By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

March 13, 2021

123Pohnpei—Several months ago, Willy Kostka, Director of Micronesia Conservation Trust and a member of the Board of Advisors of KOHWA, posted on social media his concern for people in Pohnpei who live in substandard housing who have no resources to make their physical surroundings better—safer.  He wondered what impact 1000 people donating $10 each per month could have on the lives of Pohnpeians in dire straits.

KOHWA, a local NGO that has been in existence since 2019, heard that call and started working toward making it happen. They are calling the program the Healthy Homes Project targeting senior or disabled citizens with little to no source of income.  The first home they are attempting to renovate belongs to a family in Wapar, Madolenihmw and was selected by agreement of all of the members.

The home, such as it is, belongs to William Thomas and Relihna Tihpen who live on a subsistence level with the help of their grandsons who live with them.  11 years ago, William had a stroke and has been living with it effects since then.  The family has no stable source of income.  The home is open-sided with a tin roof on the edge of the mangrove.

KOHWA hopes to raise $13,000 to renovate the home which will cover the cost of a contractor and includes building supplies and labor costs.  So far, they have raised just less than $2000 from 20 donors but their efforts have only just begun.

If KOHWA can reach their minimum funding goal of 1000 people donating $10 each per month, they could potentially help nine families per year and be on their way toward helping a 10th every year.  But for now, their stated goal is to help one family per year at a cost of $13,000 per family.

KOHWA stands for Koupweliki Oh Wauneki Atail-sohso a phrase that speaks of deep respect for the heritage of Pohnpei, its land, its culture and its people. Its mission statement is, “We work with communities to improve sustainable practices and promote environmental stewardship through alternative livelihoods and community education on health, environment, and cultural heritage in Pohnpei.” They have a vision for collaborative communities for a healthier, sustainable, and resilient Pohnpei.

Since KOHWA was founded its volunteer members have worked on several projects many of which are still ongoing.  They have held clothing and household item drives for distribution to people in need of the items. They hope to take that project to some of the outer islands this summer. They are currently working collaboratively with Trash Kings, EFO, and the Green Society on placing decorated trash bins on the causeway. They have been actively involved in dredge site education and in lobbying to change what they say is currently an upside-down process.  They are also working on a Pakin Women’s garden.

Of course, their newest and possibly most ambitious project is the Healthy Homes project.  Though they have a presence through their website, Instagram, and Facebook, word is only just getting out to the public.  The Global Greengrants Fund  provided funding for an excellent informative video on Youtube that covers their pilot project. That video can be found at or by Googling “Youtube Healthy Homes Program”.  Their website address is Information for making a donation or pledge to support the program can be found there.  Their facebook page is “kohwa”. Their Instagram account is “kohwa_fsm”.  They can also be contacted at 925-9854.

The members of KOHWA’s Board of Advisors are William Kostka, Patricia Edwin, Jo Lynne Mori, Bejay Obispo, and Tom Kostka.  Gordon Lebehn is the President. Daisy Falcam is the Vice President. Toa Nanpei is the Secretary, and the Treasurer is Leola Primo.  The group currently also has 10 additional members.

Please donate to this truly worthy cause.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

March 10, 2021

IMG 0228FSM—Late on the afternoon of March 5, the FSM Supreme Court issued a judgment of acquittal of the one remaining misdemeanor charge filed against Norleen Oliver by the FSM Department of Justice.  After the Court earlier dismissed the felony charge of “Deprivation of Rights” the FSM Department of Justice filed against Oliver the only remaining charge was “Obstructing Administration of Law or Other Governmental Function”.  Today she was cleared of that charge as well.  She is innocent of all charges.

The charges were related to the incident in September during which she parked her car on the driveway on land over which she is custodian.  The driveway also leads to the family property of President David Panuelo’s wife, Patricia Edwin and the charges said that Oliver’s blockage of the driveway not only disrupted a Congress funded public project to pave the driveway but also blocked Edwin’s access to her family land on that day.

Prior to charges being filed, police impounded Oliver’s car which remained at the impound lot at the National Government until Wednesday, March 10.

In mid-November, the FSM Government terminated Oliver’s employment at the Department of Health and Social Affairs.  Her attorney says that there will be an administrative hearing next week to consider whether that action was appropriate, particularly in light of Oliver’s acquittal.

Meanwhile, Oliver’s civil action against the national government which had been on hold pending the outcome of the criminal charges filed against her will move forward.  That lawsuit was filed in October of last year.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

March 9, 2021

11Pohnpei—Pohnpei’s Governor Reed Oliver has signed the first amendment to the Constitutional Emergency regarding COVID-19.  Citing “recent medical development measures such as effective vaccination and reliable laboratory testing,” the amendment, continuing all prior measures gives the first indication that Pohnpei is preparing for repatriation measures.

“Exceptions with respect to International travel may be granted on a case-by-case basis for admittance into the State of Pohnpei” and adds one more class of travelers who may be accepted to arrive in Pohnpei once the FSM government allows for it.  According to the new amendment, people who have a certificate of qualified entry into the State of Pohnpei, have provided a copy of their passport bio page, have a copy of negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival, and a copy of a COVID-19 vaccination record if available can potentially be accepted to arrive in Pohnpei.

“Admittance into the State of Pohnpei pursuant to the exceptions specified in Sub-paragraph (iii) immediately above in this Constitutional Emergency Order shall be premised upon prior favorable advice, assessment and recommendation by the Pohnpei COVID-19 Emergency Task Force, in consultation with the FSM COVID-19 Emergency Task Force, and subject to all screening, detection, quarantine, and isolation procedures and protocols of the State of Pohnpei,” it says.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

March 14, 2021

Pohnpei—On the same day as Feliciano Perman’s attorney filed a motion for an injunction against some of the members of the Setik family on the matter of the C-Star Apartelle, the FSM Development Bank also filed a motion for an injunction and expedited hearing at the FSM Supreme Court.  Their motion for injunction, filed on February 26, asks the Court to bar the plaintiff Setiks, and specifically their attorney from posting allegedly libelous and false statements regarding the disposition of the C-Star Apartelle and other matters the bank says were already decided by the FSM Supreme Court.

The motion provides examples of postings made by Irene Setik on the FSM Forum Facebook page and elsewhere beginning on February 23 making what the motion calls false statements regarding the status of C-Star ownership and calling for readers to fight on her family’s behalf.  That posting listed FSMDB employees by name.  The bank motion says that the posting personally endangered that person and others by calling for violence over issues that were long ago resolved.

“Setiks' Attorney Yoslyn G Sigrah personally instigated these actions and participated in the Setiks' continued trespassing at the C-Star premises,”the FSMDB motion alleges. “Attorney Yoslyn Sigrah refuses to accept the 2018 Appellate decisions and misrepresented the status of the cases to her client Irene Setik, as evidenced by Irene Setik's Facebook posts (which says), ‘2015 FSM Development Bank auction our CStar Apartelle. Why? I never been informed or aware of this.’”

“Through her posts and invitation to fight, Irene Setik put a bullseye on FSMDB's attorney…and made her a target of violence by Irene Setik's family members and supporters - all because her attorney Yoslyn G Sigrah misrepresented to her the 2018 Appellate decisions and continues to pretend those Appellate decisions do not exist. FSMDB, the FSM Supreme Court, and Feliciano Perman are also identified in Irene Setik's Facebook posts, which put their employees and family members at risk of violence from Irene Setik's family members and supporters,” the motion claims.

“Based upon these grounds, Defendants FSMDB and Mendiola move this Court for entry of a preliminary injunction against Plaintiff Setiks, including all those under them including Esther Setik and their Attorney Yoslyn G Sigrah to refrain from posting false and defamatory statements pertaining to the FSMDB / Setik / Mendiola / Perman cases, statements which contradict the FSM Supreme Court Appellate decisions, and statements inviting threats of violence directed (at) FSMDB, FSM Supreme Court, Feliciano Perman, FSMDB employees and/or family members,” the motion said.

It also asked the court to require Irene Setik to take down her Facebook posts of February 23, and 24, 2021.

At press time the court had not yet ruled to grant a requested expedited hearing on the matter. Setik’s Facebook posts on Facebook are also currently still available on the FSM Forum Facebook page which currently has over 7,000 members.

Last week, Attorney Yoslyn Sigrah called The Kaselehlie Press saying that none of what we had written on the matter of the motion for preliminary injunction filed by Feliciano Perman was true.  She also said that there was no eviction notice issued by the Pohnpei State Supreme Court.

However, that ruling is still in place and on March 9, Pohnpei State police were again called upon to remove one of Sigrah’s clients from the property of the C-Star Apartelle based on the eviction notice.  The eviction notice is in place and was issued by the Pohnpei State Supreme Court on September 10, 2020.

A footnote on the FSMDB motion for injunction says, “…in the complaint filed in this case, and in Setik v Perman, Civil 2021-002 (Pon), the Setiks make no reference to any of the three controlling 2018 Appellate decisions that have rejected the Setiks' claims and affirmed the judgments and order in aid of judgment in favor of FSMDB, nor make any reference to the writ of mandamus issued in Appeal P10-2019.”

The motion claims, “The Setiks' filing of more motions and more frivolous lawsuits, such as this one, does not change those Appellate Decisions which have been final for years. The Highest Court of our Nation has already considered all of Setiks' claims and allegations, and has rejected them.”

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 

12121FSM, 10 March 2021 – as part of week-long celebration of International Women’s Day, on 4 March, Pohnpei State Government in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Pacific country office in Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and partners launched a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) for Pohnpei State.

A lot has been achieved in the area of GBV in FSM in recent years, including the passing of Family Protection laws in Kosrae and Pohnpei and a national Ending Voilence Against Women (EVAW) policy that is currently under final review. We recently marked the intensive 18 Day Campaign to End  Violence Against Women, a global call to action, and a powerful reminder that our work to end GBV is unfinished. 

The Chief of Social Services Division in the Pohnpei State Department of Health and Social Services Mr. Noriekka Lekka said that “violence against women and children is a major concern in a lot of countries and FSM is no exception”. In 2014, the FSM government with support from Australian Aid and UNFPA, completed the first Family Health and Safety Survey which showed that one-third of ever-partnered women experienced physical/sexual violence in their life and one-quarter experienced physical and/or sexual violence in the last 12 months. Of concern to our families and communities is that some women experienced physical violence by a partner during pregnancy and almost half of those were punched in the abdomen by the father of the child.

Of concern to the health system, of those who have recently experienced violence, 41% were injured at least once; 11% lost consciousness; 9% were hurt enough to need health care. The major injuries included scratches, abrasions, bruises (77%); cuts, punctures, bites (47%); broken eardrums and eye injuries (22%). Attempted suicide was over double among women who experienced partner violence than among women who never experienced partner violence. The study also highlighted that despite the high levels of partner violence, nearly 90% of ever-abused women did not seek support. Indeed, only 6.4% accessed the police and 4.6 % accessed the health service and less than 2% of women sought the assistance of a religious leader or a women’s group respectively. 

These concerning figures portray the trauma and pain that women and families face when dealing with violence. It is important that women can trust the health services and health care providers to seek help. They need to be able to trust that health-care providers will listen to them, believe them, support them, provide the right clinical care and help keep them safe; that the health-care providers will not tell everyone about their situation; that they will not feel ashamed by telling their painful story. The development of this SOP was a collaboration between the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs, Pohnpei Department of Health and Social Services, and UNFPA, and included clinicians, social workers and local support services. Much work was done to identify roles and responsibilities for health staff, and develop a clear referral pathway for women that would keep them safe.

Mr. Lekka said “we have made another important step today as we formally launch the SOP, with health-care providers to be trained to understand their roles and provide the care and confidentiality needed to keep women safe.”

IkeSolomon OLMCHS Pohnpei State GovernorOn February 23rd, I was given the thrilling opportunity of substituting the Honorable Oliver Reed as the Governor of Pohnpei. My name is Ike Perman Solomon, a senior at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School. Prior to this day, the Department of Education organized a plan to create Pohnpei's first-ever "Student Take-Over Day." With 21 students from Pohnpei's different high schools, each student "relieved" the duties of our state-department leaders for one day, taking their roles, responsibilities, and snug office chairs. After convening in the conference room at the Governor's building, the students went straight to their offices led by their employers.

As student governor of Pohnpei, I can say that this job was nowhere near easy. In fact, if it wasn't for my executive secretary, Miss Tracy, I would be lost and disoriented with the mess of documents in front of me. As governor, I learned I must review and forward grant requests to the appropriate departments, also giving me the ability to accept or decline these requests. In other words, I hold a lot of power. It was all worth it because after the tedious reading and reviewing, there was a sense of contentment whenever I would print my signature on these requests.

At the end of the day, the students and employers conglomerated in the main conference room to listen to the state leaders as they offered their words of wisdom. I especially liked the Honorable Governor Oliver Reed's and Speaker Ausen T. Lambert's vision. That being the state should legalize "Student Take-Over Day" and make it an annual event. Judging by their enthusiasm, their vision will happen sooner rather than later.

I hope "Student Take-Over Day" becomes an annual event because I can imagine future students benefiting from it as I did. From just one day, I familiarized myself with the faces of our leaders, experienced the workload, and absorbed the wisdom from said leaders. I am beyond thankful to our leaders, especially the Department of Education, for organizing this event. I look forward to future programs like this and any improvements they can make. I encourage any student reading this to partake in all programs made available to you. Before we become leaders ourselves, let us continue to follow our elders and take advantage of what they have to offer.

KconAndon NMHS Pohnpei State Lt. GovernorFebruary 23, 2021 was the first Student Take Over Day. That day, I feel really proud of myself and I feel like it was, and I feel like it was a real event. It was interesting. My partner, Mr. Felciano Perman was a good man. He taught me many things about his roles like we cannot agree on a requisition without any justification. For example, if a group submits a requisition, they have to justify by listing the details in which why the project is necessary. I believed that there was more information that I didn't learn that day. Therefore, I feel like I'm the leader that day. Mr. Perman gives me a chance to put my thoughts into words when the Department of Land asks for money. I told him to agree upon the requisition given because it was important. I found out that, being a Lt. Governor is not easy. By being a Lt. Governor, you have to treat everyone under laws, and think wisely. Thus, I want to encourage my brothers and sisters to study hard so you guys can experience this kind of opportunity. If I'm not wrong it is my best opportunity in my life. I want director Mr. Stanley Etse from the Department of Education to make it long for student takeover. I want him to give us two or one week because one day is not enough for us to learn all the important roles in the offices.

"What You Believed, You Can Achieve"

“Catalyst for Change”

Leila Jade LaneOLMCHS Speaker 10th Pohnpei State LegislatureAt a young age, I arrived in Pohnpei from the states. Straight off, I was not cooperative with the foregrounded distinctions between the roles of men and women. I was not able to cotton on to how women were passive, and men considered the heirs to the throne. Day in, day out, I would receive disciplinary blows for not complying to the discouraging and misogynistic attitudes woven in Pohnpeian culture. There was and never will be anything under the sun that could help make the gender-biased system in Pohnpei appealing or dare one say tolerable to me. "Leila. Your cousin is full. Come clean up because you are the girl," my grandma would say. Similarly, she would ask, "Why is your cousin chopping the pork when you are the girl?"

Being the "girl" was I the only one with the supernatural power to clean? Or did I fall under the only gender with the aptness to cook? I was surprised because I was under the impression that everyone regardless of gender needed nutrition to survive and inevitably needed the propensity to produce such.

Moreover, given the facts about Pohnpeian family structure, I assumed that my mom would be superior in the family for she was the eldest of twelve. Then to my dismay, the elders clarified how the prestige would be given to our uncle, the second eldest, for he was the male and soon to be the caretaker of the family.

Incredulous were the incidents I encountered. Getting used to the gender disparity of the Pohnpeian Household was something I could never ascribe. A great stimulus to gender equality I found myself to be. I have to nonetheless seeing that these nurtured norms are what has contributed to the gender gap in our society today.

Analogously, residents are resistant to the idea of women holding high positions of power in government believing such seats belong to men. Since the birth of the Federated States of Micronesia till this very day, there has never been a woman elected to congress or any executive branch position pertaining to the matter. Thus, I have decided to be our catalyst for change. For so long, our traditional beliefs have continued to undermine the dignity of Micronesian women, and I will have it no more.

Come what will, I refuse to let these distorted principles ruffle my feathers. The FSM has to wake up and realize that we need women in office now. When it comes to the decision-making process of our country, we need that female perspective. We demand it! Men and women complement each other. Not in any way are women subsidiary. To look at it from a different perspective, we can say that men have the expertise of constructing a house, but it is the woman who has the proper competence to arrange and structure the house. If not hand in hand, if we do not establish proper census, then our country will never grow to be the noteworthy nation we need it to be.

We need change and I have been making steps of my own to be just that. On February 23, 2021, at the age 17, I made history by being the first ever female to sit in the seat of the Speaker for Pohnpei State Legislature and carry out the legislative roles in the chamber.

Though it was a temporary assignment, it impacted not only me but the whole state in ways we cannot fully grasp. Present there were only three female senators. They shared how they are now prompted to sit in the seat in the future. I seemed to have had the honor to spark a flame of revolutionary stimulation, and I now entrust it not only to them but all Micronesia to keep it burning.

Rotary Club of Pohnpei

March 3, 2021

Winners for State Bee 2021Pohnpei—The Scripps Howard spelling bee has become an annual event here in Pohnpei.  There is a lot of competition to be the winning speller and to be the Pohnpei champion. Unfortunately, COVID 19 has also affected the spelling bee this year.  The spelling bee was able to go forward on Pohnpei which is COVID free, but usually the top winners also get a chance to compete in the regional spelling bee in Guam.

This year, no trips can be made off island so the winners only have bragging rights in Pohnpei.

That is still a major accomplishment and the students should be very proud of themselves.

This year the following schools participated.

Participating Schools:

  1. Ohmine Elem. School
  2. Kolonia Elem. School
  3. Nett Elem. School
  4. Awak Elem. School
  5. Saladak Elem. School
  6. Lukop Elem. School
  7. Sapwalap Elem. School
  8. Pohnpei Catholic School (PCS)
  9. Nanpei Memorial School (NMS)

Each school had its own preliminary competition, to select their champions and then a state bee was held on March 3.

The Department of Education and the Talent Search Program ran the individual bees.  The Pohnpei Rotary Club was a major sponsor of the event and it contributed the entry fees for all the competing schools.

The State competition was held in the Pohnpei Legislative chambers on March 3.  Students that are joining the State competition bee were from grade level 5th to 8th, with a total of 35 students all.

5th grade – 2 students

6th grade – 2 students

7th grade – 6 students

8th grade – 25 students

It was a hard fought competition, and numerous rounds had to be completed to determine a winner.  Congratulations are due to the following students and we want to say they are better spellers than most of the adult readers of this article.


