Friday, May 30, 2014

Ambassador Suzuki completes three years of diplomatic residency in the FSM


FSMIS (May 30, 2014): On May 15, Ambassador Eiichi Suzuki of Japan concluded his three-year tenure as the Ambassador of Japan to the Federated States of Micronesia.
"During my tenure, I recall many things over the past three years, among them, is the Great East Japan Earthquake, which occurred soon after my wife and I arrived. I was overwhelmed by the support and kindness of the people of the FMS through witnessing the action taken by not only the National and State Governments, but schools, churches, private companies, and many other community organizations."
The Ambassador also named the arrival of 120 Japanese on the Rainbownesia Program Direct Flight from Narita to Pohnpei Airport by UA1864 in 2012 and the 25th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between FMS and Japan as other highlights for his diplomatic residency experience in the FSM.
"I have confidence that Japan and the FSM will continue to retain one of the best relationships in the world as our friendship is binding and everlasting."

FSM makes available $400,000 to support State athletes and coaches going to the 8th Micronesian Games


FSMIS (May 30, 2014): On May 22nd, a legislation became Public Law No. 18-55 for the purpose of appropriating a total of $400,000 from the general fund of the Federated States of Micronesia to provide funding for athletes and coaches from the four States in the FSM to participate at the 2014 Micronesian Games.
The appropriation is divided equally among the four States. Share for the State of Yap may also cover expenses for a group of dancers going to an international cultural festival also this summer.
The respective State Governors are the allottees for the funds.
The signing message from the Executive indicates, "The Micronesian Games continue to promote unity among our island neighbors and foster good sportsmanship in our young people".
The 8th Micronesian Games will be held in Pohnpei for ten days, staring on July 20th. The State of Pohnpei had previously hosted the Micronesian Games back in 2002.

FSM President Mori addresses Congress and the Nation on the State of the Federated States of Micronesia, his last of such speech


President Mori during
State of the Nation address
FSMIS (May 30, 2014): Yesterday, the Federated States of Micronesia President Manny Mori presented his last State of the Nation address before the 18th Congress of the FSM.  Quoting from the Preamble of the FSM Constitution, the President stated “Micronesia began in the days when man explored seas in rafts and canoes.  The Micronesian nation is born in an age when men voyage among the stars; our world itself is an island”. Referring to the spirit of the FSM Constitutional Preamble, President Mori reflected on his presidency and the state of the FSM.

In setting out where we were, President Mori recalled his words to the nation during his first inaugural address stating, “we hope that after we leave office, we will have left behind a better foundation for those who follow.”  The President acknowledged that both he and the Vice President had done their best to achieve the goals of his administration. He also indicated that not all the goals were yet achieved. However, he said during his remaining one year, he would continue to tackle the nation’s most difficult challenges, including preparing the FSM for the expiration of the financial assistance under the Amended Compact of Free Association with the United States in 2023.

The President provided a brief overview of the state of the world when he first took office in 2007.  He noted that the global economy was sluggish and in a state of crisis.

President Mori stated that although seven years was too short a time to fully implement all necessary infrastructures, with the assistance of  Congress, policies for energy, Overseas Development Assistance, Information Communication Technology, medicine, and agriculture had been created.  In addition, key policies and programs had been developed such as the creation of the FSM Petroleum Corporation (FSMPC) and the Corporate Registry Program managed by the Micronesian Registration Advisors, Incorporated (MRA) that support efforts promoting the development of the nation’s priority sectors.

“The winds of change are blowing our way,” President Mori stated, as he depicted “where we are” today.  Current world events such as climate change, advances in technology, and geopolitical issues in our region dominate the global agenda and bringing inevitable challenges to the islands, the  President noted. 

Efforts in reforming financial systems have produced positive results showing a slight increase in per capita income.  Additionally, the value of our investment funds more than doubled since 2007, President Mori noted.  Growth of the operational budget of the Executive Branch previously averaged 5% but was reduced to around 2%.

As his final appeal to Congress in the context of the State of the Nation, President Mori used these words:

"Realizing that this is my last State of the Nation address, I wish to leave you with these parting words: I humbly ask that we renew our efforts and work together to allocate our limited financial resources to the priority needs of this nation."

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

President Mori submits proposed amendment to lower requirement in order to ratify an amendment to the FSM Constitution


FSMIS (May 28, 2014): On May 22nd, Federated States of Micronesia President Manny Mori transmitted to Congress a proposed amendment to Section 1 of Article XIV of the FSM Constitution.

