US Navy Secretary to visit Guam

The incoming Secretary of the U.S. Navy will be visiting Guam. 

Carlos Del Toro will meet with “senior leaders” in Guam, Japan, Korea, Hawaii, and Papua New Guinea, according to an Oct. 21 statement from the U.S. Navy. This will be Del Toro’s first overseas trip.

In other Navy news, the USS Tulsa littoral combat ship hosted the crew of the FGS Bayern for ship tours in Guam, after the two vessels had been training in the region, together with the USS Jackson, also a littoral combat ship, according to the Pacific Fleet.  

Two MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft systems returned to Andersen Air Force Base after a deployment to NAF Misawa. The deployment of VUP-19 and the two MQ-4C Tritons to Japan “helped to develop the concept of operations, including expeditionary basing, and fleet learning associated with high-altitude, long-endurance systems operations in the maritime domain,” according to an Oct. 20 release from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

The two MQ-4C Tritons will continue to operate from Andersen Air Force Base to provide maritime surveillance and persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to the U.S. 7th Fleet in support of U.S. interests and regional allies, the release said.


DPHSS and DOL seek 70 employees

The Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services and the Guam Department of Labor will host a job fair on Oct. 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the American Jobs Center, Bell Tower, in Anigua.

DPHSS is recruiting about 70 individuals for COVID-19 response efforts for community outreach, processing of laboratory specimens, case investigation, health disparities, administrative duties, nursing, and other functions, according to an Oct. 26 release. DPHSS will establishing a portal on its website for accessibility to information about the job fair and job openings. In the meantime, potential applicants can begin preparing for the job fair by preparing an application packet which should include official proof of identity, work eligibility, a resume, and a high school diploma, GED, college degree, or transcripts from a recognized accredited institution, the release said.


Airport to hold event for ARFF facility

The A.B. Won Pat International Airport Guam will hold a “final pour” on Oct. 27 for the new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Building at the airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration awarded GIA $16.04 million for construction of a new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Building in 2018. The previous facility was constructed in the 1970s and was transferred to GIAA upon closure of the Naval Air Station under the Base Realignment and closure commission in 1996.

The award of that grant followed two previous grants – with $100,000 awarded in 2016 for the design of the ARFF Building and $3.5 million awarded in 2017 for Phase 1 of construction of the ARFF facility.

The contractor for the building is BME & Sons Inc., with construction management by KHLG & Associates Inc., according to the airport.


Chamber updates on diversification efforts

The Guam Chamber of Commerce virtual membership meeting on Oct. 26 was devoted to the organization’s diversification efforts, which also have the support of the Government of Guam, according to Christine Won Pat Baleto, chief financial officer at Docomo Pacific and chairwoman of the Chamber.

Joseph L. Cruz, president of Cabras Marine Corp. and one of the co-chairmen of the group, said challenges to the construction industry include manpower. In addition, he said, “The government of Guam has $750 million worth of projects currently outstanding.” Cruz said one of the solutions was to consolidate smaller projects.

As to the current backlog of permits, a Request for Proposal for a contractor to develop automation of permitting is currently with the Office of the Attorney General, Cruz said. Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero in her March 8 State of the Island Address said the system would be online “before the year is out.”

Nevertheless, Cruz said, “For construction we foresee a very bright future.”

He said Guam became a viable option for both ship repair and “safe haven” military liberty visits during the pandemic. The ship repair industry has seen an increase in activity when Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam closed borders. 

Since June 2020, the island has seen eight ships for repair, and will see five or six in the next eight to 10 months, he said.

If there is a problem affecting several of these efforts it is manpower, although training through Guam Community College and the GCA Trades Academy is developing a workforce.

The pharmaceutical manufacturing group is looking to the U.S. mainland as a source of market development, according to Co-Chairman Frank J. Campillo, health plan administrator for Calvo’s SelectCare. The group is looking at a potential conference, as well as needed tax breaks, qualifying certificates as incentives. “We have a couple of companies in Taiwan that have identified us as a potential market,” he said.

Other initiatives discussed included captive insurance, the satellite launch site and agriculture and aquaculture. Melanie Mendiola, administrator of the Guam Economic Development Authority, said the aquaculture industry would need technicians. That group is working towards securing a U.S. Economic Development grant, she said.

Campillo said the initiatives had shown the ability for the public and private sectors to work together.


Bureau secures sexual harassment grant

The Guam Bureau of Women’s Affairs has been awarded a U.S. Department of Labor Fostering Access Rights and Equity grant of $254,348 to focus on workplace harassment. “The FARE grant program helps underserved and marginalized low-income women workers to learn about and access their employment rights and benefits. Guam’s grant proposal includes a media information campaign about workplace harassment rights aimed at women workers and businesses that may not be aware of what constitutes harassment in the workplace,” according to an Oct. 26 release. Jayne Flores, director of the bureau said, “Seventy-eight percent of workplace establishments on Guam employ under 20 people and may not have the capacity to address workplace complaints.”


Bank sees record assets

First Hawaiian Bank’s total assets exceeded $25 billion as at the third quarter 2021 end. Robert S. Harrison, chairman, president and CEO said, “We had good growth in deposit balances, credit quality remained excellent, and we are seeing an increase in loan activity.”

FHB’s board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of 26c per share, payable on Dec. 3.


Third payment for Guam tax credit processed

The Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation confirmed Oct. 25 the third Advance Child Tax Credit was processed on Oct. 15. 18,582 payments for $14,381,530 were processed. Payments are due to be processed on Nov. 15 and Dec. 15.


Bank reports strong loan and deposit growth

Bank of Hawaii Corp. reported Oct. 25 net income for the third quarter of 2021 was $62.1 million, down 8.1% from the second quarter of 2021 and up 64.0% from the third quarter of 2020. 

Diluted earnings per common share were $1.52 for the third quarter of 2021, compared with diluted earnings per common share of $1.68 in the previous quarter and $0.95 in the same quarter last year. 

Peter Ho, chairman, president and CEO said, “Core consumer and commercial loan and deposit growth was strong in the quarter.  Credit quality in the quarter remained good.”


For your diary:

Memoirs Pasifika, a Guam-based podcast exploring events, movements, and people in modern Micronesian history, will host a virtual roundtable and audience Q&A – “Modern Micronesian History Through Podcast: A Virtual Roundtable + Q&A,” – to discuss the role of podcasts in sharing Micronesian history with local and global audiences. The event is on Oct. 28, from 7.30 to 9 p.m. (CHST). Register to attend at

The roundtable discussion will be moderated by Manuel Lujan Cruz, an Instructor of Communication & Media at the University of Guam. Cruz is also a UN Indigenous Fellow and former host of Fanachu! Podcast. The panelists are Michael Lujan Bevacqua, curator, Guam Museum and Fanachu! Podcast host, Vivian Dames, associate professor of social work/women and gender studies at UOG; and Tony Azios, producer, Memoirs Pasifika podcast and documentary filmmaker and journalist. mbj