  1. Champion: Miss. Jasmae Ringlen (PCS) 7th grade, parents Jayceleen and Moses Ringlen
  2. 1st Runner Up: Miss. Moki Ohana Lawrence Sardis (Ohmine) 8th grade, parent Molly Lawrence
  3. 2nd Runner Up: Miss. Veronica Werthog (Ohmine) 8th grade, parents Rose and Patrick Werthog.

The championship word:  “Camembert”, which is a pretty cheesy word to end the competition on.

Other words that needed to be spelled to reach the championship were: Thalassic, Frazil & Glacis.

The winners received gifts and prizes from our sponsors, Ace Office Supplies and Black Sand Corporation.  Many thanks to them for their support.

It was another successful spelling bee and we hope we can continue to provide this opportunity to our students in the future.

United States Embassy to the FSM

March 5, 2021

153421806 5047483118656258 2927635010812353870 oPohnpei—In late February, United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced a new International Anticorruption Champions Award.  One of the twelve awardees is Ms. Sophia Pretrick, Investigative Advisor for the Compliance Investigation Division of the Pohnpei State Auditor of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).  Ms. Pretrick almost single-handedly raised the profile of anticorruption activities in the FSM through her unique blend of government intervention and grassroots advocacy.  One of the recent highlights of her years of service was a partnership between her office and the Pohnpei office of Youth-4-Change, a local NGO that addresses health, teen pregnancy, and anticorruption concerns.  Youth-4-Change wrote and performed a pop song that has been played on local radio for over 18 months and reached thousands of youth with its message about the role each person plays in fighting corruption.

U.S. Ambassador Carmen G. Cantor virtually hosted a lunch March 5 at her residence in Pohnpei in honor of FSM's awardee.  Ms. Pretrick graciously accepted her award at the event, remarking “No government big or small is immune to corruption.  Each of us should do our part and we all have to work together to fight corruption.”  She was joined at the lunch by family, friends, supervisors, and other U.S. Embassy staff.  

The World Bank 

February 27, 2021

PB Maybelline 24Feb2021For International Women’s Day 2021, we’re sitting down with women across East Asia and the Pacific who are taking on leadership roles and working towards an equal future in a COVID-19 world. Ms. Maybelline Andon-Bing is the founder of Mortlocks Poun Alilisin Cho (MORT-PAC), a non-government organization (NGO) that seeks to enhance public awareness about civic rights across Micronesia. As the former Secretary of Finance in the Republic of Marshall Islands, she advocates for good governance in development to build stronger and more equitable communities.

In 2020, you founded the NGO, Mortlocks Poun Alilisin Cho (MORT-PAC). What inspired you to start focusing on good governance?

I was raised in a household where our discussions often focused on governance and corruption. Growing up, I heard rumors about how public officials had built houses from public funds. That bothered me, so when I was 10 years old I decided to write a letter to the President of the United States to express my concern!

The reality is that there’s so much need. We have poverty here in the islands, so we need to advocate and educate the public so they can know their rights. There is a gap between those that are well off and not well off. We still have a lot of development areas that have not yet been addressed. I advocate for good governance because it is the key to everything. We have many people in our population that need the help – from children to the elderly. That’s what drives me and that’s why I started Mortlocks Poun Alilisin Cho (MORT-PAC).

You were previously the Secretary of Finance in the Republic of Marshall Islands. What were some leadership lessons you learned in that role?

Collaboration is key. If you don’t have the team, you can't do anything successfully. Once, in a Ministry of Finance forum, I asked my staff to imagine themselves as part of a basketball team. I said, “I can't do all the throws – someone has to dribble the ball all the way down and you have to pass.” At the end of the day, it comes down to teamwork.

If you make a mistake, accept it – but learn and move forward with it. It’s a never-ending process. You're never going to perfect it. And all you can do is try your best.

Our Micronesia

March 2, 2021

1212224Pohnpei—Mangroves are vital to the communities of Micronesia, and especially Pohnpei. They filter water from sediment and unnecessary nutrients, host nursery habitat for fish, crabs and other marine life, provide livelihoods and protect coastal communities from storms and storms surges. Mangrove ecosystems are vital to the survival of Pohnpeian communities by keeping them resilient and protecting them from the impacts of climate change and global warming such as more frequent droughts, flooding and saltwater inundation into farmlands. However, today, our mangroves are being threatened not just by climate change, but also human impacts such as dredging and landfills.

On February 25th, 2021, the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), its local partners including the FSM National Department of R&D, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Micronesia Program, the Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP) and Pohnpei State Department of R&D, held a webinar with the United States Forest Service (USFS), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the University of Tasmania (UTAS) to discuss the findings and recommendations from this 5 year long vulnerability assessment that covered almost all the mangrove areas in Pohnpei. Specifically, during the meeting, the US federal agencies and the UTAS shared the outcomes of the data they had gathered and analyzed on the status of Pohnpei’s mangroves over the past 5 years. The outcomes of the project include an island wide Mangroves Vulnerability Assessment, and climate change prediction analysis for the island of Pohnpei (called a WARMER Mode). Additionally, the report included a Forest Inventory & Analysis (FIA) and the ongoing Surface Elevation Table (rSET) for the Pohnpei State. Emphasis was on presenting the methodologies, results and management recommendations that could be used to continue to protect the ecosystem services provided by Pohnpei's vast mangrove system. A key finding of both reports concluded that while climate change and sea-level rise are going to be the long-term threats to the health and viability of Pohnpei’s mangroves, human impacts such as dredging, pollution, and coastal development are currently the major threats to Pohnpei’s mangroves.

To continue the discussions locally, the Conservation Society of Pohnpei and its partners are preparing for the 2nd Mangrove Conference on March 17th -18th, 2021. This conference is meant to provide the outcomes of the ongoing initiative including recommendations to the Pohnpei State Government, resource managers, local governments, traditional leaders and communities to encourage dialogue that will help identify the most effective and appropriate mangrove management strategies for Pohnpei. 

Embassy of Japan in the FSM

On February 1, 2021, the Grant Contract Signing was concluded for The Project for Construction of Gymnasium in St. Mary's Elementary School, Yap State between Mr. Sobashima Hidenobu, Ambassador of Japan to the Federated States of Micronesia and Mr. Rufino Xavier, Principal of St. Mary's Elementary School. The project will provide St. Mary's Elementary School with the funds up to US$89,532 under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects by the Government of Japan.

This project will construct a gymnasium to improve the educational environment at St. Mary's Elementary School and enable the School’s curricula to include Physical Education class to keep all 245 students healthy.

St. Mary's Elementary School has been unable to conduct Physical Education class due to the lack of appropriate and secure place to use in poor weather for quite some time.

After the construction of the gymnasium, St. Mary's Elementary School will be able to provide a Physical Education program for all students. The gymnasium will also be open to the local community and a number of events for various people. In addition, the gymnasium will be utilized as an emergency evacuation facility.

Embassy of Japan in the FSM

2. IMG 0251On Thursday March 4, 2021, Mr. Hidenobu Sobashima, Ambassador of Japan hosted a reception to celebrate the birthday of the Emperor of Japan, at his residence, with a smaller number of guests than last year, from the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Diplomatic Corps, and business community, providing masks to the guests, distancing seats 6 feet from each other at the beginning, placing sanitizers everywhere, and serving food in small individual plates, in a “New Normal” way.

 In his address, Ambassador Sobashima introduced that the Emperor of Japan who had become 61 years old on February 23, 2021 sympathized with the people having a difficult time due to the COVID-19, valued the relationship between Japan and the FSM, including in the context of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific, and reviewed the past year, explaining various cooperation offered from Japan to the FSM, showing a strong Kizuna between the two countries.

 He then appreciated the donation of the COVID-19 vaccine from the United States, and, hoped for a better year in 2021, with the progress of vaccination in the FSM.

The Hon. Kandhi Elieisar, Secretary of Foreign Affairs who represented the Government of the FSM, congratulated the birthday of the Emperor of Japan, expressed the sympathy to the Japanese people who were suffering from COVOD-19 as well as the recent earthquake which had hit Fukushima and its neighboring Prefectures, and thanked Japan for its cooperation to the FSM.

 After the toasts, the guests enjoyed conversations over various small pieces of food served in a new normal way, with such drinks as Sake, Japanese beer and Japanese wines, among others.

by Leilani Reklai

Pacific Island Times

March 5, 2021

Pohnpei--A group of residents, both FSM and US nationals living in the Federated States of Micronesia, are suing Bank of Guam for withholding their Economic Impact Payments and freezing accounts which received the payment from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

One of the complainants, a US citizen Craig Reffner in Pohnpei, who had worked in Palau previously, said that their attorney is ready to file their complaint next week.

Mr. Reffner said that they had the same issues as many in Palau, where Bank of Guam froze their accounts, held their checks and sent their money back to the IRS, after they had applied and been approved for payment by the IRS.

Another American, Cody Spence, said he’d filed his taxes in the US but when his money was sent, the bank took it and sent it back. He said that this made things difficult for himself and his family and kids.

The issue is much more sinister in Pohnpei, said Reffner. He alleged that some of the locals had families in the US who received their EIP checks, had endorsed them and sent them to their families in the islands. He said the bank refused to cash the checks.

Members of this group share the belief that actions taken by Bank of Guam is simply based on discrimination against Micronesians


According to the group, none of their leaders whom they’d spoken to about the issue had said or done anything about it.

Bank of Guam President and Chief Executive Office Joaquin P.L.G. Cook responded to Palau’s President Remengesau last year regarding similar complaints, saying that the steps Bank of Guam had taken to place customer accounts with EIP payments on “temporary hold” was based on discussions with the US Internal Revenue Service.

“The instructions we received from the IRS indicate that the Bank has taken the appropriate steps,” stated Mr. Joaquin Cook, Bank of Guam President.

Under the IRS Lead’s program, Bank of Guam reported these accounts as questionable or suspect transactions to the IRS.

A letter from IRS Leads Center in California to Bank of Guam, a copy of which was obtained by Island Times, instructs Bank of Guam how and where to return the funds to the IRS. Should it be found out later that the recipient is not fraudulent, the money will be returned by the IRS to the account holder.

The IRS, in the letter, instructs Bank of Guam to direct account holders to contact the IRS directly at a given telephone number if they have questions regarding the return of funds

FSM Information Services 

March 11, 2021

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—The Global Partnership for Education has approved $2.5 million for a new grant for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). This new grant will contribute to establishing 1- year compulsory Early Childhood Education (ECE) for the Nation’s 5-year-olds. The objective is to prepare the enabling environment and achieve the implementation of 1-year compulsory ECE for 5- year-olds in the FSM by the year 2024.

The program will focus on comprehensive areas on ECE, including review of the ECE Policy and Legislative Framework, refurbishing ECE classrooms, developing a school nutrition strategy, providing quality in-service teacher training on ECE, supplying teaching and learning materials, and fostering parental and community engagement. Special attention will be paid to ensuring sustainability, such as leaving no child behind, including children with special needs.

“The quality of our education system is one of the things—like the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the existential threat of Climate Change—that keeps me up at night,” His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the FSM, said in a statement. “Our Nation’s children deserve the absolute best education possible, not only for our Nation’s continued sovereignty and economic sustainability, but for the promotion of peace, unity, and liberty, and for each individual citizen to attain each level on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I am deeply grateful for this news of Global Partnership for Education support, which will help this paradise in our backyards attain compulsory ECE services for all of our Nation’s youngest citizens.”

“We are appreciative and grateful for this news of Global Partnership for Education support, which will without a doubt complement our on-going efforts to provide quality ECE and education as a whole in the FSM. We look forward to enhance a great working relationship and collaboration for a successful implementation of a 1-year compulsory ECE as part of our strategic plan,” said Wayne Mendiola, Acting Secretary of the Department of Education (DOE).

“Small island states face unique challenges due to their size and remoteness,” said Alice Albright, the

Global Partnership for Education’s Chief Executive Officer.

In February 2020, with the finalization of the Education Sector Strategic Development Plan (ESSDP) 2020-2024 in progress, the FSM National Government began the process for applying for Global Partnership for Education’s Education Sector Plan Implementation Grant (ESPIG).

President Panuelo and the DOE decided to focus the ESPIG on the ECE sub-sector due to the Nation’s priorities, and the already substantive support from other partners in the other sub-sectors of education. Supported by the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the DOE conducted a number of consultations with relevant national and state-level stakeholders, to develop a program focused on achieving 1-year compulsory ECE for 5-year-old children in the FSM.

At present, formal education only becomes mandatory for 6-year-old children entering first grade.

The ESPIG application was approved on February 11th, 2021 with three years for its implementation period, which is expected to start from July 2021. UNICEF is the GPE grant agent, whose responsibilities include the managing of funds in alignment with the activities and budgets outlined in the grant program, agreed by the DOE and endorsed by the Local Education Group. Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) is the coordinating agency.

UNICEF’s Chief for the FSM, Cromwell Bacareza, said “UNICEF is grateful for this great opportunity supported by Global Partnership for Education. With the strengthened collaboration with the DOE at the national and state level, and relevant actors, we are ready to work harder to promote learning and wellbeing of young children who will be, and will create, the future of the FSM.”



March 11, 2021

Yap State is poised to be the first state in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to get the benefits of an FSM-wide program to upgrade communications and digital infrastructure and setting up the State up for greatly improved economic development over the next decade. iBoom, led by Mr. Lubuw Falanruw, is taking proactive steps to ensure this happens as quickly as possible.  As Yap’s newest licensed telecom company, iBoom is hoping to start operations soon after installing temporary fiber optic cables which are due to arrive soon in Yap.

Mr. Falanruw recognized how vital this project would be to the growth of his home island of Yap. Despite delays to his plans due to the Covid-19 pandemic and other factors, he assembled a team of local and expatriate Yapese to get things jump started, from sourcing materials and labor to state of the art equipment. “It’s been challenging, with obstacles, but I am so grateful to have a team who all share the same passion and mission that iBoom has for Yap and its people,” related Falanruw. “The ambition, grit, & resourcefulness, the team has truly accomplished many miracles. They are the heroes.”

“iBoom’s initial objective is to simply level the playing field for locals and set higher standards of service in telecommunications,” stated Mr. Falanruw. “But our mission and vision are much broader, as we will be creating an environment that will bring in more jobs with career paths, foster local innovations and entrepreneurs, and bring in revenue from outside FSM. We are ready to take on the challenge of being the change agents, maintaining our integrity while balancing modern technology with our traditions.  We could not do any of this without the incredible support of all our leaders, from our President Panuelo, Secretary Apis, and many others at National, and our Yap state Government, the executive, legislative and judicial branches, and both our Councils of Chiefs.”

The development in Yap is part of the National Government’s Digital FSM Project, a World Bank funded project that follows on from the work to connect all four states to undersea fiber optic cables, bringing fast, reliable internet and telecommunication to the people of FSM. After the temporary cables are installed by iBoom to Colonia, work will start on the build of a permanent, resilient fiber-to-the-home network. The task of connecting each home, office and school to fiber optics is being implemented by FSM Telecommunications Cable Corporation (FSMTCC) who are FSM’s Open Access Entity (OAE) and own the network on behalf of FSM’s government. They are spending an estimated $2 million on the Yap project alone, creating many local jobs during the installation and afterwards. An Australasian company, Universal Communications Group (UCG), won the contract to design the fiber-to-the-home network across three of FSM’s states, including Yap.

Both the Yap State Governor and the Yap State Legislature are 100% behind this project. “I think the pandemic today has proven to all of us that we need reliable, dependable means of communications because, in my opinion, it can underpin all other development,” said Yap Governor Henry Falan. “It underpins political development, social development, and economic development.”

Introducing competition into the FSM’s telecommunication market was seen by the FSM National Government as essential to ensure that the FSM’s people benefit from new technologies and the opportunities it can bring to people’s lives and the economy. “This is a way of introducing new players into our market to make sure that there’s competition, that there are options for our citizens in the telecommunications field,” stated FSM President David W. Panuelo.

“The exciting aspect is the development and jobs that iBoom are planning to bring,” added Secretary for the Department of Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure (DTC&I), Hon. Carlson D. Apis.

As a fully-funded grant by the World Bank, the Digital FSM Project will not burden the government with additional loans or expenses. Local entrepreneurs like Lubuw Falanruw of Yap are seizing the opportunity afforded by the FSM’s newly opened telecommunication market to provide services that specifically cater for the needs of local people. “This will be the first time a whole new digital economy will be created in our nation,” says Mr. Falanruw. “The beauty of what we are doing is harnessing the latest internet technologies, to take giant leaps ahead, using both technology models and proven methods that can be easily shared across other states and sister/brother island nations. This can easily become the global Pacific alternative to old school development options, where we have a thriving economy, and where lands and cultural identities are kept in place and in the hands of locals. We get to see ahead and do things differently.”

March 10, 2021

Dear Mr. President:

Mwohn mehkoaros ahi tungoal wahu. It is with great honor and privilege to write on a matter very important to the livelihood of the people of Pohnpei.


Some times in 2008, FSM Government started receiving its shares (60%) of the Corporate Tax.  Subsequent to that, a question was asked whether the revenues received are subject to the requirement of Section 5 of Title IX of the FSM Constitution, which requires that not less than 50% of the revenues collected shall be paid into the treasury of the state where collected.  One of the Assistant Attorney Generals at the FSM Department of Justice was tasked to answer the question.  In her research, she concluded that the revenues should be shared as mandated by Section 5 of Article IX of the FSM Constitution.  Historically, revenues have been consistently shared with the states without any reservation since the implementation of the FSM Constitution.

The result of her work was presented to the then Secretary of Finance and Administration, Mr. Finley Perman on March 21, 2008.  And on March 24, 2008, the Secretary shared the legal opinion with the then President, His Excellency Emmanuel Mori.  In that meeting, the President did not support the sharing of the revenues from the corporate tax.  This could be authenticated by the handwritten notes on the legal opinion document; and on April 04, 2008, FSM Attorney General, Maketo Robert, issued another opinion in support of the notes referred to above.

The Betrayal


WE, THE PEOPLE OF MICRONESIA, (in capital letters) exercising our inherent sovereignty, do hereby establish this Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia.

With this Constitution, we affirm our common wish to live together in peace and harmony, and

to make one nation of many islands, we respect the diversity of our cultures.  Our differences enrich us.

Article II Supremacy

Section 1.  This Constitution is the expression of the sovereignty of the people and is the supreme law of the Federated States of Micronesia.  An act of the Government in conflict with this Constitution is invalid to the extent of conflict.

Article IX Legislative

Section 2. (d) to impose taxes, duties, and tariffs based on imports

                   (e) to impose taxes on income

Section 5.  National taxes shall be imposed uniformly.  Not less than 50% of the revenues shall be paid into the treasury of the state where collected

Article X Executive

Section 2(a). President to faithfully execute and implement the provisions of this Constitution and all national laws.

Article XIII General Provisions

Section 3.  It is the solemn obligation of the national and state governments to uphold the provisions of this Constitution and to advance the principles of unity upon which this Constitution is founded.