The proposal is to lower the vote required to ratify an amendment to the FSM Constitution from a 75 percent of votes cast in 3/4 of the States to 60 percent of votes in 3/4 of the States.

The President wrote, "Although a bill was introduced in Congress on September 11, 2013, I regret that there has been no action taken on the bill and no committee report filed. If it is approved by the 18th Congress, the constitutional amendment is required to be placed on the ballot, preferably in the March 2015 national election".

At the recently concluded State and National Leadership Conference on May 22nd to 23rd, the very issue was part of the agenda. The FSM Department of Justice did a presentation on the proposal showing that this particular constitutional requirement needs revisiting as demographic situations have drastically changed since the supreme law went into effect in 1979. At the meeting, many of the Leaders expressed that the required percentage might have been set at a very difficult, allowing minority control over the preference of a significant majority for too long.

"Effective public education is required to prepare the Nation to make an intelligent decision on an issue of transcendental importance. In this regard, it becomes imperative for the national Government to set aside sufficient time a resources to organize and prepare the necessary logistics", President Mori further indicated.

For more information, contact the Public Information Office at 320-2548 or email fsmpio@mail.fm.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

FSM Congress sets FY14 estimated domestic revenue at nearly $70 million


FSMIS (May 27, 2014): As mandated by specific parts of Title 55 of the Code of the Federated States of Micronesia, the FSM Congress adopted a resolution on May 20th that sets the ceiling for total funds estimated to be available in domestic revenue this fiscal year 2014.

Congressional Resolution 18-163 states that an amount of $69,098,221 is estimated to be available from domestic revenue during this fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, in addition to an amount of $3,512,158 under funds from the Amended Compact of Free Association with the United States.

This estimated amount exceeds the FY14 domestic revenue projection submitted by the President to Congress on April 2, 2013 by approximately $14.8 million.

"Historically, the actual revenue collection has exceeded projections and by a wide margin in recent years... Overall, the $54 million domestic revenue projection is not only realistic and achievable but is more on the conservative side", President Mori expressed in his FY14 budget transmittal letter.

The recent increase in domestic revenue has been mostly attributed to funds increase realized from Fishery Agreements and tax fees from Major Corporations.

In the FY15 budget request submitted to Congress last month, the President asked for a $15 million to be set aside as what has been termed 2023 Investment Fund, an amount he has urged Congress to make available for such fund each year leading to 2023. This amount matches the difference between the revenue projection of April 2013 and what Congress now sets as achievable domestic revenue this fiscal year.  

For inquiry, email fsmpio@mail.fm.

FSM Dept. of Education puts on CTE Training of Trainers Workshop

FSM NDOC (May 27, 2014)
by Fidelis Willyander

In response to the directives of the Chief Executive Counsel Communiqué of 2008 and FACSSO Resolution No. 13-1 of 2013 which aim at meeting Strategic Goal No. 3 of the Nation’s Strategic Development Plan (SDP), the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Education has been developing Career Guidance and Counseling materials for the high schools in the FSM.  

In addition to a series of activities regarding development of career and technical education in the nation and development of guidance and counseling materials, a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Training of Trainers Workshop was conducted at the National Special Education Office in Kolonia on May 19-23, 2014.  The 41 participants included high school principals, counselors, CTE/VocEd and regular education teachers, SpEd teachers, VocEd and academic education counselors, and State CTE Coordinators.  Other participants included representatives of the State DOE, COM-FSM CTE, WSD&T and the Bridging Gap Specialists for Chuuk and Kosrae.

The focus of the workshop was to provide the participants the knowledge and skills to implement the High School Guidance and Counseling Guides for each state which included the following job-site guides; Job Shadow Guide for sophomores, Mentoring Guide for juniors and Practicum Guide for seniors.  The participants were given the tools to conduct program and result evaluations.  The Program Evaluation will measure how well each of the guides is implemented. The Result Evaluation will measure the impact of the guides on students’ achievement, attendance and behavior.  Such results will be reported to the NDOE, the national leadership, the SDOE, the state leadership and other stakeholders in the FSM.  And lastly, the participants practiced developing CTE lessons that are aligned with the FSM CTE Standards that are found in the FSM Career Education Standards and the FSM Career and Technical Education Standards for Secondary Schools.
 
For inquiry, call the Department at 320-2609 or email fsmpio@mail.fm
 
 

Monday, May 26, 2014

High-level regional judicial and prosecutorial integrity workshop takes place in the FSM


President Mori welcoming participants to the workshop, Kolonia, Pohnpei
FSMIS (May 26, 2014): A two-day meeting of high-level judicial and prosecutorial officials from around the Pacific is convening in the FSM starting today with facilitation from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and support from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Government and contribution of the United Nation Development Program (UNDP).

