michael F.Q. San Nicolas, Guam’s delegate to Congress, when they were unable to have their claims fulfilled. These claimants were told that San Nicolas could “expedite war claims processing.”

“We have no ability to expedite war claims processing, and the Governor knows this,” said San Nicolas in a Jan. 28 statement.

The Office of the Governor issued a statement in response, which said: “The Congressman’s claim is untrue. It is true, however, that many of our manåmko’ missed the federal deadline to file a claim under the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act. Reopening that window requires an act of Congress, and survivors and their families have asked how to contact [San Nicolas’] office.”

“It would be far easier and a lot faster to open a new process locally for new claimants, than to try to amend the federal law for a second time,” said San Nicolas in a Jan. 29 statement.

Additionally, the Guam Bar Association is offering free legal services to the heirs of deceased war claims claimants, starting on Jan. 29 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday to Friday at the War Claims Processing Center.

For more information, contact the Guam War Claims Processing Center at 482-0792, email [email protected] or visit its website at warclaims.guam.gov.

 

Former Guam resident passes away in aircraft crash
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Defense identified two airmen who died supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Ghazni, Afghanistan during an aircraft crash on Jan. 27, according to a Jan. 29 release. Capt. Ryan S. Phaneuf of Hudson, N.H. and Lt. Col. Paul K. Voss of Yigo, Guam, were the casualties of the crash. The cause of the crash is pending investigation.

 

DOC director resigns
HAGÅTÑA, Guam — Frank Ishizaki has resigned as the director of the Department of Corrections, according to a Jan. 29 release. His last day as director was Jan. 31.

Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero said her and Lt. Gov. Joshua F. Tenorio are thankful for his friendship and desire to serve the local community. “In speaking with Frank, I am confident that deputy director captain [Joseph] Carbullido will continue the progress Frank has made. I will continue to support DOC, its employees and its mission,” she said.

UOG report makes economic predictions for Guam
MANGILAO, Guam — The University of Guam has published a report, which details a variety of factors to predict the economic growth of Guam in the current year by analyzing prior years, according to a Jan. 28 release.

The report indicated that Guam would expect to post growth of 0% to 1% when the real gross domestic product is officially released by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis this fall. The report also predicted a stable 0% to -0.2% growth in 2020.

Both predictions were part of the UOG Regional Center for Public Policy’s 2019 Economic Report, which was completed on Dec. 30, 2019. The report can be viewed at https://url.uog.edu/SKPyXm.

 

OPA releases audit of Chamorro affairs department
HAGÅTÑA, Guam — The Office of Public Accountability has released the Department of Chamorro Affairs’ non-appropriated funds financial statements, report on compliance and internal control, management letter and letter to those charged with governance for fiscal year 2018. The DCA reported a $191,000 increase in net position compared to the previous year’s increase of $88,000.

Ernst & Young LLP conducted the audit, which included non-appropriated funds of the Chamorro Village, Sen. Antonio M. Palomo Guam Museum and Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency. Ernst & Young auditors identified weaknesses of the DCA, which werenot properly recording revenues and receivables related to the Guam Museum, not properly recording vendor/supplier invoices in the general ledger for Chamorro Village and untimely inventory counts at the end of the year.

 

H-2B eligible countries list updated
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has updated the H2-B eligible countries list, effective Jan. 19, according to its website. There are 81 countries on the list, which excludes the Philippines. The Philippines was not on the eligible countries list last year as well. (See “H-2 visa ban on Philippines prompts action from local leaders” in the Feb. 4, 2019 issue of the Journal.)

 

Fitch updates GPA bond rating in credit report
HAGÅTÑA, Guam — Guam Power Authority was issued a credit report by Fitch Ratings, which included an upgrade to its bond rating from BBB- to BBB with a stable outlook, according to a Jan. 17 release.

“The upgrading of bond ratings is similar to the upgrading of one’s personal credit score; this signifies lower borrowing interest rates for GPA and lower costs to ratepayers,” said GPA general manager John M. Benavente.