Section 7.  On assuming office, all public officials shall take an oath to uphold, promote, and support the laws and the Constitution as prescribed by statute.

Article XIV Amendments

A proposed amendment shall become a part of the Constitution when APPROVED by ¾ votes of votes cast on that amendment in each of ¾ of the states.     

It is abundantly clear that the constitutional mandate of Second 5 of Article IX has not been amended to allow the National Government not to share the required 50%, especially with Pohnpei. Section 5 of Article IX is a self-executing provision and therefore, interpretation of the FSM Supreme Court is not necessary.  Historically, National Government has been faithfully sharing the 50% mandated by Section 5 of Article IX of the FSM Constitution and to do otherwise, not to share, is a dereliction of duty.  All the elected and appointed leaders of this Nation took an oath to uphold, promote, and support the laws and the Constitution of the Federated State of Micronesia.


Based on all of the above, it is earnestly requested that the current Administration corrects the unconstitutional act, which has deprived the people of Pohnpei from their rightful shares of the revenues from the corporate tax.

Respectfully submitted,

Feliciano M. Perman

Lt. Governor, Pohnpei State                                                      

Maritime Surveillance Advisors 

March 12, 2021

The Australian government has awarded TAFE Queensland a A$36 million contract to provide mariner training and support to the Navy and Police crews of the Guardian-class Patrol Boats. The funding is being delivered as part of the government’s A$2 billion Pacific Maritime Security Program to strengthen maritime capability in the Pacific. The training will be delivered in a hub and spoke approach by Cairns TAFE taking the training out into the Pacific to grow the capability of Pacific island nations.

Acting Minister for Defence Marise Payne said the Pacific Maritime Security Program training contract was designed to adapt and adjust, to meet the needs of our Pacific partners. “A modern and innovative training approach offered by TAFE Queensland will have significant strategic benefits in the Pacific,” Payne said. “TAFE Queensland has already established important relationships and arrangements with the Commonwealth and Pacific Island country governments, industries and communities. This, coupled with their established infrastructure in Australia and experience in delivering services in the Pacific, will enable TAFE Queensland to help achieve the outcomes of the Pacific Step-Up Program and the Pacific Maritime Security Program. This contract builds upon the success of the previous Pacific Patrol Boat training services contract, by providing new contemporary training for the Guardian-class Patrol Boat crew.”

TAFE Queensland aims to commence training in August 2021 with 80 students to receive training this year, from next year Cairns TAFE aims to have 320 students per year for the next four years.

Under the Pacific Maritime Security Program, Australia is replacing the existing Pacific Patrol Boats with 21 new Guardian-class Patrol Boats to 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor-Leste to enhance regional maritime capability and capacity. FSM is scheduled to receive the first of its new Guardian Class patrol boats in early 2022.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press 

February 23, 2021

IMG 0148 copyFSM—On February 9, Gretzki Albert and Raven Riddick Luhda set out from the shores of Mwoakilloa, an outer island of Pohnpei, for an afternoon of trolling. They could not have known that the journey would end up being one that could kill them.

They said that at about five miles off shore, their engine died and would not restart.  The distance was too far to paddle back. Onboard they had two tanks of fuel that were worthless with a non-functioning engine, two 500 milliliter bottles of water, a tarp, and the few fish they had caught before their engine died.  They spent the next 10 days drifting further and further away from their home battling the elements and the needs of their bodies.

For the first two days they ate the fish they had caught, but by the third day the remaining fish had spoiled. Their small supply of water ran out by the second day.  They survived the sun’s strong ultraviolet rays by taking shelter beneath the tarp and swimming when it got too hot.  They would only last a maximum of three more days after their water ran out.  They cleaned out the under-seat storage as best they could. Rain filled the compartment giving them at least some hope for survival, though their food was well gone by then.

On the seventh day they found what Pohnpeians call a “dipwap”, a small nut, floating in the water. They eagerly shared the finger tipped sized nut. It gave them hope, even if small.

The sighting of three planes overhead also gave them a small amount of hope, though they later admitted regretting that the inside of their boat was painted blue, which made it incredibly difficult to spot in the vast expanse of blue ocean.  On the second day they saw a drone. On the third day they saw a Coast Guard plane. On the fourth day they saw what they said looked like a US Navy airplane.  But still they continued to drift, buoyed both by their small boat and the sighting of the planes.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press 

February 26, 2021

FSM—On December 11, 2020, Marianne Setik and Irene Setik filed an action at the Pohnpei Supreme Court against Feliciano Perman, the Pohnpei Court of Land Tenure, and the Pohnpei Supreme Court, again alleging that the sale of the C-Star Apartelle several years ago was illegal and fraudulent. That case has since been removed to the FSM Supreme Court as case number CA 2021-002.

Though Pohnpei Police evicted members of the Setik family from the property last week based on a Pohnpei Supreme Court ruling in September, today, Marstella Jack, representing Feliciano Perman, filed a motion on 2021-002 asking for a preliminary injunction barring members of the Setik family or their representatives from entering the property.  The motion also asked for an expedited hearing.

The motion says that on February 22, 2021, Maureen Perman, daughter of Feliciano Perman, who was given her father’s power of attorney, was cleaning at C-Star when Attorney Yoslyn Sigrah appeared and harassed her.  According to Maureen’s affidavit on the matter, on that evening Sigrah screamed at her though Sigrah was barred from having direct contact with her without her attorney present. “Using belligerent and…abusive language” Sigrah accused Perman of trespassing and accused Perman’s father of “stealing the land”. Sigrah told her that she had already called the police, who, despite the court already having ruled that the Setiks were trespassing, and previous requests from the Permans to enforce that ruling, told Perman to leave or she would be arrested.

On the next day, Perman’s attorney, after having consulted with the State Attorney General and the Director of Public Safety told Perman she could go back to clean.  But Sigrah came back at about 5 PM and barricaded herself inside the apartment Esther Setik was occupying and refused to come out.  Perman’s attorney called the Pohnpei AG and the Director of DPS and at around 9:00, police escorted Yoslyn Sigrah and her client from the compound.

That evening, Irene Setik posted threats against FSM Development Bank, it’s attorney, Nora Sigrah, and against Feliciano Perman on social media and made thinly veiled threats, asking others to fight for her family members living in Pohnpei.  The motion included Facebook posts from many who threatened to beat up, or otherwise harm the Permans and others involved in the civil action.

“Setiks’ Attorney Yoslyn G Sigrah personally instigated these actions and participated in the Setiks’ continued trespassing at the CStar premises,”Perman’s motion said. “Attorney Yoslyn Sigrah refuses to accept the controlling Appellate decisions of 2018 and misrepresented the status of the cases to her client Irene Setik, as evidenced by Irene Setik’s Facebook posts.”

The motion continues with a quote from Setik’s February 23 Facebook post. “2015 FSM Development Bank auction our CStar Apartelle. Why? I never been informed or aware of this.”

“Clearly Irene Setik was not informed of the sale of CStar premises because her attorney, Yoslyn G Sigrah, failed to inform her of this,” Perman’s motion for injunction and expedited hearing said. “Sigrah’s failure to inform her client of the Appellate decisions resulted in the February 22-23, 2021 events at CStar and the filing of this (2021-002) meritless action.”

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

February 15, 2021

FSM—The FSM Supreme Court, late this afternoon issued an order dismissing three of five criminal counts against Mark Deorio that the FSM Department of Justice filed against him. 

The government charged Deorio with committing five crimes: obstructing the administration of law or other governmental function, conflict of interest, theft, unauthorized possession or removal of property, and deprivation of rights.  In the charges, the government alleged that Deorio, having found a copy of a letter his wife had written to President David Panuelo who received it and made a notation on it for a cabinet official, took the letter and gave it to Norleen Oliver, Deorio’s wife.  The government alleges that action was criminal in the ways that it defined in its charges.  The letter regarded the Congress approved special project to pave a road across land over which Oliver is trustee.

“The government has not pled sufficient facts to show how Deorio’s alleged actions caused an adverse action by Oliver for which he should somehow be held criminally liable or what that adverse action was. Or, alternatively, the government has not pled sufficient facts to show how Deorio’s alleged actions directly, without any action by Oliver, interfered with the Secretary’s or the contracting officer’s duties,” the Court ruled when dismissing the charge of obstructing the administration of law or other governmental function.  The Court dismissed the charge “without prejudice”, which means that if the government decides to do so it can resubmit it with deficiencies addressed at some later date if it chooses to do so.

On the charge of “conflict of interest” the Court essentially ruled that for this charge to apply, the accused must have acted as a public official to influence decisions regarding the road-paving project on his wife’s land.  It points out that Deorio signed off on the Project Control Document for the project, which is a function of his official position. “The government has not pled sufficient facts to show how Deorio’s alleged actions caused an adverse action by Oliver for which he should somehow be held criminally liable or what that adverse action was. Or, alternatively, the government has not pled sufficient facts to show how Deorio’s alleged actions directly, without any action by Oliver, interfered with the Secretary’s or the contracting officer’s duties,” the Court said when completely dismissing the charge.

The Court disagreed with Deorio’s assertion that he could not be charged with theft because his wife wrote the letter and it was therefore his wife’s property.  It ruled that once the President received the letter it became his property and as such, the property of the government.  It ruled that Deorio’s belief that the letter was his wife’s property is not grounds to dismiss the theft charge before trial.  It ruled in the same way and for the same reasons for the charge of unauthorized possession or removal of property.

Ruling that the government did not name whose civil rights were allegedly violated by Diorio’s actions and also that governments do not have civil rights that can be violated, the Court also dismissed the deprivation of rights charge against Deorio.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press 

February 26, 2021

Pohnpei—Representing 13 clients, Attorney Marstella Jack today filed a complaint for declaratory judgment at the FSM Supreme Court asking the court to consider the issue of whether or not President David Panuelo’s action to close FSM borders is Constitutional.

The case names President Panuelo in his official capacity and the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia.  Plaintiffs are Maria Ligohr, Lina Wilson, Merlance Amor, Darleen P. Alexander, Lorenzo David, Senolida Robi, Connie Julio, Memorina Yesiki, Herman Joel, Marcey Joel, Kimberly Lebehn, Dora Rasuo, and Victoria Braie, all of whom are citizens of the FSM who aggregately reside in each of the four FSM States.

All of the plaintiffs traveled to the United States or to the US Territory of Guam prior to March 2020 to attend to important family matters, or for medical treatment but were prevented from returning to the FSM because of President Panuelo’s decision to close the FSM borders.

“The issuance of the said declaration was not based on any solid medical finding or fact,” the plaintiffs’ filing alleged.  “Instead, the issuance of the declaration by President Panuelo was based simply on President Panuelo's sheer unfounded fear of Covid-19, which was occurring not in the FSM, but in other parts of the World several thousands of miles away from the FSM, or completely outside of the jurisdiction of the Federated States of Micronesia.”

The allegation is one that the plaintiff’s will have to defend in a hearing along with their other assertions, including that the President’s action to close the borders was unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs quote Article X, Section 9(a) of the Constitution of the FSM,  which vests in the President the power to declare a state of emergency under certain conditions.  “Specifically, Section 9(a) expressly directs that ‘if required to preserve public peace, health, or safety at a time of extreme emergency caused by civil disturbance, natural disaster, or immediate threat of war, or insurrection, the President may declare a state of emergency and issue appropriate decrees.’”

Plaintiffs claim that none of those conditions existed then, and they don’t exist as of the date of the filing.

“The Plaintiffs were never informed in advance of Defendant President Panuelo's decision to close down the FSM borders. Plaintiffs are entitled to be informed of the President's decision to close down the FSM borders in order that they may exercise their rights to travel back to their home states in the Federated States of Micronesia prior to the date of closure of the national borders, and thus, Plaintiffs were never given an opportunity to travel back to their home states in the FSM prior to the date President Panuelo closed down FSM borders,” the complaint say. The same holds true for several thousand other FSM residents “wrongfully” barred from return, the plaintiffs say.

The plaintiffs claim that the emergency powers vested in the President were not designed to protect FSM citizens residing within FSM borders against other FSM citizens residing outside of FSM borders. The power is intended to protect all FSM citizens and is not intended to be applied in a discriminatory manner.

Plaintiffs claim that Palau’s example serves as an example of “less drastic alternative measures” that were available and could have been used by the President which would have protected the rights of FSM citizens residing outside of the FSM to travel freely back into the FSM. “The Government of the Republic of Palau did not close down their borders from their Palauan citizens travelling back to Palau simply because Palau leaders organized a successful quarantine program which enabled Palau's citizens to freely travel between Palau and United States of America, which is still keeping their country a free Covid-19 place,” the complaint says.

The complaint was only just filed today at the FSM Supreme Court and has not yet been reviewed by the Court.

The Vital Petroleum Corporation 

Pohnpei, FSM – The Vital Federated States of Micronesia Petroleum Corporation (“FSMPC”) confirms to its valued customers that, as forecasted in previous releases, the trend in international oil prices has continued on an upward trajectory.

FSMPC Business Analyst Ms. Sancherina Salle said that pump prices in the FSM have not increased once in over a year: “The most recent activity in pump prices within the FSM were the two consecutive price decreases in April and May 2020. The twelve-month comparison shared in FSMPC Press Statement 1-2021 offers a visual representation of the difference in trends between FSM and Guam retail prices. Guam prices reflect the volatility of international oil prices, while FSM prices have been less reactive.”

FSMPC Chief Financial Officer Mr. Johnny Adolph stated, “We are satisfied that the price stabilizing mechanism within our pricing methodology has done its job well, and that even with an ongoing pandemic affecting world markets, our FSM customers have not seen an increase in our wholesale prices since October 10, 2018.”

FSMPC CFO Adolph continued, “We will continue to hold off any increases in wholesale prices; however, we may face the first increase within the next month or two. We do want to reassure customers that any necessary changes will be implemented at a gradual pace, and as always, thank our customers for their continued support and cooperation.”

FSM Information Services

February 22, 2021

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—As of February 22nd, 2021, all States in the Federated States of Micronesia

(FSM)—the State of Yap, the State of Chuuk, the State of Pohnpei, and the State of Kosrae—are offering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for the eligible population, which includes all adults who are eighteen (18) years old and up. Citizens interested in receiving their vaccine need only visit their State’s public health office.

All adult FSM citizens are encouraged to get their COVID-19 vaccine as early as possible. All categories of adult citizens aged 18 and up—from first responders to teachers, grocery store workers to stay-at-home parents, fishermen to College of Micronesia-FSM students—are eligible to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

The FSM National Government, operating in part on guidance received from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC), is seeking a minimum vaccination rate of seventy percent (70%) of the eligible population prior to the repatriation of any FSM citizens from COVID-19 affected jurisdictions. Ensuring that you and your family obtain the vaccine is crucial towards ensuring the Nation’s safety and the eventual return of the Nations’ stranded citizens.

For information on how you can get your COVID-19 vaccine, contact your State’s immunization program at the following numbers:

Yap State—+691-350-2114

Chuuk State—+691-330-3945

Pohnpei State—+691-320-3144/2217

Kosrae State—+691-370-2125

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

February 23, 2021

Pohnpei—21 top high school grade earners had the opportunity to participate in Pohnpei’s first ever “Student Take Over Day”.  During that day students took over the positions of government officials, NGO leaders, and other leaders.

During a ceremony at the end of the day, speakers stood in front a large Student Take Over banner saying “Employers, we want to take you over.  Will you give young people a chance to walk in your steps for just one day to experience what being a leader and decision maker feels like?”  And that is exactly what they did on Tuesday, February 23.

During his speech at the ceremony, Governor Reed Oliver said that the program was a trial run and that he hopes the Pohnpei State Legislature will consider passing a bill to make it an annual event. Each of the student participants also received recognition for their participation in the event.

Through Pohnpei’s Public Information Officer, the Kaselehlie Press reached out to the Department of Education to explore the possibility of asking each student to provide a short narrative of their day for publication, but by publication time we had yet to receive a response.  If that does happen, we will publish responses in future issues of the newspaper.  Meanwhile, photos and captions of each student participant are published here.

FSM Information Services 

February 18, 2021

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—In December 2020, His Excellency David W. Panuelo—President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)—announced a series of social protection programming designed to safeguard the Nation’s citizens against the detrimental economic impact resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic. As of February 18th, 2021, the Department of Finance & Administration (DOFA) has begun piloting the application forms and questionnaires for support to low-income households in Pohnpei State’s Municipality of U, and expects to expand the pilot to the States of Yap, Chuuk, and Kosrae during the week of February 22nd to 26th. The Department expects that the first checks for these programs will be cut sometime in the month of April, 2021.

Among the social protection programs include a cash transfer grant to approximately 4,500 low- income households outside of the formal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, a food security program for community groups and low-income households to enhance subsistence-living food production, community-based grants to strengthen awareness and prevention of COVID-19, and targeted assistance to vulnerable groups such as the elderly, persons with disabilities, and survivors of gender-based violence, which would come in the form of medical bill waivers, utility subsidy, and gender-based violence prevention kits.

“Right now, [DOFA] is visiting the municipal government offices to outline the low-income household support program, and then work with each municipality on the best way to distribute

forms and collect the information back in the most expedient manner,” said the Honorable Eugene Amor, Secretary of Finance & Administration. “The idea is that any application form for a person or family needs to be signed off by the municipal government, which serves as validation that the person or family actually lives there. While these are FSM programs designed by President Panuelo, as they’re funded by the Asian Development Bank, it’s important that our foreign donors are as satisfied by our processes and procedures as the Office of the National Public Auditor.”

“We’re testing to see if people can fill in the data right, and also to see if we’re collecting complete information in order to make a determination as to eligibility for low-income support,” Secretary Amor said. “An important element of the pilot stage is to set up a computerized database where we can easily cross-check application data against social security and income tax data, to ensure that this program only goes to low-income households. We expect to expand the pilot in each of the FSM States next week—such as Utwe in Kosrae, Uman in Chuuk, and Tomil in Yap—and are working to secure staff in the States so they can assist.”

Citizens who are interested in assisting DOFA for this purpose are encouraged to reach out to the Department by emailing them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“The pilot stage is only testing the forms and application procedures,” Secretary Amor said, “But eligible applicants in pilot municipalities and all other municipalities throughout FSM would start receiving checks at the same time when check disbursement is ready to begin.”

Secretary Amor explained that the first checks for these programs will be cut sometime in the month of April, 2021. He indicated that just because some municipalities are piloting the forms doesn’t mean that they will receive assistance faster than anyone else.

The cash transfer program to approximately 4,500 low-income households is intended to provide temporary cash relief for households outside of the formal labor sector, such as subsistence farmers and fishermen, and specifically such laborers who do not qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program. Approximately six million dollars ($6,000,000) is allocated for this purpose, and is expected to provide a one-time assi stance of $1,000 to each low-income household. Households are encouraged to use this assistance to enhance COVID-19 readiness by buying facemasks, sanitary needs, and other COVID-19 preventive items.