FSM President Manny Mori opened the meeting this morning with a word of welcome to the participants and expression of appreciation for the opportunity provided to his country to host a crucial regional gathering. He thanked the UNODC for staging the critical training and allowing the FSM to play a role in its facilitation.

FSM Chief Justice Martin Yinug joined the President in welcoming the participants and shared his view in support of the training to further enhance judicial integrity in the  region.

Chief Justice Yinug
The workshop -type meeting is meant to enable exchange of views and generate inputs towards an "implementation guide" tool for State parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) to be able to "take measures to strengthen integrity and to prevent opportunities for corruption among members of the judiciary".

Attending the workshop are FSM Chief Justice Martin Yinug; Chief Justice of the High Court of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Carl B. Ingram; Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau, Mary Lourdes Materne; Deputy Chief Justice, Papua New Guinea, Gibbs Salika; Crown Prosecutor of the Solomon Islands, Natalie T. Kesaka; Chief Magistrate, Solomon Islands, Rex Faukona; Senior Magistrate, Republic of Kiribati, Abuera Levi Uruaaba; Prosecutor, Republic of Kiribati, Pauline Beaiatu; FSM Secretary of Justice, April Dawn M. Skilling; and a number of assistant attorney generals from FSM, Palau and the Marshall Islands.


UNODC Staff
The UNODC personnel includes Jonathan Agar, Associate Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, Vienna, Austria; Jason Reichelt, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer from Vienna, Austrai; and Annika Wythes, Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser, Pacific, UNODC, Fiji.
The meeting is being held at the Tuna Commission Anex Building in Kolonia, Pohnpei.     

FSM State and National Principal Leaders tackle issues at the 7th SNLC Conference, College of Micronesia-FSM Main Campus


From Left: Senator Mooteb, Yap State Legislature; Governor Anefal, Yap State; Speaker Scaliem, Pohnpei State Legislature; Lt. Governor Peterson, Pohnpei State; Governor Elimo, Chuuk State; Vice President Alik; President Mori; Chief Justice Yinug, FSM Supreme Court; Governor Jackson, Kosrae State; Floor Leader Nero, House of Representatives, Chuuk State Legislature; Chief Justice Aliska, Kosrea Sate Supreme Court; Chief Justice Noket, Chuuk State Supreme Court; Speaker Siba, Kosrae State Legislature
FSMR&D (May 26, 2014): The Seventh State and National Leadership Conference (SNLC) took place on May 22nd and 23rd at the College of Micronesia- FSM, Palikir, Pohnpei.  During the two-day conference, the SNLC Principals discussed critical issues for the economic and social development of the FSM including: 2023 Framework and Action Plan, lowering threshold of the constitutional amendment, tax system reform, project management unit, fiber optic connectivity, FSM Petroleum projects on renewable energy, air service cooperation, infrastructure development, and overseas development assistance.

Leading the respective National and State Delegations at the conference were the FSM President, H.E. Emanuel Mori, Vice President Honorable Alik Alik, Speaker of the FSM Congress, the Honorable Dohsis Halbert, Governors Lyndon Jackson of the State of Kosrae, Johnson Elimo of the State of Chuuk, Sebastian Anefal of the State of Yap, and Lt. Governor Marcelo Peterson of the State of Pohnpei, Speakers Gibson Siba of State of Kosrae, Fernando Scaliem of the State of Pohnpei, House of Representatives Floor Leader Kenruo Nero and Senate Vice-Speaker Isiro Choram of the Chuuk State Legislature, and the Honorable Chief Justices Martin G. Yinug of the FSM Supreme Court, Aliksa Aliksa of Kosrae State Supreme Court and Camillo Noket of Chuuk State Supreme Court.

Also present were Members of the National Congress and State Legislatures, National and State Cabinet Members, members of the Diplomatic Missions, representatives from the private sector and support staff.

The 7th SNLC was chaired by FSM President Manny Mori.

The action and decision outcomes from the Conference are detailed in a Communique and resolutions, which will be available on www.fsmpio.fm.

For more information, contact the Department of Resources and Development at 320-5133 or email fsmpio@mail.fm.