The rating agency highlighted some factors that warranted the rating upgrade, such as GPA being the sole provider of electric service on Guam and Guam’s steadily growing economy and gross domestic product in recent years contributing to declining unemployment, solid household income and customer growth.

 

Census of Guam launches website, U.S. Census partners for webinars
WASHINGTON, D.C. and TAMUNING, Guam — The 2020 Census of Guam held its official website launch on Jan. 28 at the Guam Census Office. The website will provide information about the upcoming census, links to its social media, statistics and downloadable resources from the U.S. Census Bureau, according to a Jan. 24 release.

Flame Tree Freedom Center Inc. worked with Galaide Group to design and build the website, as well as with direction from the Guam Census office.

In other related news, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Insular and International Affairs office have partnered for a series of webinars for the public as outreach for the upcoming U.S. decennial census, according to a Jan. 23 release. The census begins on April 1, 2020.

“Accurate data regarding Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities and all communities in the [U.S.] is critical to shaping our collective future,” said Assistant Secretary of the DOI’s Insular and International Affairs office, Douglas W. Domenech. The webinar series “focuses specifically on efforts to count Americans in the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

 

MyOffice hosts soft opening
TAMUNING, Guam — My Office, the first professional co-working space on Guam, held its soft opening on Jan. 29. My Office is located on the first floor of the International Trade Center building; the business offers move-in ready workspaces, private offices and conference rooms. Amenities include WiFi, printers and phones.  For information about membership and the facility, go to myoffficeguam.com or email
[email protected]

 

Airline to add Palau routes
SEOUL, South Korea — T’Way Air Co. Ltd. in February and March plans to operate two weekly charter flights on the Tokyo–Koror route from Narita. The service will operate a Boeing 737-800 from Feb. 18 to March 20, according to a Jan. 15 announcement on routes.com.

T’way Air began flights on the Osaka-Guam route from Kansai Airport in September 2015 and flights now include a daily one on the Tokyo route and the Osaka route. T’Way began flights on the Saipan route in January 2017, according to Journal files. T’way added a second daily flight on the Saipan route in November, which will continue through late March,

The airline suspended routes between Korea and Japan in July, due to tensions between the two countries, but routes to Micronesia were unaffected. T’way is the third largest Korean low cost carrier in the international market, after Jeju Air and Jin Air. (This story appeared in a Jan. 20 News Flash.) mbj

 

(From left) Allan Atalig; Mark Atoigue; Clayton Jackson; Darrell Materne; John Mesa;
Michael Patrick; and Spencer Stole, all graduates of the Guam Community College’s
Trucking Driving Transportation Boot Camp.

Photo courtesy of Guam Community College

GCC hosts ceremony for truck boot camp
MANGILAO, Guam — The Guam Community College held a completion ceremony for seven participants of its inaugural Truck Driving Transportation Boot Camp, according to a Jan. 23 release.

Participants received certificates of completion; two of the participants have also passed the C-class license exam. GCC partnered with the Guam Department of Labor and six local companies to address the shortage of licensed and trained commercial truck drivers on Guam. The partner companies are V. Angoco Trucking Inc., CTSI Logistics Guam, South Pacific Petroleum Corp., IP&E Holdings LLC, Ambyth Shipping & Trading Inc. and DeWitt Guam.

 

Runners participated in the Pay-Less Markets Community Foundation Kick the Fat 5K/10K Run/Walk on Jan. 25.

Photo courtesy of Pay-Less Markets Inc

Pay-Less hosts run/walk, health and wellness festival
HAGÅTÑA, Guam — Pay-Less Markets Inc. held its 24th annual Kick the Fat 5K/10K Run/Walk and Health Smart Wellness Festival on Jan. 25, from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. at the Paseo Stadium. The festival, which was after both races, included various activities such as yoga and Zumba warm-up exercises, as well as health screenings provided by American Medical Center and Super Drug.