Other programs include the food security program for community groups and low-income households which is intended to provide subsistence livelihood training, and an equitable distribution of seeds, planting, and fishing materials, to vulnerable citizens at no cost.

Approximately two million dollars ($2,000,000) is scheduled for this purpose. The National Department of Resources & Development (R&D) and State R&D Departments are establishing an implementation plan prior to the commencement of the program.

The community-based COVID-19 awareness grant is intended to strengthen awareness of COVID- 19, inclusive of education on handwashing and social distancing, distribution of soaps, masks, and informational materials, and piloting a gender-based violence hotline in Pohnpei State.

Approximately two million dollars ($2,000,000) is scheduled for this purpose. The National Department of Health and State Health Departments are preparing an implementation plan for this initiative.

The assistance program to vulnerable groups such as the elderly, persons with disabilities, and survivors of gender-based violence is intended to provide temporary waivers of medical expenses not included under funding from the Compact of Free Association, as Amended, electricity

subsidies to an estimated 2,000 low-income households with dependents who have disabilities, distribution of solar lamps to an estimated 5,000 households on remote outer islands, and clinical management of rape and intimate partner violence kits and consultation options for survivors of gender-based violence. Approximately one million dollars ($1,000,000) is scheduled for this purpose.

International Organization of Migration

February 24, 2021

SRD Photo starting of the Fun Walk with Participants copyPohnpei—The Sokehs Municipal Government and the International Organization of Migration IOM) sponsored an event for the 2021 Sokehs Rebellion Day.  The event was held on February 24 at the Sokehs Municipal Government.

The 2021 Rebellion Day invited parents, students, youth, women’s groups, and the public to participate in a fun walk, which started at 9 a.m.  Safety information was given to all participants including identifying the water points.  Sohkes Police Officers, one bus, and an ambulance escorted the participants during the walk.

The program of the Sokehs Rebellion Day opened with a prayer followed by two speeches from the Honorable Michael Lieman, Chief Magistrate of Sohkes Municipal Government and Mr. Herman Semes, Jr., representing IOM.  In his speech, Chief Magistrate Lieman stated that the Sokehs Municipal Government has partnered up with IOM and this year’s Rebellion Day event was focused on COVID-19 and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), since Pohnpei declared a state of emergency for both.

Mr. Semes, Jr. added, “We are here to support the Sokehs Municipal Government’s call to rebel against COVID-19 and to practice good hygiene. If we work together and make sure to wash our hands, wear mask, and to practice physical distancing, we will greatly reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 between our friends and family….  the USAID is generously supporting IOM to implement a wide range of COVID-19 preparedness activities in FSM, for example, the COVID-19 Response: Strengthening Preparedness across the North Pacific project.”

The fun walk ended around 11 a.m. Roughly over 200 people attended the fun walk, showing the will and strength of the people to rebel against COVID-19 and NCD.   Students who completed the Fun Walk also received notebooks and pencils donated to the Sokehs Municipal Government by IOM.

By Abigail E. Alosima

February 20, 2021

image012 copyWe are the Pohnpei State FSM Girl Scouts.  By working together, we have learned to help each other accomplish our goals, learn new things about our community, our culture and to be prepared for the future. We work together to develop a plan that is helpful for our community.   Planning a meeting is not just about activities and arrangements (although those are important too), it is about creating a safe place where Girl Scouts can grow, build relationships, take on responsibilities, and thrive.

The Pohnpei State Girl Scouts started on May 23, 2020. On the first day, we were both thrilled and anxious to have the chance to meet new people. After open remarks from His Excellency FSM President David W. Panuelo and U.S. Ambassador Carmen G. Cantor, we received badges and encouragement to improve our community.

Since then, we have been doing many activities including the work of our firefighters, the importance of CPR and safety training, and the importance of local agriculture and plants. We learned about climate change, precautions for the COVID-19, making friends, treating each other equally, and we supported an anti-bullying campaign. We also organized an island clean up and food drive for the drought victims in Kapangamarangi.


Being a Girl Scout means stepping out of your comfort zone to meet the needs of others. We have learned so much about leadership, teamwork, responsibility, respect, and communication. When it comes to calamities in our community, we always lend a helping hand by attending to their needs and more. Attending the Girl Scout allows us to enhance confidence, and to make a difference to the world!

Pohnpei Enginkehlap News 

February 19, 2021

Pohnpei—On February 17, 2021, the Pohnpei State COVID-19 Task Force met and unanimously decided to conduct a re-test on all the MV Chief Mailo crewmembers and one passenger.  The decision to conduct these tests were in response to a letter from President Panuelo to Governor Oliver to disembark one person from the MS Chief Mailo and bring in the vessel to provision and fuel.

                The Task Force’s understanding of the MS Chief Mailo COVID-19 situation was that one POSITIVE case still remained on board.  A joint medical report confirmed the POSITIVE test as a historical case, no other tests were conducted after that.  Task Force Medical Advisor, Dr. Rally Jim, confirmed that while the historical case remains POSITIVE, a risk of infection, however small, still remained. 

                On the morning of February 18, 2021, Dr. Rally Jim presented 11 NEGATIVE test results for COVID-19 for the crew and passenger of the MS Chief Mailo.  With this information, Governor Oliver instructed Pohnpei Port Authority (PPA) to accommodate President Panuelo’s request of provisioning and disembarkation of one person, an FSM National Government Employee, and with the advice of Dr. Jim provide for a 7-day quarantine period with two COVID-19 tests before and after the quarantine period. 

                In a letter to President Panuelo regarding Chief Mailo, Governor Oliver stated the following:

                "The medical team for Pohnpei State Task Force was consulted and its recommendation was to reconsider doing one last test for the crew to be sure because if the person to disembark remains negative, consideration can be given subject to quarantine requirements. It is always good to err on the side of caution. The request was heeded and late yesterday our health staff conducted another test onboard. This morning the results of the lab tests were reported by the medical team. I am very thankful to inform you that what was reported turned out to be much more than what was expected.

                With humility, I want to thank you for your patience, Mr. President. The details on how to handle the needed services for Chief Mailo so it can be provisioned and depart will be coordinated by our medical teams, our transportation, and port authority personnel in accordance with the established procedures."

                The MS Chief Mailo is scheduled to dock and provision at Dekehtik harbor today, disembark the one individual who will be quarantined and then depart.

FSM Information Services

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On February 17th, 2021, the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) sent a diplomatic note to the Republic of Fiji in its capacity as the host for the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIF). The note, which followed a convening of the Micronesian Presidents Summit (MPS), begins a one-year process for the FSM to formally withdraw from the PIF, starting on February 17th, 2021, and concluding on February 14th, 2022. The FSM intends, however, to remain a full member of each individual CROP agency, e.g. the Secretariat to the Pacific Community (SPC), Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), et al. The diplomatic note may be found here:

President Panuelo spoke with the Presidents of the Republic of Nauru, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands regarding the MPS’ withdrawal from the PIF. “I’ve consulted with our Speaker of Congress, [the Honorable Wesley W. Simina], and other Senators. [A decision has been made] for our denunciation of the PIF.” Citizens interested in reviewing the President’s letter to Speaker Simina on this matter may find it here:

President Panuelo and the other Presidents of the MPS spoke at length about their internal processes for PIF withdrawal. While there was discussion on the MPS countries jointly submitting their denunciations at the same time, it was agreed that the members of the MPS will denounce the PIF in a sequence, so as to allow their respective internal processes to properly conclude.

Much of the MPS’ discussion was with regards to how leaving the PIF impacts—or, conversely, doesn’t impact—assistance from foreign donors. One of the MPS Presidents described what amounted to a threat from one external partner that leaving the PIF would mean a loss of funding in a particular category, to which that President noted to the MPS that the exclusive beneficiaries of that funding are countries in the South Pacific (as opposed to the North Pacific). Another MPS President described in detail how multiple countries, who otherwise donate to the PIF, are now seeking closer bilateral relations, and how his Government has assessed that withdrawal from the PIF is advantageous.

President Panuelo, for his part, noted that the FSM National Government’s Working Group for PIF withdrawal has been preparing a similar report, which notes that leaving the PIF has “no serious

impact” for the FSM. President Panuelo noted that, of all the reasons to ensure the Gentleman’s Agreement was upheld, allowing the PIF to have a larger impact in the North Pacific was one of them.

Partway through the meeting, the Honorable Kausea Natano—Prime Minister of the Republic of Tuvalu and Chair of the PIF—joined the MPS meeting to describe the PIF’s thoughts on the Micronesian countries’ withdrawal. Chairman Natano noted that the PIF is reviewing the selection process for the appointment of a Secretary General, and invited the MPS countries to play an active role in those discussions.

President Panuelo and the other Presidents of the MPS described that, while they appreciated the Chair’s diplomacy, and agreed that reform in the PIF is necessary, that—because countries who were familiar with the Gentleman’s Agreement openly and boldly claimed it doesn’t exist—trust in the structure of the PIF’s dynamics was fractured.

“It would take a very monumental reform of the [PIF], in my humble opinion, for us to be able to come back to the table to discuss future options,” President Panuelo said to Chairman Natano. “As sovereign nations, we will continue to work with you closely on issues like Climate Change and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing…. But, as I was telling my fellow Presidents moments ago, I have [made the decision] for our denunciation to be sent, and it will be sent later today.”

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

February 25, 2021

IMG 0183Madolenihmw, Pohnpei—This morning, the Madolenihmw Municipal Government celebrated the arrival and presentation of a new garbage truck provided by the government of Japan. The garbage truck, which cost $89,647 including freight, training and wharfage, was provided under Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects by the Government of Japan.

“We understand that the Madolenihmw Municipal Government plans to mobilize the Garbage Truck delivered, periodically to collect wastes from each area of the Municipality every month, and the Truck will reduce sizes of the wastes so that it will be able to collect 22 times larger amount of the wastes compared to the current capacity of waste collection,” Japan’s Ambassador Sobashima Hidenobu said during his speech at the event. “This will be in conformity with the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision that aims to reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050 through a comprehensive life-cycle approach announced in the G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration in June 2019.”

Meninkeder Lapalap Madolenihmw John Rensle and Senator Shelten G. Neth gave opening remarks during the ceremony after which group photographs were taken.

Antony J. Blinken,

Secretary of State 

February 23, 2021

Around the world, corruption threatens security and stability, hinders economic growth, undermines democracy and human rights, destroys trust in public institutions, facilitates transnational crime, and siphons away public and private resources.  The Biden Administration recognizes that we will only be successful in combating these issues by working in concert with committed partners, including courageous individuals who champion anticorruption efforts and countries working to fulfill their commitments to international anticorruption standards.  For that reason, I am announcing a new International Anticorruption Champions Award, recognizing individuals who have worked tirelessly, often in the face of adversity, to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries.

                As President Biden has emphasized, our commitment to truth, transparency, and accountability is a mission that we must live at home and exemplify abroad.  I commend the dedication of these 12 brave individuals to these same ideals.  The honorees are:  Ardian Dvorani of Albania, Diana Salazar of Ecuador, Sophia Pretrick of the Federated States of Micronesia, Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro of Guatemala, Ibrahima Kalil Gueye of Guinea, Anjali Bhardwaj of India, Dhuha A. Mohammed of Iraq, Bolot Temirov of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla of Libya, Victor Sotto of The Philippines, Francis Ben Kaifala of Sierra Leone, and Ruslan Ryaboshapka of Ukraine.  They inspire us and so many of their counterparts pursuing these ideals around the world. The United States enforces one of the most robust anticorruption frameworks in the world.  We were the first to criminalize foreign bribery and, in partnership with foreign counterparts, have recovered and returned more than $1 billion in stolen public assets in the past two years alone.  We use a range of tools to promote accountability for corrupt individuals, combat impunity globally, and engage in multilateral fora to fight corruption and strengthen citizen engagement.  We will defeat corruption by implementing sound reforms consistent with international anticorruption commitments; developing transparent, accountable institutions; and empowering citizens, journalists, and civil society organizations to help defeat this global threat to security and democracy.

FSM Supreme Court

The world pandemic in 2020 proved especially challenging for the FSM Supreme Court.   Historically, July 12th of each year is a day when the FSM honors Law Day, which is when high school teams from around the FSM meet in one of the four FSM states and engage in debates of legal significance.  In 2020, the National Law Day debate was:

Be it resolved that the Federated States of Micronesia file a claim with the International Court of Justice against the more developed nations, who are host to large multi-national corporations, which have contributed heavily to global warming and climate change, seeking redress and relief including monetary damages.

On July 12, 2020, however, no one in the FSM was allowed to travel.  Thus, it appeared that the 2020 National Law Day debates might not happen.  This would have broken a nearly 25 year history of holding the National Law Day debates.  The FSM Supreme Court, however, forged ahead and held the 2020 National Law Day debates using virtual-meeting technology on September 1, 2020. 

Over the years the FSM Supreme Court has invested in technology improvements at each of its facilities in Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap.  The issues that the FSM faced with the corona virus pandemic in 2020 proved that these strategic advances in upgrading the Court’s physical facilities and internet technology paid off.   Indeed, the Court held virtual law day debates on September 1, 2020.  Teams from Chuuk, Pohnpei and Yap participated in the debates from the FSM Court facility in each of these respective staters.   Each of the students participating in the debates received a $2,000 scholarship and a laptop computer for their roles in this significant national event.  

For the 2020 Law Day debates, Yap Catholic High School placed first, followed by Pohnpei’s Seventh Day Adventist High School in second place, Pohnpei’ Calvary Christian Academy n third place and Xavier High School in fourth place. 

For 2021, the FSM Supreme Court is preparing to host the National Law Day debates in Chuuk on July 12, 2021.  The debates will either be in person, with all the participating high school teams traveling to Chuuk to debate, or virtually, with each high school team remaining in its home state and appearing via video conference from the Supreme Court’s facility in that team’s state.  The investments that have been made over time to the Court’s infrastructure now provide the Court with flexibility to adapt to the pandemic-related travel restrictions that are established by the executive and legislative branches of government. In fact, the Court has begun using this virtual technology to host video conferences in connection with the adjudication of cases, including both civil and criminal trial court cases, as well as appellate court matters.     

In the end, even the world pandemic did not stop the Court from continuing to honor its long history of celebrating National Law Day.  Indeed, the 2021 National Law Day topic is: 

Be it resolved that with regard to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the FSM Congress shall enact legislation requiring all citizens and residents of the FSM to undergo testing, get vaccinated and/or wear a mask in public, and for every person entering the FSM to complete quarantine upon entry.

Regardless of the status of the world pandemic, the Court is prepared to host debate teams from all across the FSM on July 12, 2021.  Congratulations to the 2020 debate teams, and for 2021, may the best team win!   

Micronesia Conservation Trust

February 23, 2021

Pohnpei—Island Pride Micronesia, Saint Barnabas Youth Inc. of Pohnpei and Sapuk Resource Management Council of Wone Chuuk have each received grants of $5,000 to support their community empowerment work. Over the years, the GGF has provided approximately 100 of these community enpowerment grants to numerous civil society organizations (CSO) in Palau, FSM, Marshall Islands, Guam, CNMI and Kiribati. Twice a year, William Kostka, Micronesia representative on the GGF Pacific Islands Advisory Board, works with interested communities to design their projects and to apply for these grants. These GGF grants are intended to provide seed funding to kickstart community-based projects/programs that are meant to be sustained by the participating communities.

 The Island Pride Micronesia project is focused on increasing community awareness on climate change impacts by working with women and youth organizations to develop local early action plans/activities to be implemented by participating groups. The Saint Barnabas Youth Inc. aims to improve community understanding of and resilience to the impacts of climate change and global warming through revitalizing degraded lands by planting native fruit trees. The Sapuk Resource Management Council will develop an enforcement plan, with standard operating procedures (SOPs) to deal with poaching activities within their marine protected area (MPA). This will include training on MPA compliance and enforcement, as well as the provision of necessary enforcement equipment to their volunteer community conservation officers. Iakop Ioanis, the President of the Saint Barnabas Youth, Inc. of Pohnpei said, “this GGF grant will allow our families and partners to both increase our food security as well as build our resilience to the impacts of climate change and global warming. We are grateful to the GGF Pacific Advisory Board for selecting our proposal and will do our best to implement our project/program”. 

The deadline for the next round of GGF grants is March 15, 2021. For all interested entities, please contact William Kostka at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 691-320-5670/8903. 

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

February 9, 2021

boarding party shot 3Pohnpei—On Saturday, February 6, dozens of FSM National Police officers occupied the parking lot of the Mangrove Bay Bar and Grill.  When we asked FSM Chief of Staff Leo Falcam what was happening, he said that they were just conducting a little exercise.

On Monday, February 8, the Pohnpei State government issued a press release explaining their version of the events on February 6.  The release said that the Pohnpei State Department of Public Safety (DPS) Chief Mailo security team witnessed one FSM National Police vessel as it approached the Chief Mailo, which has been quarantined at anchorage since arriving in Pohnpei. The release said that DPS knew that the purpose for the contact was to vaccinate the crew and passengers.

The release said that DPS and Pohnpei Health Department staff members noticed that not a single person on the boarding party was wearing personal protective equipment and “very few even had masks on. They later retracted that statement saying that the boarding party did wear masks and gloves but that no one wore the full body personal protective equipment as they should have been wearing.

“The FSM Health Staff did not follow the established protocols by checking in at the Emergency Operations Center at the Department of Public Safety or Pohnpei Port Authority, instead launching from Mangrove Bay,” the release said.

It also said that Dr. Rally Jim, Pohnpei Task Force Medical Advisor and Public Health Chief along with the Chair of the State COVID-19 recommended a seven-day quarantine period for the police officers and medical personnel who were involved in the boarding of the MS Chief Mailo. Dr. Jim advised the task forces that although the positive case aboard the Chief Mailo has been classified as a “historical case”, minimal risk is still present until a negative test result can be confirmed.

At the time of the Press Release, only three members of the boarding party were in quarantine in Dekehtik. It asked for the six National Police Officers to present themselves for quarantine.

Pohnpei State issued an update on the situation at the end of the day saying that the six officers had voluntarily arrived at the quarantine facility in Dekehtik where they would spend the next seven days. The update also said that all members of Saturday’s boarding party tested negative for the virus on arrival back at Mangrove Bay. It said that they would be tested again at the end of the quarantine period before being released back to the community.

On February 9, Wincener David, Pohnpei’s Chair of the COVID-19 Task Force wrote a letter to Livingston Taulung, Chair of FSM’s COVID-19 Task Force and Carlson Apis, FSM Secretary of Transportation, Communication, and Infrastructure, essentially demanding that the MV Chief Mailo be on its way to its home port in Chuuk.  The letter included an attachment of a memo reporting a hearsay phone conversation between Dr. Rally Jim and a Chuuk official that occurred at about 3:00 PM on January 6 during which the official is reported to have said that the leadership of Chuuk is ready to receive the MS Chief Mailo. Dr. Jim reported the official as having said that Chuuk could handle both vaccinations for the crew and passengers of the MS Chief Mailo on its arrival. 