FSM Hosts the 2014 Mid-Year Review of the Joint Committee Meeting with the United States of America

Palikir, POHNPEI (FSM Information Services) – On Friday May 16th, the Federated States of Micronesia hosted the annual Mid-Year Review of Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) with the United States of America dealing with security and defense issues, as provided under Title III of the Amended Compact of Free-Association. The meeting was held at the Office of Environment and Emergency Management in Palikir and was attended by high-level officials from both Governments. FSM Ambassador to the United States Asterio Takesy, and the Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Pohnpei, Miguel Ordonez, headed the respective delegations.

As with previous JCM Review meetings, the main objectives were to review updates on the implementation of agenda items agreed to during the last JCM held in the State of Yap and consider other issues to be discussed at the main JCM to be held in Honolulu later this year.
The meeting started in the morning of the 16th with a wreath-laying ceremony held at the Pohnpei International Airport to commemorate and honor those FSM citizens who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while in the service of the US Armed Forces. Laying the wreaths on behalf of the FSM was Ambassador Asterio Takesy. Lieutenant Governor Marcelo Peterson participated on behalf of the State of Pohnpei while Mr. Benito Cantero represented the FSM Association for Veterans' Affairs. Deputy Chief of Mission Miguel Ordonez and Captain Mark H. Scovill, Chief of Staff of the Joint Region Marianas, represented the United States Government.

The JCM Mid-Year Review meeting commenced in Palikir with an official segment providing opportunities for delivery of remarks by respective heads of delegations. Ambassador Takesy affirmed the importance of the Title III to the relationship between the FSM and the United States and confirmed FSM’s continuing commitment to the principles of the provision. He also conveyed gratitude for the successful consideration of Mr. Michael Saimon to the prestigious US Naval Academy at Anapolis. Ambassador Takesy also called for a moment of silence in honor of US Army Sergeant Bernard Boichan of the State of Yap who passed away on April 29, 2014 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Subsequent to the brief opening ceremony, Ambassador Takesy assumed the chairmanship of the meeting. Among the issues considered were the Shiprider Agreement between the FSM and US. Both parties acknowledged the successful signing of the Agreement in March of 2014 and the Construction Civic Action Detail (CCAD) program which continues to provide needed rehabilitation and renovation work for community infrastructures projects. Updates on efforts to improve the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Testing and strengthen law enforcement cooperation were also undertaken. In addition, a review of procedural improvement with respect to access of foreign military aircraft and research vessels into the FSM were also undertaken. As a standard item of discussion in the JCM process, updates on the military build-up in Guam were also provided as well as actual work being undertaken by the transnational crime unit (TCU) and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation surveillance assistance program, both of which support FSM's overall maritime security. Aside from the core JCM action items, updates were also tabled with respect to infrastructure projects submitted for consideration under the Humanitarian Assistance Federated States of Micronesia (HA-FSM) program, as well as material and equipment requests submitted under the US Excess Property scheme.

Along with appropriate staff, the FSM delegates to the meeting included Secretary April Dawn Skilling of the Department of Justice, Secretary Francis Itimai of the Department of Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure, Deputy Secretary Samson Pretrick of Foreign Affairs, the FSM Consul Generals in Guam, Mr.  Robert Ruecho, and the FSM Consul General in Hawaii, Mr. Kandhi Elieisar. Other State representatives included Lt. Governor Marius J. Akapito of the State of Chuuk, Mr. Pius Talemesei, Director of Budget and Mr. Vincent Figir, Director of Public Works and Transportation, of the State of Yap.

The US delegation included Captain Mark H. Scovill, Chief of Staff of the Joint Region Marianas, Mr. Dave DeLeo, Compact Nations Country Director of USPACOM, Mr. Roy Tsutsui, Senior Political & Military Advisor of the Joint Region Marianas, and Mrs. Lynn Pangelinan of the US Embassy in Kolonia.

The next JCM will be hosted by the United States in Honolulu. Consultation will be undertaken to determine mutually acceptable dates. 

Forum Trade Ministers to gather in Tarawa - “Leveraging Economic Growth Opportunities through Trade Promotion and Facilitation Reforms”


FSMR&D (May 26, 2014): On May 28, 2014, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and other Member Countries of the Pacific Islands Forum will be participating in the 2014 Forum Trade Ministers Meeting (FTMM) in Tarawa, Kiribati.
The theme for this year’s meeting is “Leveraging Economic Growth Opportunities through Trade Promotion and Facilitation Reforms”, in line with global efforts being made towards improving trade facilitation, and recognizing recent outcomes of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference held in Bali in December 2013. The FTMM will discuss Pacific trade in the global context, core trade promotion and facilitation initiatives in the region, such as the Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy and the Pacific Islands Trade and Invest Network.
The ongoing Trade and Economic Partnership Agreements that Forum Member Countries are currently engaged in will be carefully reviewed.
It is anticipated that Trade Ministers will discuss the abovementioned issues and consider innovative options for enhancing trade promotion and facilitation in the region.
For further information, call the Department at 320-5133 or email cmovick.fsmrd@gmail.com.

