Palau Correspondent


KOROR, Palau — Outgoing President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. on Dec 22 submitted a proposed bill extending Palau’s Coronavirus Relief One Stop Shop Act or CROSS Act to Sept. 30, 2021.

The Act is the $20 million aid given to individuals and businesses that were impacted by COVID-19 pandemic. 

If not extended, the relief would have expired on Jan. 31, 2021.


President-elect Surangel Whipps Jr. in a press conference on Dec. 23 said he supports the extension.

“Let us be realistic. I think there is still time to work on the extension (before the installation of the new government). But I believe this is a policy decision so if they extend then let’s focus on our priority, which is to help the Palauans,” he said. 

In Remengesau’s transmittal letter to Senate President Hokkons Baules and House Speaker Sabino Anastacio accompanying the proposed bill, he pressed the urgency of the measure.

 “It would be very difficult for workers, families and businesses if CROSS Act assistance were to disappear abruptly in a month’s time,” Remengesau said.

 In a Dec. 3 press release, Whipps said there are approximately 3,000 people due to stop receiving financial support as a result of the U.S. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance lapsing in December, the CROSS Act ceasing in January, and businesses still in hiatus.

“We cannot continue the wait and see approach and expect people with no sources of income to sustain themselves; we need a plan of action,” he said.

Whipps said Palau has been very fortunate that the economic impact of the pandemic was cushioned by financial relief given to those who were impacted by the coronavirus. mbj