“It is obvious that ever since its arrival in Pohnpei about a month ago, despite dubious reasons that brought her to Pohnpei from a COVID-19 infected area, Pohnpei State Government had to risk its staff for humanitarian reasons to assume the responsibility to help and assist including provisioning and quarantining services required under the existing health emergency decrees and protocols imposed by the State and National Governments,” Pohnpei’s COVID-19 Task Force chair wrote.  “That was the right thing to do to ensure our resident population was protected from potential exposure and harm of COVID-19 virus. Pohnpei State Government through its Task Force did its honest best to serve, assist and help the crew throughout the period and now they are ready to go home.”

“…Unfortunately, what FSM did on Saturday 02/06/21, disrespected peoples peace, sense of security and trust in how we should be handling this delicate situation. In fact, FSM breached

our own established protocols in handling this kind of process by unilaterally did what they did and disregarded the safety of the staffs involved, their families and their community members and the safety of the population at large. That was a direct violation of the decrees of both the FSM and State Emergency Orders.”

In the most strongly worded paragraph of the letter, David wrote, “Why is it still here is a cause of concern. It is not in the best interest of our cooperative purpose. Our cooperative working relationship here in Pohnpei to prevent and contain COVID-19 is a call for both the nation and the state to heed and it will continue to be for many months, if not years, to come. Cooperation, transparency and honesty are imperatives under the circumstances without which our People will be victims. The Task Force on behalf of People of Pohnpei State, implores you to take the necessary step(s) to have MV Chief Mailo depart Pohnpei as soon as possible. In fact, its owners/ stewards are waiting for it.”

Micronesia Conservation Trust

February 12, 2021

Yamase NicoleFSM--Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science!

In recognition of the accomplishments of women in science in Micronesia, we are excited to announce that Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge (BRMC) Scholar Ms. Nicole Yamase of Pohnpei, FSM will be joining an expedition to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. At 35,814 feet below sea level, it’s known to be the deepest place on earth.

Ms. Yamase is currently completing her PhD in Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii Manoa Campus focusing on the ecophysiological responses of native and invasive algae under predicted climate change conditions. She is hoping to graduate this year.

The expedition is led by Mr. Victor Vescovo, World Record holder for having led the Five Deeps Expedition making him the first person to visit the bottom of the five oceans of the world. Once this journey is complete, Ms Yamase will become both the youngest person and only the third woman to ever journey to the Challenger Deep and will set a world record.

Is she scared? Not at all! In fact, she is more than thrilled. “Never in my lifetime did I think I would ever have the opportunity to visit the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. I am so humbled to represent the FSM and women in STEM. This accomplishment is definitely not mine alone to claim but the whole Micronesia region. Kalahngan lap to Victor Vescovo, his crew, and the Micronesia Conservation Trust for making this possible.”

More on this to come!

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

February 13, 2021

IMG 1726Pohnpei—On January 22, the Board of Directors of Pohnpei’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued orders that dredge sites in the historic Ipwal mangrove forest and in Ohwa must be shut down and the dikes built to service the dredge sites removed.

In November, the EPA ordered Joseph Ferdinand, who had hired contractors to perform the dredging operation, to open up the dike to allow water to flow into the west of the mangrove.  Today, Francisco Celestine of EPA said that the contractor did open up the dike to allow waterflow and that the natural mixture of fresh and salt water has eased the pressure on mangrove which was dying but he said the entire dike needs to be removed.

For now, there is no activity at the Ipwal dredge site.  Celestine said that the EPA met with the contractors for that site who asked the EPA to give them two months to present a plan for removing the dike. The contractors asked for more time because of other contracts they were working on that deadlines during that time period.  Because the drainage ways were opened in the dike and because there is not continuing dredging at the site, the EPA agreed to plan but Celestine says the timeline for establishing a removal plan will be strictly enforced.

The EPA board action on January 22 also ordered the complete closure of the Ohwa dredge site. Mr. Etse Zorro John holds the previously issued permit for that site.

Celestine said that previously the EPA had issued an order to stop activities at that dredge site but that the contractor refused to sign the letter and continued their activities.  He said that activities have now stopped at that dredge site and that the Pohnpei Department of Public Safety is to enforce the EPA board order.

Celestine said that the EPA has begun a concerted campaign to ensure full compliance on all of Pohnpei’s many dredge sites. He said that he expects that EPA will be forced to issue more orders for other dredge sites in the near future.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

February 13, 2021

FSM—An audit of the FSM National Postal Service covering fiscal years 2017 through 2019 released to FSM President David Panuelo on February 11, 2021 listed several weaknesses in management and internal controls that if corrected would “greatly assist the FSM National Postal Service (to) improve its service delivery.  While identifying some weaknesses, auditors also commended the Postmaster General for taking fast steps to deal with some of the items contained in the audit even before the audit was published.

The Office of the National Public Auditor held up the interaction with the National Postal Service (NPS) as a practice that needs to be emulated by other public institutions in response to audits. “In most cases, government departments, agencies and entities have negative perspectives whenever it comes to being audited, but this was not the case with the management of the NPS.  Through our various meetings with the Acting Postmaster General, we observed a true desire for improvements. The management was positive in their facilitation and stated that they looked forward to more audits and recommendations for improvement in the future,” the audit said.

The Postmaster General, in her response to the audit, in addition to immediately setting up some mechanisms to deal with two of the audit findings, committed to specific dates for dealing with each of the audit exceptions.  She also pointed out that NPS has already been dealing with other matters through the establishment of a Financial Management System but that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, training ability has been limited within the last year.

In 2019, the FSM Congress amended the Financial Management Regulation (FMR) Act to require departments and agencies of the National Government to report their performance accomplishments and shortcomings to Congress and to the President within 30 days of the end of each quarter. Auditors concluded that the NPS was not aware of the change and so they established no internal mechanisms to enable effective reporting of performance. Auditors pointed out that the establishing Act that set up the NPS did not require reporting of activities to the executive and legislative branches other than to provide an accounting of funds in excess of $20,000 that remained in the revolving fund at the end of a fiscal year. Any amount in excess of $20,000 that were in that fund at the end of the year were deposited directly into the FSM general fund.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

February 14, 2021

FSM—On February 3, 2021, leaders of Pacific Islands Forum nations selected former Cook Islands Prime Minister Nick Puna to be the new Secretary General of the regional organization, succeeding Dame Meg Taylor of Papua New Guinea. Last year, saying that it is Micronesia’s turn to lead the Forum, Micronesian leaders nominated RMI Ambassador to the US Gerald Zackios for the position of Secretary General.

On February 8, the Presidents of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Nauru, and the Republic of Kiribati virtually convened the Micronesian Presidents’ Summit (MPS) to discuss the next course of action.  The result of that meeting was a communique signed by all five Presidents announcing their intention to withdraw from the Pacific Islands Forum.

“President Panuelo and the other Presidents of the MPS expressed great disappointment with the appointment process for the position of Secretary General within the Pacific Islands Forum. President Panuelo expressed frustration at how several Pacific Leaders suggested the Gentlemen’s Agreement (to rotate leadership amongst the regions) doesn’t exist or that they’ve never heard of it,” the FSM’s press release on the decision said.

“President Panuelo and the other Presidents of the MPS expressed unity and solidarity within the Micronesian subregion, and reaffirmed that the subregion’s mutual position is that, per the October 2nd, 2020 Mekreos Communique of the MPS, as the Gentlemen’s Agreement was not honored, Micronesian countries see no benefit to remaining in the Pacific Island Forum,” the FSM press release said.

Some analysts have said that the fact that South Pacific members of the Forum seem to have been surprised by the Micronesian leaders’ resolve to withdraw from the organization only serves to illustrate the sort of marginalization that leaders of North Pacific countries have long expressed.

“The Micronesian Presidents jointly agreed that all five nations will initiate the formal process of withdrawing from the Pacific Islands Forum, as set out in Article XIl of the Agreement Establishing the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. Each nation will undertake this process with respect to its own internal legal and procedural requirements and final decision rests with respective governments,” the Micronesia Presidents’ February 2021 Communique said.

There has been much speculation on what FSM’s “legal and procedural requirements” are.  The nation’s chief legal officer, FSM Secretary for the Department of Justice Joses Gallen said that his office had not yet been formally requested to issue a legal opinion on FSM’s requirements for leaving the Forum. He said that his initial legal advice to the President is that Congress doesn’t need to approve FSM withdrawal from PIF. He said that Congress can only ratify treaties such as the treaty that established the PIF and that the process for withdrawal is defined in the Treaty that Congress ratified. He opined that the act of withdrawal by the President is well within his authority to conduct foreign affairs.

At press time, President Panuelo had not yet signed a letter intended for FSM Congress Speaker Wesley Simina outlining his intentions and next steps. According to the FSM Public Information Officer, that has been in draft form for several days but is not yet ready for release to the Speaker and therefore not yet to the public. We are told that letter would have gone a long way toward explaining the processes but could not yet be released.

The agreement that ratified FSM’s involvement in the Pacific Island Forum requires a year before it will be official on paper. However, that does not mean that Micronesian countries must wait that long before carrying out their intentions of withdrawing. In practice it can be done much sooner than that.

President Panuelo has told several regional news entities that the FSM’s intention and resolve is clear. It intends to withdraw from the Pacific Island Forum. He has said that FSM’s presence in the international arena has already been well established and the decision to leave the Forum should not affect FSM’s influence on major issues of the region.

Several regional news organizations and others have opined that the decision of the Micronesian region to leave the Forum would somehow give China a greater foothold in the Pacific region.  During an interview on Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Pacific Beat program last week, FSM President David Panuelo said that on the contrary, China urged the FSM to reconsider its position on leaving the Forum.

By FSM Congress PIO

February 1, 2021

PALIKIR, POHNPEI– After 24 years of salary freeze for the employees of the national government, the Congress finally passed a legislation to affect change in the Federated States of Micronesia’s National Government Public Service System (PSS) through Congressional Act 21-241.

Through CA 21-214, the 21st Congress passed a one-time increase in the annual salary for all full-time employees of the FSM national government under the PSS who have successfully completed their initial probationary period. The salary increase applies as follows:

  • • 15% - Employees classified between pay level 1 and pay level 14;
  • • 10% - Employees classified between pay level 15 and pay level 28; and
  • • 5% - Employees classified at pay level 29 and above.

According to the Bill, the salary law will take effect in the new fiscal year, October 1, 2021. The one-time salary increase does not apply to exempt or contract employees of the FSM national government.

Since the national government salary freeze and the early retirement program went into effect in April of 1997, various attempts have been made by the Congress to balance wages against the steadily increasing cost of living in the Nation.  In 2008, through Public Law No. 15-41, the national government employees under the Public Service System were provided a one-time increase in base salary. Other attempts for an increase were made in the subsequent Congress bodies but the measures always lacked the needed votes for passage.

During the 18th Congress in 2015, the Congress passed a cost-of-living allowance (COLA) of $40 per 80 hours for all employees of the FSM national government as signed into law as PL No. 18-114.  Understanding the significance of government wages in the Nation’s economy, the Congress continued its salary discussions in the subsequent years with the relevant departments and offices, with continued proposed legislations to address the salary issues.

24 years after the ’97 salary freeze, on January 20, 2021, the Congress finally agreed on legislation to address the increase of wages for employees under the Public Service System and at the same time lessen the pay disparity between the lowest wage earners and the top of the pay scale and passed Congressional Act 21-241.

By Pohnpei Public Library 

February 12, 2021

IMG 9913Pohnpei—The Pohnpei Public Library is starting the new year off with great gusto.

There is a lot that has been happening at your library, and we are proud to let everyone know.

The inside has been upgraded, especially in the children’s section.  New shelving was donated by the U.S. Embassy, and then with staff and volunteers, the entire children’s library section was repainted.  The hard work paid off and many thanks to all of the people who helped and made the improvements possible, including the U.S. Embassy and the Pohnpei Rotary Club.

We also want to thank the Pohnpei Fishing Club, who allow us to raise money at their fishing tournaments.  Things were a bit slow due to the pandemic, but we still raised some money for new books and our video projects.

With the help of the Pohnpei Catholic School, Ardy George, and Jenna Panuelo, we are still conducting reading sessions of children’s books and posting them on our web site and You Tube.  Go check it out.

We also want to thank Bill Jaynes, a wonderful photographer who donated his art to grace the children’s section of the library.

With all of these improvements, we do want to show off so please come to the library.

We are also seeking to cut costs and go green by installing solar energy panels to assist with the library.

There are many people to thank and who have supported us. Again, these contributions are very much appreciated.

By Pohnpei Enginkehlap

February 10, 2021

Pohnpei--On January 29, 20201, the Kapingamarangi Municipal Government declared a State of Emergency due to the continuing effects of drought.  The Kapingamarangi Task Force, previously activated to respond to drought conditions late last year has been reactivated by the Governor of Pohnpei State.     

In reviewing recent relief efforts and existing conditions on Kapingamarangi Atoll, the Task Force has confirmed an urgent need for food to be delivered to the people of Kapingamarangi.  Water tanks delivered during recent relief efforts, donated by Micronesia Conservation Trust, International Organization for Migration - Micronesia, and the Embassy of Japan, are providing enough fresh water for the 200 plus population for an extended period of time. 

Kapingamarangi Atoll’s drought conditions have been downgraded from D4 - Exceptional Drought to D3 - Extreme Drought.  The immediate and long-term effects of local crop production are severely affected. 

The next trip to Kapingamarangi to provide food and supplies is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, February 18, 2021.  The Office of the Governor, Kapingamarangi Municipal Government, and Kapingamarangi Task Force kindly invite donations of food (rice, ramen, canned meats, etc) from the general public to assist the people of Kapingamarangi.  Please contact the Office of the Governor at 320-2235 for details.

FSM Information Services

22113PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On February 9th, 2021, His Excellency David W. Panuelo—President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)—received a genuinely heartwarming phone-call from Melson Dillipy, the boy from Chuuk State’s remote island of Polowat, who confirmed he has been reunited with his family.

Melson—who has, with his family, given permission for his name and this information be shared— was in a fishing boat with members of his immediate family when the boat was lost in early March 2020. A search and rescue operation was implemented, inclusive of assistance from FSM patrol boats and the United States Coast Guard, but the boat wasn’t found.

Citizens of the FSM from Chuuk State recognized Melson when his photo was taken and shown on a Filipino news broadcast. These citizens informed the FSM National Government of the development, who quickly moved to ensure that Melson would be assisted by the Nation’s Honorary Consul in the Republic of the Philippines.

After several months in the care of the FSM’s friends in the Philippines, Melson joined the crew (as a passenger) of the MV Chief Mailo—a National Government vessel that predominantly serves the remote islands of Chuuk State—which was otherwise undergoing drydock repairs at the time. In September, 2020, the MV Chief Mailo went to General Santos City in the Philippines where, after several COVID-19 tests and several months of waiting, the vessel eventually received clearance to enter the FSM.

On February 6th, 2021, the crew of the MV Chief Mailo received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That same day, an FSM patrol boat retrieved Melson to take him home to Chuuk State.

After a brief and warm reception in Weno, Melson successfully and safely made it home to Polowat the morning of February 9th, 2021.

“Something that must be said,” President Panuelo said in a statement, “Is that we must all—Yapese, Chuukese, Pohnpeians, and Kosraeans—give a loving applause to Melson, his family, our friends in the Philippines, our crew on the Chief Mailo, and our first responders across the FSM for their efforts to safely bring this young man home. In what has been a difficult period for us all, it has no

doubt been in many ways unimaginable for us to put ourselves in Melson’s shoes. He has demonstrated our Nation’s best values of resiliency, endurance, and a positive attitude in the face of enormous challenges, and the Nation welcomes him back home to the FSM. I want to thank Chuuk State, including the Honorable Johnson Elimo and the Chuuk State COVID-19 Task Force, for being Micronesians first and for opening their hearts in welcoming Melson back home. I also want to thank the Honorable Robson Romolow for coordinating the call between Melson and I this morning. Welcome home, Melson!”

By Joyce McClure

Pacific Island Times

February 7, 2021

Yap--Colonia, Yap — Anthony Rutun Teteth, one of the two defendants in the Rachelle Bergeron murder, was neither read his Miranda rights nor asked to sign a waiver-of-rights form during his arrest that was followed by a three-day interrogation, according to his attorney.

Defense Attorney Marstella Jack of Pohnpei is asking the FSM Supreme Court to suppress Teteth’s confession during his interrogation at the FSM National Police Station on Oct. 25, 2019.

Teteth has been charged along with Francis Choay Buchun with violating the FSM Weapons Control Act in connection with their alleged possession of a 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition that was used in the killing of Yap’s former acting attorney general on Oct. 14, 2019.

FSM Supreme Court Judge Larry Wentworth presided over four pre-trial hearings held via Zoom between Dec. 17, 2020 and Feb. 2, 2021.

Witnesses called to the stand included Captain Kasner Aldens, Investigator Raynard Jonah and Officer Charles Otoko of the FSM National Police. Those present during the arrest testified that Teteth was read his rights.

Teteth denied any knowledge of the murder and any involvement in it during his arrest and during a four-hour interrogation at the FSM National Police Station.

During a subsequent cross examination, the prosecution asked Teteth how he could not have known about the murder that happened on a small island where news travels quickly. The incident took place 10 days prior to his arrest.

When questioned if Teteth was given a waiver to sign, Aldens replied "no."

Jack then accused the captain of being "very excited" about working with the FBI to the extent that he forgot the waiver.

The witness denied being "excited,” expressed his respect for the FBI and re-stated that the rights read to Teteth during his arrest were very clear.

A secret audio recording of a conversation between Buchun and Teteth was revealed to the suspect during the first night of interrogation. Recorded by Buchun, the two men were talking about a shotgun and its location and the lawsuit.

February 15, 2021

Republic of the Marshall Islands, RMI- Women United Together in Marshall Island’s (WUTMI) is officially launching its new support service for women in Ebeye today. 

WUTMI WIM Ebeye launchThe support service is called Weto In Mour (A Place of Life): Violence Against Women and Girls Support Service. It is based in Majuro and now also operates in Ebeye.

“The women and children survivors of domestic and family violence in remote and island locations need support, and so it is critical that we expand our original Weto in Mour service in Majuro, out to islands such as Ebeye,” said WUTMI’s Executive Director, Daisy Alik-Momotaro.

“We’ve received incredible support from iroj laplap (Chief) Michael Kabua, the Kwajalein Local Government, lerooj Anta James John and the Rukjenleen Club advisors help us develop this centre and make this launch day possible,.”

The Weto In Mour centre in Ebeye will provide support to survivors of violence along with education and awareness to help prevent gender-based violence.