 

FSM First Lady Emma Nelson Mori Visits China


First Lady Emma Nelson Mori and her delegation met with FSM Embassy staff, students, and citizens in
Beijing: (Left to Right) RT Nabeyan, Nathan Soram, Minister Counsellor Jackson Soram, Mickina Sivas, Vinceki Sivas, Duhlen Soumwei, First Lady Emma Nelson Mori, First Secretary Vincent Sivas, and Kalvin Ehmes


May 23, 2014(FSM Embassy, Beijing) Federated States of Micronesia First Lady, Mrs. Emma Nelson Mori visited China (Beijing and Wuxi city) from May 14-19, 2014. Mrs. Mori was invited to China by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) to join the China international assembly in celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the CPAFFC.  Dignitaries and leaders from different chapters of China friendship associations worldwide came to Beijing for the occasion.  The commemoration ceremony was held at the Great Hall of the People on May 15, 2014 hosted by the CPAFFC President, Madame Li Xiaolin.   The Chinese Head of State, His Excellency President Xi Jinping was also at hand to welcome visiting dignitaries and address the assembly. 

After Beijing, the First Lady traveled to Wuxi city, Jiangsu province, to participate in the “World Woman Leadership Seminar.” The seminar was organized by the Wuxi Lingshan Charity Foundation in coordination with CPAFFC and the China Lingshan Council for the promotion of Philanthropy.   The seminar provided a platform for female leaders to share experiences in their countries and join hands in their efforts to empower woman worldwide. 

For background information on the host organization that invited the First Lady to China, CPAFFC is one of China’s earliest organizations that carries out China’s people to people diplomacy to enhance people's friendship, further international cooperation, safeguard world peace, and promote common development.  It was founded in May 1954. The organization's goal is to promote friendship and mutual understanding between the Chinese people and other peoples throughout the world by initiating contacts and promoting exchanges with friendly organizations and people all over the globe.  The FSM Chapter of the friendship association with China was established on January 21, 2011.  Mrs. Mori is the Honorary President for the FSM Chapter.

The First Lady was accompanied to China by the current sitting President of the FSM-China Friendship association, Mr. Duhlen L. Soumwei.  Before Departing China on May 19, 2014, Mrs. Mori met with FSM Embassy staff and students residing in Beijing.  She encouraged the FSM students to give their best efforts in school.       

 
For further information, contact the FSM Embassy in Beijing at Ph: (86)1065324708 or e-mail address:  embassy@fsmembassy.cn

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

FSM President Mori speaks to visiting high schoolers at the President's Office


FSMIS (May 20, 2014): Today, the Federated States of Micronesia President Manny Mori received a visiting group of forty-six high school students representing schools throughout the FSM. The students spent time today familiarizing themselves with Leaders and Officials at the FSM National Government as part of the FSM Close Up Program for high schools.

In the morning, the students observed at the proceedings of the Congress session and had the opportunity to interact with the law-makers of the country.

This afternoon, they engaged in very lively interaction with the President who seemed to be just as delighted as the students themselves.

The students probed into President Mori's view on what would happen to the FSM after 2023 when financial assistance under the Compact of Free Association with the United States are terminated.

The Students also asked about motivating factors that led President Mori to where he is now, and about what he intends to do after he retires from office.

 
President Mori told the students that he does not know what would happen to the FSM in 2024 onward. However, he said that the FSM must build its economy in specific ways that will assist in filling expected financial gaps when Compact funding ends and work on lowering its dependence on foreign assistance. He also said the governments (State and National) need a "healthy and well educated workforce" that must build upon current endeavors.  

In terms of his retirement intentions, the President said he would like to remain in the country and assist, especially in financial matters, given his banking background.

President Mori also asked all the students to move on to college and stay focus on completing higher education before choosing to "settle down".  

The students, along with chaperons, came from all of the four states in the FSM. They will be in Pohnpei the entire week, under supervision from staff of the FSM Department of Education.

The National Close up program is funded by the FSM Government to provide hands-on learning and interaction opportunities between Government Leaders and students. The 2014 Close up experience is facilitated under the theme: "Education in the Digital Era".

 
For further information, contact the Department at 320-2609 or email fsmpio@mail.fm.

