Guam company awarded machine gun range; Native American co beats out nine bidders

Black Construction Corp. was awarded a $122,134,480 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of the machine gun range at Northwest Field at Andersen Air Force Base. The work to be performed provides for the construction of a multi-lane multi-purpose machine gun range, a range control tower, ammunition distribution point, and covered bleachers. The work also includes utilities, site work and incidental related work.

An addition option, if exercised, provides for furniture, fixtures, and equipment.

The contract also contains one unexercised option, which if exercised would increase the cumulative contract value to $122,137,732.

Work is expected to be completed by October 2024. The contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities website with three proposals received, and was awarded by Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Pacific in Hawaii, according to a Sept. 28 release from the U.S. Department of Defense.

In other military construction news, ARS Aleut Construction LLC of Tamuning, was awarded a $50 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, Simplified Acquisition of Base Engineer Requirements contract. The contract provides for minor construction work based on a general statement of work further defined within each individual task order.

Work will be performed at Andersen Air Force Base and is expected to be completed by Aug. 15, 2028. The award is the result of a competitive acquisition for which 10 offers were received. The 766th Enterprise Sourcing Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, made the award, according to a Sept. 28 release from the U.S. Department of Defense.

ARS Aleut was formed in 2013 and is an 8(a) certified, Alaska Native Corp. and Disadvantage Small Business. Its areas of expertise are “security/facility upgrades and small renovations to large-scale design-build projects,” according to its website.

The group has a history of awards from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.


RFPs alert; NMI launches financial management system

Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres told the Journal at a news conference on Oct. 1 is pleased with how ARPA money is being spent in the Northern Mariana Islands, calling the funding “a once in a lifetime opportunity.” Still to come, he said are allocations for the villages. “There will be a lot more funding throughout the municipalities.” The governor said also of note was the funding for educational institutions, to include the Northern Marianas Technical Institute and Northern Marianas College, as well as the Public School System. “Just PSS alone, they got $250 million to $300 million,” he said.

Torres said within a week he hopes to announce the chairperson of a new taskforce, following his signature of an Executive order. “The Executive Order creates a taskforce to look into our trash issue and come up with a universal plan,” he said. “Our goal is to have a universal trash collection for the CNMI.”

“We’re live in our new financial management system,” David DLG. Atalig, secretary of finance said on Oct. 1. All vendors will need to register on the system to be processed for products and services, he said. The system is 90% paperless, he said. Vendors will be able to upload invoices. “The process should be quicker to get paid,” Atalig said.

In the next few weeks, requests for proposal will be issued for

  • A revenue management system. “We are now looking to upgrade our tax system,” Atalig said.
  • An evaluation study, or appraisal for the NMI. “We want to show the real value of our assets, as well as our economic value,” Atalig said. Economic valuations would range from natural resources in the Northern Islands such as Pagan’s pozzolan to Saipan’s lagoon. The evaluation is essential for any bond market offering of the NMI, and by constitutional law can only reach 10% of the value of the commonwealth. Atalig said the evaluation would also give potential investors a true sense of what the NMI can offer.

Atalig said the department processed a second batch of 3,000 $500 economic stimulus cards on Sept. 28, and a third batch would be processed in two to three weeks.


Businessmen call for broad grant program for small businesses

A new grant program has been proposed by Simon A. Sanchez II, executive manager for Guam Dry Cleaners and Oka Pacific, to create “a bucket of support” for the island’s businesses.

“We need a government program targeting businesses that have been adversely affected, using SVOG criteria.”

The Guam Rescue Plan was pitched during the governor’s economic recovery taskforce meeting on Sep. 29. The program would provide up to six months of operating income and be the first locally funded recovery plan.

“What we’re asking is for the governor and the legislature to work together and see if they can come up with the $75 million,” he said.

For the criteria, any business that are defined as a small business by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Guam Economic Development Authority, and also follow GEDA’s criteria for certifying qualified businesses would be eligible. Shuttered Venue Operations Grant and Restaurant Revitalization Fund recipients are qualified, but only if funds are available.

One major stipulation is that businesses had to have been open before 2019 and must have remained open moving forward.

Like other recent programs, this grant program would be tiered, with the first tier including businesses having lost 90% or more gross revenue between April 2020 to December 2020, the second at 70% and so on.

Sanchez requested the $75 million to fund the program, aimed at “simply buying some time for local businesses that are struggling.”

While the $75 million is still up for discussion, he said, “It’s not enough, and we may be back in six months saying it’s still tough… We recognize this isn’t the end of all economic problems on Guam, but it keeps companies alive for another four to six months, and then we will cross that bridge again when we come to it.”

Due to Guam’s current economic conditions, there are not many businesses open for when tourism does begin to recover, according to David B. Tydingco, managing director and CEO at Valley of the Latte Adventure Park, and this program could help.

Tydingco said expected recovery would be “fortunate” to happen by April 2022.

“We’re headed in the right direction, but there’s still concern as to when our situation will improve,” he said.

He said 80% of attractions have remained shuttered since March 2020, with six permanently closed, and have lost between 90% and 100% of revenue compared to 2019.

“Besides the airlines, restaurants, hotels, you have the transportation companies, retail shops and travel agents that were left out of funding,” among others, he said.

In other COVID news, Dr. Michael Cruz, CEO of Guam Regional Medical City and state surgeon said as of Sep. 29, Pfizer Biotech booster shots are available for those over 18 years of age that are immunocompromised with multiple co-morbidities, other high-risk individuals and healthcare workers.

“Those that have the highest chance of contracting it will get it first,” he said, “So that we don’t have a ‘mad rush’ and we can manage it. It won’t be as long as the waiting period for the initial shot.”