Funding for the Ebeye centre is from the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, via UN Women, complementing support from Australia through Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) that funded the Majuro Weto In Mour – the first ever service for domestic violence survivors in RMI. Pacific Women also provide technical support for all WIM staff.

“Today sets a milestone in the RMI in our fight against sexual violence and harassment against our young adolescents and women of all ages,” Ms Alik-Momotaro said.

“Surveys have shown that an alarming one in three Marshallese women have experienced some form of abuse in their lifetime. RMI’s rates of violence against women and children are staggering and unacceptable for a nation whose culture is built on peace, care and love for family and clan; a traditional structure that has existed for centuries. The Republic of the Marshall Islands is a matrilineal society where land inheriting is passed through the lineage of women. 

WUTMI established RMI’s first counselling service called Weto in Mour in 2016, with the support of Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women). Weto in Mour continues to increase awareness about violence against women and to improve the referral network and services provided for its survivors.

“WUTMI is committed to ensure that perpetrators, child molesters, pedophiles and human traffickers are punished to the highest extent of the law,” Ms Alik-Momotaro said.

“Safe havens must be established in our hospitals, police stations, courthouse to protect survivors once a case is reported.”

For more information:

Women United Together in Marshall Island’s (WUTMI), Executive Director, Daisy Alik-Momotaro

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

FSM Information Services

January 31, 2021

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—

Per Congressional Resolution (C.R.) 21-245, the Declaration of Public Health Emergency originally implemented by His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) on January 31st, 2020, has been extended to March 31st, 2021. Citizens interested in reading C.R. 21-245 may find it here:


For the great bulk of citizens, residents, and stakeholders, including those residing in the FSM and those stranded abroad, C.R. 21-245 offers no change from the status quo of the past several months and is thematically similar to the previously enacted C.R. 21-228, C.R. 21-185, and C.R. 21-175. Economic provisions, such as cargo shipping and at-sea transshipment of fish, remain in place and unaltered. Travel into the FSM remains restricted; outbound travel from the FSM to the United States and other jurisdictions remains open, with the caveat that as of January 26th, 2021, the United States is requiring any individual traveling into its borders (including FSM citizens) to obtain a negative COVID-19 test no more than seventy-two (72) hours prior to departure.

Of the few amendments made to the Declaration of Public Health Emergency via C.R. 21-245, they include that, in the event a case of COVID-19 arrives into the Nation, the FSM COVID-19 Task Force may choose to temporarily halt interstate travel; and that, in the event of a medical emergency, such as an individual on a fishing boat needing immediate medical attention, the FSM COVID-19 Task Force, in consultation with the relevant State Task Force, may allow that individual to disembark into the FSM for this limited purpose.

It is the intent of the FSM National Government to achieve a 70% vaccination rate amongst its eligible population (i.e. adults aged 18 years and up) prior to the resumption of repatriation activities. Per C.R. 21-245, stranded medical patients are given the first priority for return into the Nation.

As of February 1st, 2021, approximately 5,048 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given across the Nation. Approximately ten (10) second doses of the vaccine have been given. 1,072 doses have been administered in Yap State; 1,783 doses have been administered in Chuuk State; 1,675 doses have been administered in Pohnpei State; and 528 doses have been administered in Kosrae State.

As of February 1st, 2021, the FSM remains COVID-19 free. There are no cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Queries regarding the Executive Branch’s execution of C.R. 21-245 can be relayed to the Manager for Environmental Health & Preparedness, Mr. Moses Pretrick, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at +691-320-8300. Queries may also be relayed to the Public Information Officer/Press Secretary, Mr. Richard Clark, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +691-320-2548. Citizens may also send a direct message to the Office of the President’s Division of Public Information on Facebook at

We are Oceania to provide support to families most disproportionately impacted

U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA)


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) is announcing the award of $1,033,100 in CARES Act grant funding to help Pacific Islander communities in Hawaii that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be administered by We are Oceania, a non-profit organization with culture and language expertise and liaises between Hawai’i state agencies and families from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic Palau.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially challenging for certain Pacific Islander communities in Hawai’i and these funds will provide much needed support,” said OIA Director and Acting Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Nikolao Pula. “We are pleased to be able to leverage the expertise and experience of We are Oceania to combat and fight the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately affected Pacific Islanders.”

The Honolulu Civil Beat reported last November that Pacific Islanders in Hawai’i are more than twice as likely to die from or be hospitalized by the coronavirus than other racial and ethnic groups, after adjusting for age and gender, according to data from the Hawai’i State Health Department. The report indicated that Chuukese, Marshallese, and Samoans are among the most impacted.

The funding will be used to support We Are Oceania's ongoing COVID-19 response in Hawai’i to migrants and families from the freely associated states, resident in Hawai’i, who are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will help train and provide specialists fluent in target Pacific Islander languages to answer and respond to queries about the pandemic, manage food drive efforts, deliver PPE, and provide cleaning supplies.

Prior to the onset of COVID-19, language and cultural barriers were observed to be the cause of most gaps in services for Micronesian populations in Hawai’i. These barriers were amplified during COVID-19, as families with limited-English were unable to appropriately self-isolate or access testing and other services, thereby contributing to the disproportionate number of Micronesian populations among the Pacific Islanders most impacted by COVID-19. Since the pandemic struck early last year, We are Oceania has also experienced an increase in the number of calls and emails from other service providers on Hawai’i seeking cultural and language expertise in order to work effectively with Micronesian populations.

For more information on grant assistance provided through OIA, please visit:

The Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, @InsularAffairs, and the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) carry out the Secretary of the Interior’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, OIA administers and oversees federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. Follow and “like” OIA on Facebook and subscribe to the OIA YouTube Channel.

By Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner

PIF, Suva, Fiji- 

The Pacific’s leadership on sustainable management of the world’s biggest ocean continues with a suite of Ocean reports launched in Suva this week.

The collection centerpiece is the Blue Pacific Ocean Report 2021 by the Pacific Ocean Commissioner. Seven other reports focusing on ocean finance are also now available online at the OPOC website.

Attending today’s virtual launch Forum Economic Ministerial Chair, Tuvalu’s Minister for Finance, Economic, Planning and Industry, Hon. Seve Paeniu said ocean finance is a means of implementing the overall ocean policies and commitments and aspirations of our Blue Pacific Continent.

“Ocean finance is new but should be a significant part of the public finance machinery like climate finance, disaster finance and more,” he said.

Minister Paeniu emphasized the entire Blue Pacific Ocean is worth hundreds of billions, with the Melanesia ocean alone worth USD548million.

“With that in mind and further encouraged by these Ocean Finance reports. It should be a serious premise to explore new and innovative financing streams from our Blue Pacific Ocean endowment fund, said Mr Paeniu.

“And start to mobilize and deploy sustainable investments and policies today. That will ensure maximum benefits from our ocean resources, resilience, meet the full cost of our future development and establish more autonomy over the global economies.”

The Ocean Finance Reports cover areas such as taxes and subsidies and their alignment to ocean health objectives, finance models for marine protected areas, innovative insurance mechanisms for protecting ocean assets, ocean bond structures and accessibility, financing models for different types of community managed marine areas – are innovative and thought-provoking.

Dame Meg Taylor, in her launch remarks said the borderless nature of the world’s oceans, demanded the willingness of all nations of the world to work together to protect the biodiversity and ecosystems upon which life on land also depends.

“The Pacific  Ocean in its totality 

deserves a focused attention and as the potential, with a reinvigorated development paradigm, to secure our future as one Blue Pacific Continent.”

The Blue Pacific Ocean Report 2021 provides, among other things, the following:

A holistic overview across the different ocean sectors within our Pacific region.

Captures a stock-stake on the progress of ocean policy implementation.

Highlights our progress as a region; and

Proposes forward-looking strategies to improve ocean governance and sustainable use of our ocean resources.

The Blue Pacific Ocean Report highlights defining challenges and potential prospects for our Blue Pacific Ocean, which require our collective resolve. Impacts of sea level rise on our maritime boundaries, climate change, marine pollution, land-based externalities, geopolitics, and other key challenges.

Other launch guests included regional organizations and OPOC partners including Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency Director General, Dr Manu Tupou Roosen and World Bank Resident Representative to the South Pacific, Mr Lassee Melgaard.

“Through our work we empower member countries in all aspects of sustainable fisheries management. Our collaboration with regional partners is holistic and crucial to all of our efforts on ocean health and sustainability,” said Dr Manu Tupou Roosen.

“We are very excited to see the tangible results of this partnership with FFA, PIFS and OPOC come to fruition in the delivery of this innovative set of tools being launched today,” said Mr Melgaard.

”The World Bank remains committed to continuing these regional partnerships in supporting Pacific Island Countries protect its oceans, generate sustainable economic development opportunities and strengthen community resilience across the region, for the future that Pacific children deserve to inherit,” he said.

The reports can be accessed on:

Blue Pacific Ocean Report-

Ocean Finance Reports-

Authors: Dr Livinson A. Taulung (FSM Secretary of Health); Dr Eunyoung Ko (WHO Country Liaison Officer), Mr Carter J. Apaisam (FSM Immunization Program Manager).

FSM has worked hard to prevent COVID-19 from entering into our communities. Border closures and quarantine have been strong measures for FSM and many other Pacific island countries and areas (PICs) in fighting the pandemic. These border closures have kept us safe, but they have come at great social and economic cost. None of us want them closed forever.

Across the Pacific, FSM is one of the few countries that have already received and begun administering approved COVID-19 vaccines. This is an incredible milestone. The availability of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines mean that although this pandemic is far from over, there is some light at the end of a very long tunnel. Vaccines, combined with other proven public health measures, will be an important tool in ending the pandemic, globally.

To date, essential workers in FSM have received COVID-19 vaccines, including healthcare workers and frontline workers, including those who work at the airport, seaport and in the quarantine facilities.

Secretary of Health, Dr Livingston A. Taulung, who is considered a frontline worker, received his first COVID-19 vaccine on 14 January. “I had minimal pain on the injection site which resolved the following day. I’ve felt myself and haven’t experienced any side effects over the past three weeks. I’m thrilled that we’re able to offer COVID-19 vaccines to our citizens. These are important for protecting us as individuals; for protecting our families, loved ones, colleagues and wider communities”, said Secretary Taulung.

WHO Country Liaison Officer for Northern Micronesia (Marshall Islands, FSM, Palau) Dr Eunyoung Ko, is also considered a frontline worker and received her first COVID-19 vaccine on 1 February. “In my home country, I don’t fall into a priority group for vaccination, so I feel extremely grateful to have received a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine here in Pohnpei where I work”, said Dr Ko. “Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has received an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which WHO considers to be a stringent regulatory authority, as well as having received an interim recommendation from WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts.

While current evidence shows that the existing COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing illness, people who are vaccinated may still be able to pass virus onto others. That means that in FSM and other COVID-contained PICs, there is always a risk that cases of COVID-19 will be introduced into the community.

COVID-19 vaccines are now available in all FSM states, with priority given to those aged 45 and over, and to those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.

“Being vaccinated is one of the best preventive measures for a healthy and safe community. We need as many people of possible, vaccinated against COVID-19”, said National Immunization Program Manager, Mr. Carter J. Apaisam.

At the same time, vaccines will unfortunately not allow for a return to pre-COVID life any time soon. So as these vaccines are rolled out globally, everyone everywhere, including in FSM, must use or be ready to use the public health measures (e.g. frequent hand washing, mask-wearing and physical distancing) following the government’s protocol, to protect our community and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

To confirm your eligibility and where to go to receive your COVID-19 vaccines, please call your immunization clinic: Pohnpei 320-3144/2217; Chuuk 330-3945; Yap 350-2114; Kosrae 370-2125.

By Pohnpei Enginkehlap

February 9, 2021

Pohnpei--This is to inform the general public that Pohnpei State public elementary schools will resume their normal school schedules starting Monday, February 15, 2021.

The decision to resume normal school hours was brought before the COVID-19 Task Force by the Director of the Department of Education, Mr. Stanley Etse, on Monday, February 8, 2021, and unanimously approved. 

School hours for all Public Elementary Schools continue at their regularly scheduled times, on Monday, February 15, 2021:

ECE - 3rd Grade: 8:00 AM to 12:15 PM

4th - 8th Grade: 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM

Thank you to the students, teachers, and parents for your cooperation and patience during this school year.

For more information, please contact the Department of Education at 320-2014 or the Public Information Officer at 320-223


By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


January 30, 2021

Pohnpei, FSM—On January 29, 2021, the World Health Organization reported that the FSM is once again COVID-19 free. Medical professionals have deemed that the only confirmed case of COVID-19 aboard the MS Chief Mailo to be negative and historical, posing no threat to the FSM’s residents.

The case never posed a hazard to the FSM, but it is a testimony to the effectiveness of the FSM’s readiness plans that the positive case was discovered and isolated while that determination could be made.

“This is great news for the people and Government of the FSM,” FSM President David Panuelo said in a statement published by his public information officer. “It is a testament to the continued dedication of our National and State medical teams, who have been collaborating diligently, and in partnership with our friends and allies at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the World Health Organization. While the Government’s top priority at this moment is the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program, it is worth taking a moment to thank the collective efforts of our Nation’s medical experts, and our international bilateral and multilateral partners, for their tireless efforts to keep our Nation safe.”

“…Since the crew and passenger of the CM (Chief Mailo) have been thoroughly tested and assessed as posing no risk to our FSM community, I am authorizing their disembarkation in the FSM at the completion of their required quarantine and isolation period,” President Panuelo wrote in a January 28 letter to Pohnpei Governor Reed Oliver and copied to all FSM State Governors.

Governor Oliver responded in a letter on the same day. “As much as we are very thankful that the result of the medical finding concluded that the crew had completed their quarantine requirements and pose no threat to the community, there is still one positive case onboard.  The people of Pohnpei State remain very concerned. The State Task Force strongly recommends full compliance with the decrees and respectfully honors both the the FSM and Pohnpei State Resolutions prohibiting disembarkation on Pohnpei of any passengers from a COVID-19 infected areas at this time,” he wrote.

“The Pohnpei State Task Force had polled the crew and all Chuukese crew want to go home to Chuuk and likewise all Filipinos go home in the Philippines. In short, no disembarkation on Pohnpei,” he concluded.

The quarantine period for the people aboard the MS Chief Mailo ended on January 28.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

January 29, 2021

Pohnpei—The FSM National Government is in the process of issuing reimbursements of withheld taxes to recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).  The US Department of Labor (DOL) issued the grant to the FSM for the purpose of aiding FSM residents who, because of the COVID-19 crisis, found themselves either unemployed or significantly under employed.

In the middle of last year, the FSM Congress passed a bill requiring that a 10 percent income tax and 15 percent Social Security payment should be withheld from each payment to approved beneficiaries of the PUA. FSM President Panuelo vetoed the bill and returned it to Congress.  Congress overturned the veto.

“Your Committee has reviewed Congressional Act No. 21-120, and the accompanying veto message (P.C. No. 21-301),” the Ways and Means Standing Committee Report recommending the override of the veto said. “Your Committee notes that the unemployment assistance grant that is forthcoming is more than enough to compensate an unemployed citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia even after the taxation is taken into account.  Your Committee believes that the revenue generated by taxing this windfall will benefit many other programs in the nation that are now struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Your Committee further notes that during hearings on this bill, the Department of Finance and Administration and the Social Security Administration both supported the tax.  Taxing for social security purposes would, in fact, protect the benefits and eligibility of the unemployed to the social security safety net.  Your Committee has reviewed the President’s comments in P.C. No. 21-301 and your Committee has determined that the veto is purely based on policy,” the report said.

At the beginning of the ongoing sixth regular session of Congress, FSM President David Panuelo sent a bill to Congress that if enacted would rescind the PUA taxation law. Accompanying the bill and the President’s message urging its passage was a legal opinion issued by the FSM Department of Justice saying that the grant terms did not allow for the taxation of the benefits. Also accompanying the bill was the letter from the DOL that listed its reasons for curtailing the grant if withheld taxes were not reimbursed to beneficiaries.

According to Joses Gallen, the FSM Secretary for the Department of Justice, though Congress did not act to rescind the law, the reimbursements are still going out to PUA beneficiaries and will not be withheld in future.  He said that Congress did not feel the need to rescind the law because their legal counsel advised the members that the law already had a “saving clause” built into it. That clause says that the legislated taxes would be paid unless the grant conditions prohibit.

“When the US Dept of Labor sent its decision that no tax was a grant condition, we all agreed that no tax can be deducted,” Secretary Gallen explained in a Facebook message. “This was the AG’s legal position, but it was not really clear before. It became clearer when we submitted that question to the Department of Labor legal counsel responding that yes the stimulus grant has the condition that no tax can be deducted.”

“Ultimately, with or without the repeal, the deducted taxes will be reimbursed,” Secretary Gallen wrote.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


January 31, 2021

Pohnpei—On January 28, 2021, after a month of issuing vaccines, Pohnpei State Enginkehlap issued its first press release on the availability of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to residents of Pohnpei. The press release appeared on social media and as of today had not been posted to the Pohnpei State news website.

The text of the Press Release follows:

“Peilapalap, Kolonia, Pohnpei---The Pohnpei State COVID-19 Task Force would like to inform the General Public that the first batch of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are available and currently being administered to Front line and Essential Workers; individuals 60 years and older; and those with underlying chronic medical conditions. This is in line with guidelines to prioritize people considered most at-risk and vulnerable to COVID-19 for now while more vaccine supplies come in to cater for other eligible persons.

“As of today, individuals 40-59 years old are also now eligible to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is now available at the Public Health Division of the Department of Health and Social Services, located across from the Pohnpei State Hospital.

“The Public Health Division is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday to Friday. Eligible persons will be required to fill out a brief questionnaire before they are vaccinated. The vaccination is voluntary!

“The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is a two-shot vaccine, with the second dose recommended to be taken 28 days apart. The shot is given in the muscle of the upper arm.

“According to the US Centers for Disease Control, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is safe and about 94.1% effective in preventing COVID-19 illnesses in people who received the recommended two doses.

As of 26 January 2021, Pohnpei State has administered 1,290 doses of the vaccine, having received an additional 3,800 doses.”

In the absence of any previous widely publicized State public information on who was eligible for the vaccine or where residents could get it if they were eligible, many were left guessing.  Many people reported having simply shown up and getting the vaccine just by asking. Others reported having no idea where they should show up to ask in the first place.

Dr. Rally Jim, during an informal interview said that he didn’t know how Pohnpei was getting the information out about the availability of the vaccine and who was eligible at any given time.  He said during that interview, held at the vaccination center at Public Health early last week at the location described in the press release issued two days later, that they were only giving the vaccine to people aged 60 and up, and to front line responders. He also said that the vaccination is being given only in one place due to the difficulties of storage of the vaccine that limits their ability to deliver it in the villages.

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat 

27 January 2021

Suva, Fiji – The European Union (EU) and the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS) have today signed a new project worth EUR 5.75 million (equivalent to FJD 14.3 million) to enhance the trade capacity of Pacific countries.    