Friday, May 16, 2014

FSM and Singapore open air space to one another


FSM Secretary of TC&I Francis Itimai and Singapore Minister of Transport Lui Tuck Yew signing the Air Service Agreement between their respective countries
 
 
On April 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm, a historic event took place when the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Singapore signed an Air Service Agreement (ASA), enabling airlines of each country to freely fly in each other's air space.
Signing on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Singapore is Minister of Transport’s Lui Tuck Yew and on behalf of the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia is Secretary Francis Itimai, Department of Transportation, Communications & Infrastructure.
The ASA was first proposed by FSM to Singapore in February of 2013 and months ensued with negotiations between the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and FSM Department of TC&I. On February 2014 the agreement finally took shape and amicably agreed to by both sides.
The signed ASA underscores both county's commitment to establish a fully liberal air service framework that will allow air carriers of both countries to react quickly to market demand when opportunities arise.
This event is part of FSM's recent endeavors in diversifying the transportation sector to widen options for transiting travelers and those interested in parts of the FSM as a destination.
The signing was witnessed by Mr. Nelperson Etse, General Manager of the Pohnpei Port Authority, and Mr. Ron Reyes, Airport Manager, Pohnpei Port Authority.
Mr. Yap Ong Heng, Director General of the Singapore Civil Aviation Authority and other officials from the Civil Aviation Authority and the Ministry of Transport witnessed the ceremony on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Singapore.

For information, email the fsmpio@mail.fm.


 

FSM War Heroes remembered in a solemn ceremony, Pohnpei International Airport


 
FSMIS (May 15, 2014): This morning, a solemn remembrance ceremony was held at the Pohnpei International Airport, honoring the ten young men and woman from the Federated States of Micronesia who lost their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Large-size framed pictures of these "heroes" have been honorably displayed at the arrival wing of the airport terminal for about 2 years.

The ceremony involved a brief opening remarks by Mr. Miguel Ordonez, Deputy Chief of Mission  (DCM), United States Embassy in the FSM followed by a prayer by Pastor Epel Ilon of the Pacific Mission Aviation Church.

A laying of 5 wreaths placed below the photos was done by Mr. Asterio Takesy, FSM Ambassador to the United States, Captain Mark H. Scovill, Chief of Staff, Joint Region Marianas, Honorable Marcello Peterson, Lieutenant Governor of the State of Pohpei, Mr. Miguel Ordonez, DCM, and Mr. Benito Cantero who represented the FSM Veterans Association.

 For more information, email fsmpio@mail.fm

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Disaster Response Workshop



In disaster management efforts, a workshop entitled, “Disaster Response. Significant Vessel Grounding – Ping Da 7” was held at the Tuna Commissions annex building on Thursday, April 24, 2014 that included state and national officials and other regional authorities.

To shed light on the full scope of current status of Ping Da 7, the capacity building workshop examined different facets in identifying the precisions on what steps could be used as a vehicle of moving forward with the removal of Ping Da 7.  Using a framework that will initiate certain measures in working with innovative solutions, comparative lessons and preparedness planning were also discussed around the roundtable.  Designed to increase awareness, regional authorities, leaders and participants voiced their concerns regarding preventive measures by carefully examining the environmental conditions and situation at hand.  The Ping Da 7 incident is considered both a High Risk and High Value because of the size, unfamiliarity of the area and the damage it can cause to the Pohnpei Port and the pristine natural resources.  Responders were vigilant to understanding of the vessel grounding impacts, “This is a wake-up call for all National Government and State Government because we haven’t dealt with this, especially Pohnpei State,” said Lieutenant Governor Marcelo K. Peterson.

The State Government is initially the first to respond to such incident -- the extent of National Government involvement is upon request. By sharing responsibility, the National and State Government have both taken a collaborative approach to proactive readiness and bridge advances of the Ping Da 7 incident. Francis Itimai, Secretary of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure (TC&I) confirmed that this is not the first removal of a large vessel to take place, but the first to pull together as a joint task force.

The FSM Congress appropriated $2 million to the response of this emergency.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

President Mori asks Congress to carefully examine the proposed "2023 Investment Fund", other priorities highlighted to "Committee to Wait"


FSMIS (May 14, 2014): Two days after the opening of the Fourth Regular Session of the 18th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Congressional Special Committee (Committee to Wait of the President) met with President Manny Mori this morning at the President's Conference Room.

