CPI report confirms cost of living hike

The Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans has filed a Consumer Price Index Report for the fourth quarter of 2021.

BSP reported on 168 items – including 69 in the food category, 42 in housing, 23 in apparel and upkeep, four in transportation, five in medical care, five in recreation, six in education and communication, and 14 in other goods and services.

The report found:

  • The Food Group Index of 166.4 shows an increase of 1.5% over the preceding quarter and 10.5% when compared to the same period one year earlier.
  • Beef product prices increased 3.9% in the preceding quarter and 26.0% when compared to the same period one year earlier. Pork prices decreased 0.2% over the preceding quarter and increased 12.3% when compared to the same period one year earlier. Fish and seafood prices increased 9.1% over the preceding quarter and 29.0% when compared to the same period one year earlier. Fresh vegetables prices increased 5.3% over the preceding quarter and 10.9% when compared to the same period one year earlier. Meals away from Home prices increased 7.4% over the preceding quarter and 10.0% when compared to the same period one year earlier.
  • Other categories that show increases compared to a year earlier are housing, 5.5%; rent and lodging, 1.7%; fuel, 9%; new car prices, 2.2%; motor fuel, 32.9%; and medical care, 6.1%.
  • BSP found that average annual increases were 2019, 1.8%; 2020, 1.7% and 2021, 3.8%. The Guam CPI shows an increase of 144.1% since 2016.

Journal readers can find the full report at https://bsp.guam.gov/reports/


Annual report on Guam military realignment details dollars and projects

In other news of interest to readers, the U.S. Guam Accountability Office released Jan. 27 its annual report on the Guam military realignment. The U.S. Department of Defense posted the report for fiscal 2021 on Jan. 31.

According to the report, the Department of Defense “obligated $1.4 billion and expended $448.3 million.”

Other federal agencies obligated $8.8 million and expended $1.9 million.

DoD also “identified 270 military construction projects and programs, totaling $447 million, with estimated completion costs of $1.9 billion.”

Other federal agencies identified 38 projects and programs that were directly associated with the realignment. Of the 38 projects and programs, two projects and programs had incurred costs of $335,249 and 3 projects and programs had estimated completion costs of $9.4 million.

The Government of Japan provided revenues of $401.9 million and earned $26 million in interest associated with revenues. Also, the Government of Japan obligated $918.9 million and expended $268.6 million.

Clearly identified is the labor shortage, and the realignment’s extension of completion to fiscal 2028.  

In addition, details of certain military construction projects – such as construction of 60 housing units at Andersen Air Force Base and any issues that relate to labor for the project are identified.

According to Journal files, about two thirds of personnel at Andersen are renting accommodation out in the community. U.S. Marine forces who need to be close to flight operations will be billeted at Andersen, according to Journal files.

The report lists the status of projects. For contract awards see www.mbjguam.com

Readers can find the report here: https://media.defense.gov/2022/Jan/31/2002930466/-1/-1/1/GUAM%20REALIGNMENT%20ANNUAL%20REPORT%202022.PDF


Report shows attitudes to military leases, CHamoru cultural perspectives

A 2021 Guåhan Survey Community Report released Feb. 2 said it provides some insight and conclusions. The report said:

CHamoru connection to culture, history and language is vibrant and thriving. “Almost four in five respondents have spent time trying to find out more about CHamoru history, traditions, and culture; and half of respondents are active in CHamoru organizations, social events or cultural activities.”

CHamorus feel pride and belonging in being CHamoru. “Nine in ten respondents feel good about their CHamoru identity; and 85 percent of respondents feel a sense of belonging to the CHamoru community.”

CHamorus feel like they are second-class citizens in the US. Almost three quarters of respondents consider Guam to be occupied by the US; and three quarters of respondents feel like they do NOT have the same rights as US Citizens who are residents of one of the fifty states.

CHamorus feel like Guam’s relationship to the U.S. military should change in some way. Two-thirds of respondents do not support the construction of the US military firing range above Litekyan; and nearly two-thirds of respondents support the U.S. military paying rent to Guam to lease the land for military bases.

According to the report, it provides the results of a total of 1,103 individual survey responses, as collected during the survey period from July 16 to Aug.15, 2021, from respondents who identify as “Chamorro” or other related terms; are age 18 or above; and are full-time residents.

Readers can access the report at www.guamstudy.org/results. The report said it also recognizes the large CHamoru community in CNMI, Hawai‘i and across the United States, the responses of adult (age 18+) CHamorus who are NOT residents of Guam were included in a separate Diaspora Community Report. This can be viewed at www.guamstudy.org/results

The community is invited to “provide thoughts, comments, suggestions or other feedback to [email protected] to inform future work.”

The 2021 Guåhan Survey was “co-designed over a six-month period with CHamoru community leaders and stakeholders, though it does not list those.

To reach respondents, the 2021 Guåhan Survey relied on public outreach, WhatsApp chats, and media. “In the final survey results, these CHamoru populations are under-represented: CHamorus in the south; senior citizens or manåmko’ (age 65+); transgender, nonbinary and genderqueer CHamorus; and working-class CHamorus with a high school diploma or less.” 

Guam OPA issues annual report

The Guam Office of Public Accountability issued its calendar report for 2021. During the year, the OPA “issued nine performance audits, had oversight over 28 financial audits, and administered 15 procurement appeals,” the report said.

The audits identified more than $6.3 million in financial impact and represented over $2.9 million in procurement value for the appeals, the report said.

Readers can find the report at www.opaguam.org


COVID report on fatalities finds socio-economic trends

In 2021, a total of 145 COVID-19 related deaths were reported to the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services from Guam’s three hospitals.

During the COVID-19 (Delta variant) surge from July 8 to Dec. 31, there were 127 COVID-19 related deaths of which 49 (38.6%) were dead on arrival, accounting for 98% of all DOAs in 2021.

A joint investigation by the DPHSS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was launched to assess the common characteristics associated with the transmission and severity of the COVID-19 DOA cases.

The report – released Feb. 1, found though overall vaccination coverage in Guam is high with 93.5% of the eligible population (aged over five years) was vaccinated as of Jan 22, among individuals who died of COVID-19 in Guam in 2021 with known vaccination status, over 80% were not fully vaccinated.

The majority of COVID-19 deaths in 2021 were among “males and the elderly and over one-quarter had an education level of less than Grade 12. Family interviews revealed that among those reporting household income, 67% had a combined household income of less than $35,000 a year with 22% reporting a household income of less than $10,000. Family interviews also revealed that at death, 23.8% of DOAs did not have health insurance and only two individuals had private or employer-based insurance.” In addition, among DOAs and Non-DOAs the prevalence of comorbid conditions including diabetes, chronic renal disease and cardiovascular disease were elevated compared to the background population. Analysis suggests that health and social disparities played a significant role in deaths, including DOAs, reported to DPHSS in 2021, the report said. mbj