The project titled "Strengthening Pacific Intra -Regional and International Trade (SPIRIT)" (SPIRIT) aims at boosting and increasing intra-regional and international trade by strengthening institutional and technical capacity in the region. It will facilitate the implementation of trade agreements, in particular the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and of the Pacific’s Aid-for-Trade Strategy 2020-2025. SPIRIT will also contribute to the development of a statistical monitoring framework that will foster greater regional economic integration.

In her remarks, Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor said that, “The implementation of SPIRIT will ease trade challenges faced by the Pacific ACP[1] countries and focus on creating opportunities to trade regionally and internationally. Most importantly, it will strengthen the capacities of trade departments in the region through the provision of a technical position at the sub-regional level in each of the three sub-regions in the Pacific.”

Today’s announcement outlines the significant partnership and commitment between the EU and the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat in advancing the Pacific countries’ benefits from trade agreements by promoting their efficient and streamlined implementation. Three Long-Term Trade advisers will be deployed in the sub-regions of Melanesia (including Timor-Leste), Micronesia and Polynesia to assist with the development and implementation of trade and investment policies. These Trade Advisers will also deliver a range of capacity-building and training initiatives to the Pacific countries.

The Ambassador of the European Union for the Pacific, H.E Sujiro Seam said: “The European Union is not only a development partner for the Pacific, it is also the best success story of regional trade and economic integration following the Second World War. With a market of 500 million consumers, the European Union is a business partner for the Pacific. This SPIRIT project comes at the right time, to alleviate the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Pacific economies, build value and growth in the region and take advantage of the business opportunities offered in the European market.”

The Pacific ACP benefitting from the initiative are Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

By: Olivia Blinn

International Organization of Migration

6BC06C5C 844A 484F B883 16481B519E82FSM—When Destiny Etse first heard that she had won the FSM COVID-19 TikTok Challenge for her animated video, she did not believe that it was true. Posts on social media and an FSM-wide SMS blast confirmed it — Destiny had won the Gold prize for the FSM TikTok Challenge, a competition launched by the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSA), International Organization of Migration (IOM) with the support of USAID, the Pacific Community (SPC) and Micronesian Productions.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever won something, so it was a surreal experience,” Destiny said.

The contest encouraged youth to engage with COVID-19 preventative measures — all while having a chance to win prizes worth up to $1100. Although FSM has not had any cases of COVID-19 within the community, DHSA and its partners hoped prepare young people to act accordingly in the event of an outbreak. 

TikTok, the popular video-sharing app, is often known for dance videos created by its users. The app became the perfect platform to allow for encouraging COVID-19 awareness in a creative way. The contest hosts created a song with lyrics such as, “if you wanna do the island way, do the shaka six feet away,” which describes the practice of social distancing, as recommended by the World Health Organization for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

In order to submit an entry to the contest, FSM residents created videos to the provided music and posted them with the hashtag #FSMcovidchallenge from December 11-21, 2020. Destiny decided to take her video a slightly different direction, though.

“I’ve been wanting to do animation for a public app like TikTok, so I seized the opportunity and decided to go with the animation style for the TikTok Challenge,” she said.

Destiny spent two days animating the lyrics to the song, hoping to catch the attention of viewers and educate them on COVID-19 precautions. She particularly hoped it would engage young children who enjoy watching cartoons. Destiny posted her video to TikTok just before the entry period closed and waited for the results.

By December 22, when the judging period began, 21 videos had been submitted and the hashtag had gathered over 23,000 views. A panel of judges, consisting of representatives from the FSM DHSA, U.S. Embassy, SPC, IOM and Micronesian Productions selected Gold, Silver and Bronze winners of the challenge, based on creativity and adherence to the theme. A Most Valuable Player (MVP) prize was also given to the video that received the most shares. Jamie Elizabeth Boni Yoshida of Yap received the Silver prize, Pearcylita D. Cubacub of Pohnpei received the Bronze prize, and Susana Saballe of Pohnpei received the MVP prize.

For Destiny to win the Gold prize for her animated video, it affirmed the career that she is pursuing. Destiny is currently majoring in Art at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo, and she began her online classes on January 18. As she takes her next steps in her education, she now has one of the tools that she will need, a new Microsoft Surface Go tablet, a part of her prize from the TikTok Challenge. She hopes to animate films or illustrate storybooks that retell local legends, allowing young Micronesians to see themselves represented in the media.

“It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do — to help educate many of our youths in the future about their island home,” Destiny said,

The FSM National Designated Authority (NDA)

21212122The FSM’s National Designated Authority (NDA) office this week welcomed workshop participants from all four states, Direct and Regional Accredited Entities to the GCF, development partners, civil society members and the private sector to the FSM-GCF National Virtual Workshop.

Secretary/NDA, Eugene Amor, welcomed and opened the workshop noting that although FSM’s efforts under GCF have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, we will continue to do our best to respond or tackle the adverse impacts of climate change.

This workshop is a key part of the NDA office’s efforts to work with stakeholder groups to implement the FSM Country Program for GCF and improve access to and management of climate finance.

Through a realignment exercise to ensure identified priority projects are in line with the nation-wide priorities as well as the GCF results impact areas, climate proofing road infrastructure surfaced as a shared project thematic area of interest among four states.

To better engage with GCF and eventually further develop key ideas into proposals, participants were introduced to the developing and integrating, and monitoring and evaluation systems for GCF projects and they deliberated on sustainable pathways to keeping the Country Program alive and relevant. 

The four-day workshop ended with a more realistic view of GCF complexity and a better understanding of the lengthy processes.  The participants came away with an understanding that not all national and state priority projects are suited for GCF funding but rather that the GCF may be able to fund only projects that clearly demonstrate a clear linkage to climate change impacts.

27 January 2021

Suva, Fiji- Today, the Government of Japan pledged a new USD 9.6 million agreement with UNICEF and WHO to strengthen immunization in the Pacific region.  The agreement  will support Pacific governments including Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Palau and Republic of Marshall Islands. UNICEF and WHO in the Pacific will work collaboratively with national health authorities to strengthen health programmes through effective and safe immunization.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan, H.E. Kawakami Fumihiro said, “This is truly an auspicious occasion for people of Japan, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and Palau. We just committed the Project titled, ‘Strengthening Immunization Programs in Pacific Island Countries.’ UNICEF and WHO, with their learned expertise and proven processes and systems will be implementing the project in the five island countries.”

“Essentially, this project will improve five island countries’ immunization coverage for children, identification and response to vaccine preventable disease outbreaks as well as maintenance of vaccine availability and quality. I shall also stress this project is crucial for the introduction of COVID vaccines,” His Excellency added.

Providing quality immunization services is one of the safest and most cost-effective tools to end vaccine preventable child deaths. However, despite a high average national immunization coverage across the Pacific, a significant number of the most vulnerable children in the region living in remote areas still miss out and do not receive the recommended number of vaccine doses. Healthcare workers in the Pacific region will be supported to better respond to vaccine preventable disease outbreaks through this four year partnership, with more than 110,000 children benefitting from improved immunization programmes.

"Ministry of Health & Medical Services reaffirm its commitment to protecting the lives of infants, young children and adolescents through the immunization programme and now with COVID19 vaccines for the adult population. I extend my deepest appreciation to all the stakeholders, particularly the Government of Japan for continuously assisting Fiji and the Pacific Island Countries in their efforts to improve the lives of our people through the provision of enhanced medical care,” Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said.

“While we struggle to address the current pandemic, we can’t ignore the devastating impact of other vaccine preventable diseases on children,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett. “We thank the Government of Japan for supporting our joint efforts to improve routine immunization coverage, and ensuring that a strong cold chain is in place  to reach all children and their families.”

The Government of Japan supported programme will aim to strengthen immunization services in the Pacific island countries in line with their commitments to polio eradication, measles, rubella and neonatal tetanus elimination and hepatitis B control in the Pacific region. Key components of the programme will include developing immunization policy and procedures; building surveillance and in-country laboratory capacities for the early detection, investigation and management of vaccine preventable diseases; improving cold chain capacity; and management and strengthening of information management systems.

This support to Pacific island governments will reach those children who are located in the remote rural areas and outer islands who are most at risk of missing out on important recommended vaccinations.

WHO Representative Dr Corinne Capuano said, “WHO is grateful for this generous support from the Government of Japan. Recent outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases like measles have highlighted gaps in routine immunization systems across the Pacific. This support will enable us, in close partnership with UNICEF, to work with five Pacific island countries to address these gaps and ensure they have the systems in place to quickly detect and confirm vaccine preventable diseases. It will also enable us to ensure efforts to  strengthen their routine immunization systems follow the latest guidance and technical advice.”

UNICEF and WHO will be working closely with the Governments of the five Pacific Island countries to ensure that the WHO immunization target of more than 95 per cent coverage for childhood vaccines is achieved with overall improved quality of immunization services and optimally maintained vaccine cold chains.

Micronesian Productions

January 29, 2021

On January 12, 2021, Micronesian Productions works with women’s groups across the nation to sew masks for all students. This donation stemmed from a grant that Micronesian Productions received from the Government of Canada under the Canada for Local Initiatives grant.  The grant outputs were to sew and give away 25,000 masks across the nation to all school-aged children, to develop Public Service announcements in local languages to play on all state AM stations to help people learn more about COVID-19, and to promote the uptake of accurate government information in the form of news stories on Facebook.  The entire project was focused on helping FSM prevent the spread of COVID-19 should the virus arrive.

At the meeting with Pohnpei State DOE, Director Etse expressed his sincere thank you for the donation of the masks and noted that the masks will be distributed right away.

The Kosrae Women’s Council was the first organization who completed the sewing of their 2,500 masks.  All masks were turned over to the Kosrae State DOE back in October of 2020.

For Yap State, the Yap Women Association completed the required 3,000 masks and provided them to the Yap Director of Education. 

In Chuuk State, the Chuuk Women’s Council is working with local women to sew 10,000 masks for all the students in Chuuk.  Deliveries of the masks started before Christmas with priority given to schools on Weno and closest to the airport. By the end of January, they have given out 1,284 to the following schools: Iras Demo, Mwan Elementary School, Berea Christian School, and Seventh Day Adventist.  They have sewed over 6,000 masks and will continue to deliver them to the other schools in Weno with the assistance of Chuuk State DOE. They are in contact with the neighboring schools in the lagoon to being the pick-up the facemasks for their students.

Executive Director for Micronesian Productions, Mr. Patrick Blank, noted that it was a priority of the project to work with women’s groups around the nation to assist with the project.  “We wanted to provide funds to women’s organizations to help them with their capacity building and also to be an integral part in protecting our children from the spread of the virus, should it arrive in FSM.  They were eager to help and did a fantastic job working together and with the state DOEs to see that over 20,000 masks were made and delivered to our schools around the nation.  I especially want to thank the FSM Risk Communications team for assisting us with the proper messaging and information for the project, and to the Government of Canada, for making this important prevention program possible.” 

FSM Information Services


11522PALIKIR, Pohnpei—In an effort to harmonize the Nation’s development needs with appropriate attention to public safety and utility, His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), has instructed the Department of Transportation, Communication, & Infrastructure (DTC&I) to develop an FSM Building Code. To develop the FSM Building Code, President Panuelo has requested that a Working Group be formed, comprised of the Secretary of DTC&I, the Honorable Carlson D. Apis, the Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure, the Program Manager for the Program Management Unit (PMU), and at least one representative each from the States of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.

The lack of an FSM Building Code, it could be argued, means that both internal and external stakeholders in the Nation’s development must look at each individual infrastructure project in a piecemeal manner. This can result in the duplication of efforts to ensure infrastructure meets the needs of the FSM’s tropical environment, and at times ignores the local environment’s needs in order to accommodate the Building Code for the country, organization, or individual funding or constructing a given piece of infrastructure.

“Too many crucial infrastructure projects are hampered by disagreements among designers and peer reviewers as to which design standards are appropriate for FSM conditions,” President Panuelo said in a statement. “We have faced delays on projects such as the Kosrae State Hospital and the College of Micronesia. We have seen points of difference, both within the National Government and within the State Governments, and between National and State agencies, on appropriate construction techniques. We have seen wildly different construction techniques from U.S. funded infrastructure projects in the FSM, and infrastructure built by the People’s Republic of China. There is an obvious solution to these self-imposed infrastructure problems: the development of our own FSM Building Code, which will apply Nation-wide for all future infrastructure projects.”

In letters sent to the Governors of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae, President Panuelo has requested the Governors to nominate representatives for the FSM Building Code Working Group no later than January 29th, 2021. “It would be helpful if your representative has a technical background with responsibilities for the planning, design, and construction of building infrastructure,” President Panuelo wrote in these letters. “If you consider it preferable to nominate two representatives, this will also be fine with us.”

President Panuelo has requested Secretary Apis to ensure that the development of the FSM Building Code be a top priority for DTC&I, particularly in its Division of Infrastructure, with the goal being that a proposed FSM Building Code be available for public review and comment at the nearest feasible opportunity.

“The Department has already begun some initial discussions with the International Code Council (ICC), to explore technical support opportunities to guide us through the process of developing our own FSM Building Code,” Secretary Apis said in a statement. “Per President Panuelo’s request, we are forming a Working Group with the State Governments so that we can undertake the important work of ensuring that our Nation’s infrastructure projects reflect the needs of our citizens and our communities.”

As part of the broader project to develop the FSM Building Code, President Panuelo has also instructed every National Government office and agency to designate parking spaces for persons with disabilities. “We anticipate that the FSM Building Code will require ramps for persons with disabilities,” President Panuelo said, “And if that’s the case, we’ll make it happen so that we have equal access for all citizens. In the meantime, I have instructed that all offices and agencies designate parking spaces for persons with disabilities.”

By Pohnpei Enginkehlap News

January 22, 2021

IMG 9707Pohnpei—On January 22, 2021, T.H. Reed B. Oliver, Governor of Pohnpei State, and T.H. Feliciano M. Perman, Lt. Governor of Pohnpei State, attended a brief ceremony to acknowledge the receipt and transfer of four brand new school buses. The ceremony was held in front of the Pohnpei State Administration Government Building at Peilapalap Kolonia with three of the four buses available at the ceremony.

Wanpoaran Roddy Robert from the United Church of Christ Pohnpei (UCCP) Mand congregation opened the brief ceremony with a prayer. Master of Ceremonies was Mr. Rickson Higgins, Department of Education’s Public Information Officer.

Lt. Governor Perman’s remarks started with an explanation that the ceremony was not a handover ceremony as they are commonly known, but rather a ceremony to acknowledge and appreciate the receipt of the new buses received through a request for proposal for school buses by the Department of Treasury and Administration. Lt. Governor Perman noted that only three school buses were present because one school bus sustained minor damage during shipment and is being repaired. What is important, Lt. Governor noted about the school buses, is that they will help transport Pohnpei’s school children to and from school. He wanted to ensure that the maintenance and care of these school buses are in place to drive Pohnpei’s schoolchildren safely and for a long time. The school buses each have a 52 passenger capacity and were made by the Cedar Bus Company. The engines on the sturdily built buses are from an English manufacturer and the chassis were built by a Chinese manufacturer.

Before the Director of the Department of Education closed the ceremony with his remarks, the keys to the school buses were presented to him by T.H. Feliciano M. Perman, Lt. Governor of Pohnpei. Director Etse thanked Governor Oliver and Lt. Governor Perman, on behalf of the Department of Education, for their guidance and leadership. In his remarks, he highlighted the importance of these school buses to carry out the Department’s responsibilities to provide transportation for Pohnpei’s school children. He expressed gratitude to Mr. Resio Moses Jr., representing RSM Imports, for his assistance in sourcing and shipping the school buses to Pohnpei. Director Etse acknowledged Lt. Governor Perman’s remarks to take care of the buses so they can be operated safely and for a long period of time. He also thanked the DOE Bus Drivers for sharing their concerns about having enough buses to transport Pohnpei’s schoolchildren safely and on time. He closed by referencing the Oliver/Perman administration’s motto of Enginkehalp as a reminder to work together and take care of the needs of not only the Department of Education but all Departments serving the people of Pohnpei.

The Department of Education currently has a total of 48 school buses including the additional four school buses received on January 22, 2021.

25 January 2021

Joint Press Release, Suva, Fiji- The European Union (EU), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Pacific Community (SPC) today signed an agreement that will strengthen their existing partnership to support health sector responses to COVID-19 across the Pacific.

This follows the new Financing Agreement the EU and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) signed, to repurpose funding to support the Pacific’s response to COVID-19.

Under the EU-SPC-WFP-WHO agreement, the EU will contribute over US$24 million (equivalent of EUR €20 million) of the funding repurposed under the EU-PIFS Financing Agreement to support Cook Islands, Kiribati, Fiji, the Republic of Marshall Island, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. This funding includes WHO’s contribution of over half million USD (equivalent to €448,000) to the implementation of this agreement.

At the signing ceremony in Suva, the EU Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific, Sujiro Seam, said “in response to COVID-19 in the Pacific, the priorities of the European Union are to address its health and socio-economic impact. The agreement signed today allocates EUR 20 M to strengthen the medical systems of Pacific Island Countries, to allow them to deal not only with COVID-19, but all health challenges.”

Thanking the EU for their contribution, WHO’s Director of Pacific Technical Support Dr Corinne Capuano articulated some of the areas this funding will help to bolster; and its timeliness. “The EU’s support will help strengthen testing capacity, WASH, infection prevention and control, and preparedness for the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines. It comes at a time when PICs are preparing for the arrival of the first allocations of COVID-19 vaccines which are expected in the coming months.”

SPC’s Deputy Director General Dr Paula Vivili said “Supporting national efforts collectively has resulted in proactively developing and implementing regional mechanisms to address the significant impacts of the pandemic in our region, such as the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19. SPC acknowledges PIFS for enabling the repurposing of EU funding towards the COVID- 19 response. SPC will use this funding to support PICTs COVID-19 response through public health surveillance and laboratory services, monitoring and evaluation, strengthening the One-Health approach as well as risk communication”.

Ms Jo Pilgrim, Director of WFP’s Pacific Multi-Country office stated that: “Since mid-2020 the WFP-managed Pacific Humanitarian Air Service has proudly supported the work of Pacific governments, WHO, SPC and other partners to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 through the delivery of crucial medical equipment and supplies. We are grateful to the European Union for its commitment to ensure this vital operation continues to serve our partners in the Pacific throughout 2021.” 

The agreement has five main outcomes including: Increased readiness of countries for effective COVID19 response operations with a special attention to those living in vulnerable situations; strengthened ability to test, detect and monitor for COVID-19 presence in partner countries; reduced risk of spread and excess morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 and other health issues; improved collaboration between environment, animal and public health sectors and an efficient logistics and delivery mechanism for COVID-19 response.