The Committee consisted of Senator Joseph J. Urusemal, Senator Yosiwo P. George and Senator David W. Panuelo, who said he was a last minute appointment. Senator Panuelo, who chaired the Committee, took the place of Senator Peter M. Christian. Senator Wesley W. Simina, also appointed to the Committee, did not attend the meeting.

President Mori welcomed the Committee and assured the Members that the Executive Branch is ready to work with Congress to achieve a productive session. He asked that Congress expedite action on the FY15 recommended budget during this session and not delay budget review portions to the September session, as previously happened for FY13 and FY14 budget review processes.

President Mori specifically asked that Congress evaluate carefully the proposed 2023 Investment Fund as included in the FY15 budget request submitted last month. The President is proposing a $15 million set aside into the fund out of local revenue to assist with economic development projects that must undergo "due diligence" process. He informed the Committee that a framework for the mechanics of the investment fund, which is tasked to the Office of  SBOC and the Chief of Staff, will be provided to Congress once completed. The President said that about $10 million to $15 million should be invested in the fund every year leading to 2023 to demonstrate seriousness in facilitated economic growth and build investors' confidence in investing in the FSM economy.

The President also pointed to the requested $5 million, also from local revenue, to go toward the FSM Trust Fund.

President Mori also indicated that inclusive in the FY15 budget request is a $1.4 million Congressional public project allocation. The President feels that the inclusion of such allocation in the budget request will give Members time to involve stakeholders and conduct more careful planning for specific economic and social development projects, as compared to previous practices.

Among other items discussed, President Mori also asked Congress to consider his request to give a State of the Nation Address to Congress, and the Nation, preferably on May 27. He also informed the Committee that the State and National Leadership Conference has been scheduled for May 22nd and 23rd, for which he looks forward to Congress' vital participation.

Chairman Panuelo thanked the President and Vice President for the opportunity to discuss priorities for the ensuing session. Together, the Senators sought clarifications on a number of issues including World Bank grants for FSM, updates on the status of the newly endorsed Overseas Development Assistance Policy, and whether or not Congress should expect a revised budget request as a result of the "zeroing out" of National Government's share of Compact Sector grants, which happened after the FY15 budget had been transmitted to Congress.

The Committee also brought to attention a concern raised by certain Members involving the slow processing of public project funds that, they alleged, have caused project delays and changes.

The Senators also expressed concern that required reporting by funds allotees has not been upheld.

The President instructed the Secretary of Finance to look into the matter and provide fund status and expenditure reports to allotees to be in compliance with required reporting to Congress.

Finally, the Leaders took some time to discuss the current passport printing hold-up situation. The Secretary of Justice reported that the Department will receive passport booklet supplies by tomorrow and that around seven thousand booklets will be available by next week. She said the office is  positioned to work on the back-log of passport requests the next five days and maintain  operation thereafter.  

For further information, email fsmpio@mail.fm.

Akapito sworn in as Lieutenant Governor of the State of Chuuk

Weno, Chuuk….   On Friday, May 2, 2014 in an oath taking ceremony held at the Chuuk State Supreme Court, the Floor Leader in the House of Representative of the Twelfth Chuuk State Legislature, the Honorable Marius Akapito, took his oath of office to become the 7th Lieutenant Governor of Chuuk State, filling the role that was left vacant after the untimely passing of the late Honorable Lieutenant Governor Ritis Heldart on January 4th 2014. 
 
The solemnity of the oath of office to the new Lieutenant Governor of Chuuk was administered by the Chief Justice of the Chuuk State Supreme Court, The Honorable Camilo Noket.
 
On April 14, The Honorable Governor Johnson S. Elimo transmitted his nomination of Mr. Akapito to the House of Senate pursuant to Article VI, Section 11 of the Chuuk State Constituion, which sets  the selection process in an event the office of Lieutenant Governor becomes vacant.   
In his nomination letter, Gov. Elimo  explained that Mr. Akapito does possess the necessary qualifications  for the office of Lieutenant Governor by highlighting the nominee’s capacity as a parliamentarian who is familiar with the current issues facing the Sate of Chuuk. Gov. Elimo also pointed out that his nominee also possesses necessary understanding of the government framework for a constitutional system, such as the system being applied by the Chuuk State Government.
After a thorough review of the nominee's credentials, the full  Senate unanimously approved the nomination on the 23rd of April.
In his oath taking remarks on May 2, Lieutenant Governor Marius Akapito said he will assist the Governor to continue the implementation of the infrastructure development plan for Chuuk State and the municipalities.   Lt. Gov. Akapito also expressed his heart felt and big thank-you to the Governor and Members of the House of Senate for their trust and confidence rendered in his appointment and confirmation.   
The Honorable Gov. Johnson Elimo underscored in his remarks that the problems and challenges facing the State remain outstanding. He said overcoming these challenges requires the cooperation of leaders  and the people.
 