Guam agency starts to dish out small business loans

The Guam Economic Development Authority has started the transmittal and distribution of the first group of grant applicants for the Small Business Pandemic Assistance Grant Program 2021. As of Sept. 29, more than 700 applicants have been deemed eligible, totaling more than $9 million in awards, GEDA said.

Priority in the first 30 days of the program period was to be given to those small businesses reporting $1.5 million or less in gross receipts in 2020. The program will offer $27.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding instead of the $20 million originally planned, according to Journal files.

Applications for the grant program close on Dec. 9.



The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs announced Sept. 30 a variety of Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative grant funds to protect coral reef resources in the U.S. territories and the freely associated states.

Funding was announced for the Government of Guam’s Coral Reef Initiative – $299,547; the Northern Mariana Islands Government’s Coral Reef Initiative – $113,2990; and the Coral Reef Research Foundation, for mapping Palau’s lagoon and reefs – $212,329.

Grants totaling $1,541,421 for fiscal year 2021 to combat invasive species have been awarded to the University of Guam for research and related efforts to counter the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle – $866,423; the Micronesia Conservation Trust for the eradication, control, and management of invasive species in Kosrae, Chuuk, and Yap – $300,000; Island Conservation, for the removal of invasive rats in Mili Atoll, Marshall Islands – $299,838;  and the NMI Government for Sabana Pandanus Forest control and native trees restoration project – $75,160. 

In other DOI grant news, Guam will receive $1,577,596 in fiscal year 2021 CIP grants as follows: Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center Talafofo Cottage architectural and engineering fees – $678,000; Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center New Beginnings Drug and Alcohol Facility renovation and construction – $899,596. Guam will also receive $2,196,251 in fiscal 2021 grant funding through the Office of Insular Affairs’ Energizing Insular Communities program as follows: $1,291,938 to the Guam Power Authority for energy updates at the University of Guam; $475,200 to the Guam Community College for a 100-kW solar PV system,  $274,587 to the University of Guam for the Guam Strategy Energy & Action Plan , and $154,526 to the Guam Power Authority for LED lighting upgrades at Tamuning Elementary School, according to a Sept. 30 release from the Office of the Governor. 


COVID updates

The 22nd Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia appropriated $2. 5 million to augment the otherwise ADB-funded Low Income Household Assistance Program. Congress also extended President David W. Panuelo’s Declaration of Public Health Emergency to Jan. 31, 2022.

About a dozen U.S. Army Reserve nurses will work alongside Guam Memorial Hospital nurses and medical staff until the end of October to support critical patient care in areas such as the Emergency Room and Intensive Care Unit, according to a Sept. 29 release from Joint Region Marianas. The nurses, who are part of a FEMA mission, and will work with COVID and other patients at GMH.

Team members come from Army installations in Hawaii, Washington and Texas, are fully vaccinated and were tested for COVID on arrival. They will be staying in island accommodation for the duration of their stay.

The Northern Mariana Islands could do better on vaccinations for young people aged 12 to 18 years, according to Esther L. Muna, CEO of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. “We are seeing low numbers; 70% have had their first shot,” she said at an Oct. 1 press conference.

The NMI rolled out its booster shot program a month ago, Muna said. According to the CDC, while the NMI is offering Pfizer booster shots, people that received Moderna vaccinations can also take a Pfizer booster shot.


A definite maybe; but delegate mum on running mate

Michael F.Q. San Nicolas, Guam’s delegate to Congress, said that he may well run for Governor of Guam. “We are seriously considering it,” he said.

San Nicolas did not respond when the Journal asked if he was considering anyone as a running mate.

Speaking at a Chamber of Commerce virtual general membership meeting on Sept. 28,

San Nicolas said, the island has a problem with execution. “It’s not a resource problem; it’s an execution problem.” San Nicolas said for years the rationale was things could not be done because there was no finding. Now he said, “We took the money excuse off the table … “
He was not targeting any one person or administration, he said. He also referred to a “serious crisis of confidence.”

He did confirm that the National Defense Act contains potential for an “aircraft capability” for the Guam National Guard, with a study ongoing. “This study should be completed in February 2022,” he said. Reports on the Aegis missile system – which could include – placement of the system in Guam –  have not been completed either, he said. However, San Nicolas said, “The commitment’s there; everybody’s onboard.”

San Nicolas expressed concern that some Government of Guam agencies were not using funds quickly enough. The expectation that the island would completely reopen when the population reached a vaccination rate of 80%, he referred to as a “bait and switch,” and said, “It caused businesses to overinvest.” By comparison, he said, “The U.S. economy is reopening very rapidly; restaurants are full, venues are filling up.”

As to grants, San Nicolas said Guam would receive a number of U.S. Department of Interior grants and housing and community development grants. The latter, he said are “very, very flexible.” He mentioned $345 million for infrastructure projects in Guam, $25 million for technical assistance, $125 million in housing and community development block grants and $200 million for school infrastructure.


And also:

Atkins Kroll has partnered with the Mayors Council of Guam for a Takata Airbag Recall Village Outreach campaign, from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. During the campaign, every customer who completes the airbag inflator replacement will receive a $20 Shell Gas Card, 250 Pacific Points, and an AK 20% discount card good for maintenance, repair, or body and point services. Each village mayor’s office will receive $30 when a resident of their village completes an airbag inflator replacement. All village reward earnings will go towards village improvements.  Residents can contact their village mayor’s office or AK Toyota Service at 646-1886 or email [email protected] to find out if their vehicles are affected. mbj