Freedom of Information Act heads to FSM Congress

President of the Federated States of Micronesia David W. Panuelo transmitted the proposed FSM Freedom of Information Act to the 22nd FSM Congress for its review, according to a Sept. 25 release.

As referred to during Panuelo’s Inaugural Address in July 2019, the act is intended to “institutionalize the disclosure of public information by establishing suitable procedures, and appropriate remedies, that ensure the implementation of the principles of transparency, openness, and accountability in public service.”

The act is also intended to explicitly state the right of citizens to receive information from the government and “provide the appropriate mechanisms, people, processes, funding, and tools to support that right,” the release said.


No resolution for NMI firefighters; NMI begins booster shots

On Sept. 27, Judge Joseph N. Camacho of the Northern Mariana Islands dismissed the case against Commissioner of Fire and Emergency Medical Services Dennis Mendiola in Mendiola’s official and personal capacity. Based on Camacho’s stipulation, the court does not have jurisdiction over the matter. Camacho added the former firefighters must take proper steps and exhaust their administrative proceedings through the Civil Service Commission. Camacho previously dismissed the former firefighters’ preliminary injunction claim. In his 28-page court order, Judge Camacho wrote that the former firefighters did not have a high likelihood of success on this case based on the merits claimed.

In his own Sept. statement, Mendiola said Camacho’s decision to maintain the termination of the former firefighters “is in line with several precedents and court decisions throughout the country that uphold that states and territories are allowed enforce compulsory vaccination. …It is unfortunate that we have to lose good firefighters through this process. To be clear, it was never the Governor’s nor my intention to go through this level of enforcement, yet the well-being of our community is of our utmost concern as we remain in a global pandemic.”

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, with guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration, will offer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to people aged 65 years and older; individuals aged 18-64 years with underlying health conditions; and people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional settings, according to a Sept. 27 release.

Booster shots are available at the COVID-19 mass vaccination site (the Multi-Purpose Center), or through the CHCC Immunization Clinic. Consent forms must be completed by patients at the time of vaccination. The forms will include a section in which the patient/vaccine recipient will self-attest to qualifying under any of the categories and that they have already received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The Pfizer authorization applies to individuals whose primary series was the Pfizer vaccine. More data on the effectiveness and safety of the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen booster shots are expected soon and on the availability of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen booster shots.


Task force takes part in airport disaster preparedness exercise

Marines and sailors with Task Force Koa Moana 21, I (pronounced “first”) Marine Expeditionary Force, partnered with Palau’s Civic Action Team Palau and Palauan first responders in a full-scale mass casualty exercise at the Roman Tmetuchl Palau International Airport from Sept. 15 to Sept. 18. Task Force medical staff participated in the training exercise as observers, tasked with evaluating first responders rendering aid to “casualties,” as the result of an aircraft’s emergency landing.


For your diary:

Oct. 22: The Society for Human Resource Management Guam Chapter’s 2021 annual conference – inspiHR 2021. The virtual event will feature speakers Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president and CEO of the SHRM national organization; Magie Cook, an entrepreneur and motivational speaker; and Milton J. Perkins, an expert in human resources, workforce planning, and human capital management. For the first time, the 2021 conference is being co-sponsored by the U.S. District Court of Guam. Speakers in legal segment of the conference will include Yohance Edwards, director of Workplace Relations for the U.S. Courts of the Ninth Circuit, Vincent C. Camacho of the Camacho Calvo Law Group, and A. Thomas Sinclair of Calvo Fisher & Jacob. All three are attorneys. For registration and other details,

Throughout October: Victims Advocate Reaching Out is hosting a virtual “K/5K Family Run/Walk Against Domestic Violence. Visit for more information and to register.

VARO is also seeking monetary and gift certificates/cards donations. mbj