The Mayor of Weno, the island capital of the State of Chuuk, The Honorable Bintas Keneth, echoed the same, referring to the theme “ one mind, one work, one heart” with dedication and patience.
 
For inquiries, email rosokow@yahoo.com

The Honorable Eisuke Mori, Member of the House of Representative and Association of Micronesia Development Called on Vice President Alik



Palikir, Pohnpei (Dept. of Foreign Affairs).  The Honorable Eisuke Mori, Member of the House of Representative of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, his spouse Mrs. Yoko Mori and the Association of Micronesia Development (AMD) group visited the FSM from 5-8 May 2014. The delegation visited Pohnpei to further strengthen the FSM-Japan relations through the AMD. The visit is also part of a series of activities promoting the 25th Anniversary of the Diplomatic Relations between FSM and Japan that was celebrated in November of last year. For background information, the Association of Micronesia Development was formally established as a non-government and non-profit organization in 2002. Mr. Mori is currently the Honorary President of the “Friendship Bridge Club,” between FSM and Japan. The club was formed to promote joint activities and programs undertaken by the FSM Embassy in Tokyo.

During Mori-sensei’s call on Vice President Alik, he thanked the Vice President for taking his time out of his busy schedule to meet him and his delegation. He further touched on some of the activities jointly promoted and programs undertaken by AMD and FSM Embassy in Tokyo. He stated that he understood the challenges that are facing the nation and that he would like to continue his effort to improve our relations as member of the Parliament.  

Vice President Alik responded by welcoming Mori-sensei and his delegation’s first visit to the FSM on behalf of the FSM Government and its people. He expressed his strong desire to working closely with Mori-sensei and the AMD to tackle the challenges facing the FSM and to further strengthen the relations between FSM and Japan.  Vice President Alik thanked Mori-sensei for his first visit to the FSM to take a glimpse of the nature of Pohnpei, the Capitol of our Nation and hoped that his next visit will also include visits to the other states. He again thanked Mori-sensei for all the assistance from Japan in particular the contributions to our nation building efforts and the strengthening of our bilateral relations.  

After the courtesy call on the Vice President, Mori-sensei called on T.H. Dohsis Halbert, Speaker of the 18th FSM Congress.

Also present at the courtesy meeting were H.E. John Fritz, FSM Ambassador to Japan, H.E. Eiichi Suzuki, Japan Ambassador to the FSM and officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and FSM Public Information Office.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Leaders Commit to Reinvigorate Regionalism

06 May 2014

 
Leaders of Forum member countries meeting today in the Cook Islands agreed to reinvigorate their efforts towards regional cooperation and integration under the Pacific Plan.
Attending the Special Leaders Retreat, Leaders considered the 2013 review of the Pacific Plan, led by the Hon Sir Mekere Morauta, former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea. Leaders expressed their appreciation for the comprehensive work of Sir Mekere Morauta and his review team.
The current Chair of the Forum, President Loeak of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, welcomed the productive discussions and outcomes of the meeting.

“It is clear from the Morauta Review and our discussions today that business as usual has not been delivering the benefits Leaders had hoped for when they endorsed the Pacific Plan in 2005," explained the President. “The decisions we have made will sharpen the focus for Leaders and give us space to discuss how we move forward on the continuum towards integration.”
Speaking after the meeting, Prime Minister Puna of the Cook Islands emphasised the importance of political leadership discussing the challenges and opportunities for region.

“We need strong political leadership and clear decisions if we are to make regional integration work," stated the Prime Minister. “It requires Leaders to have a serious discussion on a handful of high priority issues that will take us forward and carefully consider the benefits that will accrue to the region.”
The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, welcomed the outcomes of the meeting.

“This is an important moment for the region. Once again, Leaders have demonstrated their commitment to regionalism and to working closely together," he stated.
Leaders agreed to a number of ways to strengthen regionalism and priority setting, including further consultations with countries on the development of a Framework for Pacific Regionalism, replacing the Pacific Plan Action Committee with a small, specialised sub-committee of the Forum Officials Committee – the governing body of the Forum Secretariat – and looking at how to rationalise the range of Ministerial meetings.
Leaders’ are expected to make final decisions on taking the regional agenda forward at the 45th Pacific Islands Forum to be held in Palau from 29 July to 1 August 2014.
 
ends
 
 
From the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat...