Moody’s releases periodic review of GovGuam
“The Government of Guam’s Ba1 rating reflects the territory’s small and concentrated economy that is heavily reliant on international tourism; weak financial position, although with recent improvements, and debt levels that are notably above U.S. state medians, though below those of other territories,” Moody’s Investors Service Inc. said in a Feb. 22 release after a Periodic Review.
“The rating incorporates the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the government’s finances and liquidity that will be manageable over the next 12 to 18 months largely as a result of substantial federal government assistance and the continuation of significant military construction activity in the territory. Generally positive economic trends prior to the pandemic and a favorable pension funding situation are also factors in the rating. This periodic review also covered related credits within the territory’s debt stack including any special tax, lease, appropriation and moral obligation, intercept program, and pool program ratings.
“This document summarizes Moody’s view as of the publication date and will not be updated until the next periodic review announcement, which will incorporate material changes in credit circumstances (if any) during the intervening period,” the review said.
Periodic reviews are separate from rating reviews, Moody’s said.
Last OFW flight to Philippines; visa free travel update
The last Overseas Foreign Worker flight to Subic Bay took place on Feb. 22, according to the Philippine News Agency, the news wire service of the Philippines government.
The flight was from Koror in Palau. Visa free travel to the Philippines for vaccinated international visitors was announced Feb. 10. To see the current list of countries whose vaccination records are accepted and other requirements go to https://visitor.tourism.gov.ph/. Palau and the U.S. are both on the list.
Leave the VAX card at home – that’s it so far
In a release on Feb. 25, the Office of the Governor announced that from 6 a.m. Saturday, February 26 patrons “will no longer have to provide proof of vaccination to enter a covered establishment.” The definition of “covered establishments” includes “restaurants, bars, gym and movie theaters.” Request to show vax cards upon entry since the restriction was introduced in August 2021 have been inconsistently applied at some venues.
In other vaccination news, the Guam Visitors Bureau will pay for one PCR test per week from Feb. 28 to March 31 for tourists. The program will work through five clinics at seven locations on Guam. The clinics will provide results and documentation within 48 hours.
Some destinations may require test results within 24 hours. GVB told the Journal that the onus for ensuring the test meets return requirements of their home country or destination is the onus of the traveler.
A groundbreaking was held for the Tinian Divert Airfield on Feb. 22 with about 100 people in attendance.
VIPs included Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres, Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command; Rear Adm. Benjamin R. Nicholson and Brig. Gen. Jeremy T. Sloane from Joint Region Marianas; leaders from the Senate of the Northern Mariana Islands; Mayor Edwin Aldan of Tinian; Leonard K. Kaae Sr., senior vice president and general manager, and Donald J. McCann, vice president of operations, both from Black Construction Corp. and Black Micro Corp.
Black Micro Corp. was awarded the $161.82 million firm-fixed-price contract for site development and for the construction of an aircraft parking apron and taxiway at the Tinian International Airport on Nov. 30, according to Journal files.
The contract contains two unexercised options, which could increase the cumulative contract value to $163.88 million. Work is expected to be completed by October 2025.
The fuel pipeline and storage part of the Divert Airfield construction has yet to be awarded.
Black Micro Corp. is holding a series of job fairs in the Northern Mariana Islands to recruit for the project.
The photo is courtesy of the Office of the Governor of the NMI.
In other news of groundbreakings, the Guam Housing Corp. hosted a groundbreaking for renovations to 23 homes in Lada Gardens in Dededo on Feb 25, according to the Office of the Governor. Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero and Lt. Governor Joshua F. Tenorio attended the event.
The $1.35 million project is locally funded under the Guam Housing Corp. and will expand the housing inventory for low to moderate income. Murphy Enterprises Inc. is expected to complete the project by the end of 2022, according to the Office of the Governor.
IT&E has moved its Saipan office to the former Payless ShoeSource store in the Gold Building in Oleai, a larger location with “a customer service area of 4,800 feet,” according to IT&E.
The Tumon Bay Youth Orchestra will perform for the general public on Feb. 27 from 2 p.m. at the Center Court of the Agana Shopping Center – after a nearly two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The ensemble is led by Resident Conductor Amanda Bateman who hails from Elizabeth City, North Carolina and is a music instructor at Saint Anthony Catholic School in Tamuning. Members of the orchestra are comprised of youth ages 25 and under from the University of Guam, Guam Community College and Guam’s public, private, defense and home schools.
The TBYO is a project of the Guam Philharmonic Foundation Inc.
Online safety company Bark Technologies announced the expansion of its parental control app to Guam through a partnership with GTA. The partnership will feature Bark’s award-winning web filtering and screen time management software – known as Bark Jr – offered to customers at no extra charge, according to a Feb. 25 release.
“Bark Jr also features a proprietary location-sharing tool that lets families keep up with kids on the move. Families will have the option to upgrade to Bark Premium, which monitors online activities in children’s texts, emails, and more than 30 of the most popular social media platforms and apps,” the release said.
In addition, via a mutual partnership with Comtrend, many of GTA’s router gateways will integrate with Bark and enable parents to manage internet-connected devices in the home, including gaming consoles, smart TVs, and more.
“Bark has used its innovative and industry-leading software service to protect nearly 6 million children across the U.S. To date, Bark has detected 465,000 severe self-harm situations and flagged more than 2.5 million severe bullying instances,” the release said. mbj