These outcomes are aligned with the Phase 2 COVID-19 Pacific Health Sector Support Plan; and the EU’s support fills a gap in the Plan’s budget, which is focused on stopping or delaying the spread of the virus and mitigating the negative health and socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19.

The plan is led by WHO’s Division of Pacific Technical Support and implemented by the Joint Incident Management Team (JIMT) which includes SPC and WFP along with other multilateral partners working in and with the Pacific who bring resources together to improve the readiness for and response to COVID-19 across 21 Pacific Island countries and areas.

To date, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu are yet to report a confirmed case of COVID-19. Fiji has gone more than 250 days without reporting a case of COVID-19 in the community. The Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have occasionally reported cases in travelers arriving from overseas, picked up through border quarantine.

United Airlines

United’s “Travel-Ready Center” will allow customers to upload and validate test results, review local entry requirements, find testing providers, and store vaccination records – all in the United app and

January 25, 2021 – United Airlines today launched the “Travel-Ready Center” - a new, digital solution where customers can review COVID-19 entry requirements, find local testing options and upload any required testing and vaccination records for domestic and international travel, all in one place. United is the first airline to integrate all these features into its mobile app and website.

“While pre-travel testing and documentation are key to safely reopening global travel, we know it can be confusing for customers when they’re preparing for a flight,” said Linda Jojo, Executive Vice President for Technology and Chief Digital Officer, United. “Starting today, our ‘Travel-Ready Center’ gives customers a personalized, step-by-step guide of what is needed for their trip, a simple way to upload required documents and quickly get their boarding pass, fully integrated within our app and website.”

In the weeks and months ahead, United will add more innovative, industry-first features to the Travel-Ready Center platform to make navigating evolving entry requirements even easier. United customers will soon be able to:

▪ Schedule a COVID-19 test at one of more than 15,000 testing sites around the world, right from the app or website.

▪ Access the recently launched “Agent on Demand”, a United-exclusive feature that gives customers the ability to video chat live with a customer service agent to answer any questions about pre-travel requirements or documentation.

▪ View details about visa requirements for the countries they plan to visit.

Customers with an active reservation can access the Travel-Ready Center through the “My Trips” section of the United App and on The Travel-Ready Center will provide tailored details on requirements for all travelers 18 and older on a customer’s itinerary, with status indicators noting if they are travel-ready based on specific requirements each individual needs to meet in order to board their flight, including any additional requirements for connecting flights. Documents uploaded by a passenger will be reviewed by designated personnel for verification. The individual status indicators for each passenger will then note whether they are “travel ready”

and they will be allowed to complete the check-in process. Customers should still plan to bring the physical documents to the airport in case further inspection is needed along their journey.

The Travel-Ready Center is just one of many new technologies the airline has introduced to create a safer and more efficient experience for customers. United recently redesigned its mobile app with new enhancements intended to make travel easier for people with visual disabilities, introduced Destination Travel Guide, which allows customers to filter and view destinations’ COVID-19 related travel restrictions, and debuted a new chat function to give customers a contactless option to receive immediate access to information about cleaning and safety procedures.

This year, United made numerous enhancements to its business that improve the travel experience for its customers. The carrier eliminated most change fees, pledged to reduce its greenhouse gases 100% by 2050, teamed up with Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic to guide its cleaning and safety protocols as a part of United CleanPlus℠, extended MileagePlus® Premier® status to all customers through January 2022 and made earning status for the next two years easier for all MileagePlus members. United also announced this year that beginning in January, all customers will be able to fly standby on another flight to the same destination on the same day for free, and all MileagePlus Premier members will be able to confirm a new flight on the same day to the same destinations at check-in when space is available in the same fare class.

PATA Micronesia


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Pohnpei, FSM – The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Micronesia Chapter

proudly announces its new Board of Directors and Committee Chairs for term 2021 / 2022.

Incoming Board of Directors are:

Chairwoman Paula Monk, United Airlines, Guam;

Vice-Chairwoman Priscilla M. Iakopo, Marianas Visitors Authority, CNMI;

Secretary Luciano Abraham, Pohnpei Port Authority;

Treasurer Francis Carlos Domnick, Office of Commerce, Investment & Tourism, Marshall Islands;

Alternate Board Member, Ed Arriola, Jr., Blue 46 Associates, Saipan; and

Immediate Past Chair, Stephanie Nakamura, Paradise Comfort Rentals, Palau.

They will be assisted by Standing Committee Chairs:

Culture, Heritage and Environment Committee Chairwoman Rita Pangelinan Nauta, Guampedia Foundation, Guam &

Vice-Chairwoman Sandra Iseke Okada, Traditions Affirming Our Seafaring Ancestry (TASA), Inc. Guam;

Education Committee Chairwoman Denise Mendiola, Guam & Don Evans, Yap Visitors Bureau, Yap;

Marketing Committee Chairman Mark Manglona, Guam Visitors Bureau, Guam & Vice-Chairman Ed Arriola, Blue 46

Associates, Saipan;

Membership Committee Chairwoman Victoria Blas-Toves, Asea Guam & Beverly Borja, Guam; and

Public Relations Chairman Perdus Esha, Jr., Seabreeze Hotel, Pohnpei & Vice-Chairwoman Lou Aguon-Schulte,

Paradises, Australia.

Incoming Board Chairwoman Paula Monk said, “I am honored and look forward to working with our board. I believe I

can speak for our board and members by saying that we have a very important job to do this term, which is to help our

region recover from the effects of a loss year and to make safety as our top priority. We are motivated to join forces and

share knowledge and resources that can help the region safely rebuild to its once-thriving tourism economy.”

PATA Micronesia also recognizes and thanks outgoing Chairwoman Stephanie Nakamura for her service for the past

two years. She led the Micronesia Chapter alongside Vice-Chairwoman Paula Monk; Secretary Marstella Jack;

Treasurer Mark Manglona; Alternate Board Member Perdus Ehsa, Jr.; and Immediate Past Chair, Pilar Laguaña. They

were supported by Marketing Chairwoman Lori DeBrum & Vice-Chairman Luciano Abraham; Membership

Chairwoman Lou Aguon-Schulte & Vice-Chairwoman Victoria Blas-Toves; Education Chairwoman Denise Mendiola

& Vice-Chair Don Evans; Culture, Heritage and Environment Chairwoman Rita Nauta & Vice-Chairwoman Sandra

Okada; and Public Relations Chairwoman Judy Torres & Vice-Chairwoman Catherine Perry.

This past term, the Micronesia Chapter successfully held tri-annual meetings throughout the Micronesia region;

co-sponsored tourism-related training, workshops, and seminars; and secured a partnership with United Airlines to

assist with travel for trainers, speakers, and presenters.

PATA Micronesia’s 2021 mission will focus on continuing to assist in the development of the region’s tourism industry

to include sensitivity for environmental issues, respect for Micronesian cultures, adherence to high operational

standards, and providing opportunities for education, training, and gainful employment.

While travel restrictions still apply in the region, the Chapter will continue to meet virtually until restrictions are lifted.

“We face many challenges ahead, however, we are hopeful that we can soon return to safely meeting in person this year

to build momentum for our important work in the region,” Monk added. “We learned so much about the fragility of

tourism globally during this pandemic, and we are ready to support the islands in Micronesia to rebuild their tourism

offerings and get businesses reopened and people back to work.”

carmenFor a year now, our two countries have joined forces in the global effort to fight COVID-19, resulting in significant steps forward for the FSM.  Led by senior health officials from both countries, lab testing facilities were expanded, public health professionals learned new testing techniques on several types of equipment, and tests were conducted in all four states as technicians honed their new skills.  Recently, when health officials obtained the first positive COVID-19 test from a sailor aboard a ship anchored off shore, all of the correct procedures and protocols were followed, and while the FSM now has one “border case” there has been no transmission of COVID-19.  This is a great testimony to the effectiveness of these preparations and to the competence of the FSM’s public health professionals.  With the United States now sending monthly shipments of the Moderna vaccine to the FSM, all four states have received doses of vaccine and public health officials are vaccinating people to protect them from COVID-19.

I have been moved by the close collaboration between health officials from our countries.  As COVID-19 is a novel or new virus, we all have had to learn together how it spreads from person to person, what harm it does to our bodies, and how we can fight it.  When my embassy team and I participate in calls between our top public health officials, we are impressed with the trust between them, trust that has been created by years of working side by side fighting common diseases.  In those frank and open discussions, they deal with the challenges of fighting the new virus, share what they are learning, and compare notes.  Only by these honest and transparent conversations can we effectively fight this global enemy.

Last week, the day after President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. was inaugurated, he issued the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness.  In his strategy, the President pledged to listen to science; to ensure health decisions are informed by health professionals; and to promote trust, transparency, common purpose, and accountability in our government.  H.E. President David W. Panuelo shares these same values, issuing transparent and informative press releases to Micronesia’s public about COVID-19 status, and especially about highlighting the need for vaccinating all those who are eligible.  FSM’s President and other government officials led by example, being vaccinated in public and sharing their reactions. 

Just prior to President Biden’s televised announcement, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, and I had the opportunity to talk about COVID-19 in Micronesia and some of the concerns that I heard from people living in the FSM.  Dr. Fauci was up at 3 AM that day to talk to officials in the World Health Organization, which the United States rejoined under President Biden, and to make an appearance on Good Morning America.  Dr. Fauci would later be seen with President Biden for the announcement of the Biden-Harris Plan to beat COVID-19.  Despite his busy schedule, he graciously agreed that we needed to meet to respond to the concerns raised by folks in Micronesia.  He assured us that the Moderna vaccine is safe for all ethnic groups and equally effective in fighting COVID-19 as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, about 94 to 95 percent.  He pointed out that the pharmaceutical companies will start testing vaccines for young people to ensure they are safe for children and youth, and hopes those vaccines will be ready in the next few months.  He told us that the estimated threshold for herd immunity for COVID-19 is having between 70 and 85 percent of the population vaccinated.  Finally, he reminded us that even if we have been vaccinated, we still should quarantine for seven days when entering a country. 

The close and abiding partnership between our two countries has been demonstrated in our common fight against COVID-19.  The United States has committed more than 100 million dollars in funding to support the FSM to plan, prepare for and respond to COVID-19.  In the coming months we will continue to learn together, to share our frustrations and successes, and to overcome challenges.  It will take time and great effort, but we shall prevail.  We truly are all in this together.

Ambassador Carmen G. Cantor

By Joanne Cowley, Australian Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia.

On Australia Day 2021, Australians have reflected on events of the last year.

2020 was a year that tested the strength of our communities and the resilience of all countries.

It was a year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Australians, 2020 started with the most devastating bushfires in our history. The service and sacrifices of Australians, and the lives lost, will never be forgotten.

The generosity of friends around the world, including the Federated States of Micronesia, in our hour of need was humbling.

Climate change is increasing the risk of bushfires.

To help us reduce the risk and impact of bushfires, droughts and other climate-related natural disasters, this year Australia will publish a new National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy.

Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world, it has the oldest living cultures and some of the richest biodiversity in the world.

We are fortunate to be able to learn from the continuing connection of the First Australians, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, to their country.

For over 65,000 years their traditional knowledge and practices have preserved and protected Australia’s natural environment.

The recent bushfires demonstrated the importance of bringing together traditional Indigenous knowledge about the land with modern science.

Indigenous Rangers are on the frontline of this work, preserving and protecting Australia’s natural and cultural heritage. For example, using traditional fire management practices, through cool and controlled burns.

Australia has committed over $15 billion to make our natural resources, environment and water infrastructure more resilient to drought and climate disasters.

We are spending more than $2 billion on bushfire recovery efforts, supporting local communities to design their own economic, social and environmental recovery.

This includes the important job of regenerating habitats, helping native animals recover and building knowledge for better land management.

Climate change is also the biggest long-term threat to the health of coral reefs worldwide, including those in FSM and in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, one of our national icons.

Australia has committed $2.7 billion to the effective management and protection of the Great Barrier Reef.

We have also launched a $150 million Reef Restoration and Adaptation program that brings together world leading marine science to research strategies that can help reefs recover from bleaching events and to adapt to changing ocean temperatures.

Australia is also committed to supporting neighbouring and global communities to tackle climate change. 

Australia has pledged at least $1.5 billion over the period 2020 to 2025 for global climate finance. $500 million of this funding will directly help FSM and our other Pacific neighbours deploy renewable energy and improve their climate change and disaster resilience.

We’re sharing our climate adaptation expertise, experiences and skills with the world through our development program and the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific.

We are joining the Call for Action on Raising Ambition for Climate Adaptation and Resilience, to encourage greater ambition, finance and coordination to protect against growing climate risks.

And Australia has joined the Coalition for Climate Resilience Investment.

As the world recovers from the economic impact of COVID-19, we need investments that can both accelerate emissions reductions and support jobs and communities. 

We need to consider those most in need, engage all stakeholders equally and respect indigenous culture and knowledge in taking climate action.

Practical actions that help us adapt to those changes and strengthen the resilience of our local environments are critical.

By Pohnpei Enginkehlap


January 25, 2021

Pohnpei—On Monday, January 25, 2021, T.H. Reed B. Oliver, Governor of Pohnpei State, and First Lady Estle G. Oliver attended the opening ceremony for Education Day 2021 at the PIC High School Cafeteria Gym.  This is the 8th year that Education Day has been celebrated in Pohnpei.  The celebrations will continue throughout the week, on Tuesday in Sekere for all Kolonia and Sokehs Elementary Schools, on Wednesday at Seinwahr elementary school for all Kitti elementary schools, on Thursday at Sapwalap Elementary School for all Madolenihmw Elementary Schools and on Friday at Saladak ElementarySchool for all Nett, U and outer islands Elementary Schools. 

Opening remarks were made by Mr. Franky Edward from the Board of Education and Principal of Pohnpei Adventist High School.  He noted the hardships that students have had in the last school year with the COVID-19 pandemic and temporary closures of schools.  He encouraged the students, staff, and parents to stand strong noting that trials and tribulations are part of life, and unity ensures victory.

The keynote speaker of the event spoke next .  T.H. Sonster Edgar, 10th Pohnpei State Legislature Senator (PSL) from U, Nansahu Ririn U, a former schoolteacher and Principal, also Vice Chairman of the Education Committee.  Senator Edgar’s remarks started with a verse from the book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, verse 1, counseling us all that there is a time for everything under the sun.  He shared the importance of Education, saying that Education makes one more valuable, allows one to grow, and that without education, life can be hard.  Senator Edgar also commented and praised the current accreditation system in place that ensures students’ achievements and success are continued.  He praised the Education staff for coming up with this year’s theme, “Unity Strengthens our Unlimited Potentials to Achieve and Succeed - Ehupene Kakehlaka Sapwelimatail Pweidahkan”.  Senator Edgar said of the theme, that unity equals strength and closed by expressing gratitude for being a part of this rewards and recognition event. 

After a song about Unity and Strength by the Nanpei Memorial High School Music Club, T. H. Reed B. Oliver, Governor of Pohnpei State, delivered his remarks.  He thanked the Director of the Department of Education, Mr. Stanley Etse, and his staff for arranging this event and inviting him and the First Lady.  Governor Oliver congratulated and challenged the students who were being recognized for their achievements.  “What’s next?”, Governor Oliver asked. “How will you use your achievements?” He noted the advances in technology today that continue to take us forward making our lives better.  He advised the students that even with all the latest technology, all students are encouraged to continue to read books.  He inspired the students to also reflect and ask themselves how they can contribute to their family, community, the state and the Nation at school and at their homes.  In saying this, he noted Mr. Edward’s remarks that when we take care of small things, the bigger ones can be taken care of as well.  Governor Oliver shared three virtues that he has shared on many occasions, across Pohnpei, for the students to remember and use as they continue their academic journey and beyond: Respect, Responsibility, and Honesty.  He closed by expressing gratitude to the teachers, principals, education staff, and parents of the students, including the Parent-Teacher Associations, once again referencing Education Day’s theme of Unity as a way to strengthen, achieve and succeed.

Closing remarks by the Director of the Department of Education, Mr. Stanley Etse, started with thanks to all the staff who sacrificed their weekend to set up the Education Day event.  Thanks to the speakers for their words of inspiration, thanks to all the donors including the Diplomatic Corps for their support.  He invited everyone for next year’s Education Day 2022.  He shared a quote by Milton Hershey “Give them quality.  That’s the best form of advertisement in the world”, and closed by saying that providing quality is the best assurance for all stakeholders and education leaders moving forward to achieve and succeed. 

Also present at the ceremony was Deacon Patrick Paul who opened the ceremony with a prayer and WP Hamilton Soar gave the benediction.  Chairman of the Board of Education, Mr. Grilly Jack, Board member, Phyllis Silbanuz, US Embassy Charge’ D’Affaires Sommers, Australian Embassy Charge’ D’Affaires, Mr. Takuro Steele, Acting FSM Secretary of Education, Mr. Wayne Mendiola, From 10th PSL: Senator T.H. Mitaro Simina, Senator T.H. Jayson Walter, Senator T.H. Ricky Carl, Nett District Administrator, T.H. Nelsin Iriarte, Kolonia Town Mayor, T.H. Beterigo Jacob, Acting Meninkeder Madolenihmw, Mr. John Rensle. 

Pohnpei Enginkehlap News


January 27, 2021

DSC 0047 scaledPohnpei--On Tuesday, January 26, 2021, T.H. Reed B. Oliver, Governor of Pohnpei State, attended Education Day at the Sekere Multipurpose Gym in Sekere, Sokehs. This is the second day of Education week to commemorate, recognize and celebrate exemplary and outstanding achievements for students, teachers, and staff of the Pohnpei State Department of Education and charter schools for the School Year 2019-2020.

Opening remarks were made by Lepen Sekere, Mr. Rensper Liwy, who gave a very brief but focused speech about honesty. Following Mr. Liwy was the keynote speaker, Speaker of the Sokehs Municipal Council, T.H. Albert Johnny.  Mr. Johnny’s remarks focused on “ehupene” or Unity as part of the Education week’s theme: “Unity Strengthens our Unlimited Potentials to Achieve and Succeed – Ehupene Kakehlaka Sapwelimatail Pweidahkan”. He encouraged everyone from parents, family, teachers, community, government, and church to recognize the efforts of the students today, and to continue to come together to continue the good works that have been realized through the student’s achievements.

Governor Oliver expressed his gratitude for the invitation to congratulate and recognize student achievement.  He spoke of a song sung by the NMHS Music Club the day earlier, United we stand, divided we fall and noted, without teachers, students, and parents united and working together, success would not be achieved.  He challenged the students, asking “what next?” He asked them to reflect on how this achievement can benefit their families, communities, Pohnpei, and the Nation. He shared the three virtues of Respect, Responsibility, and Honesty with the students, adding Unity, as virtues to benefit their academic journey and beyond.  Governor Oliver asked the students to work hard towards their goals, whether they want to be a Doctor, Nurse, Policeman, etc, emphasizing the need for Doctors in Pohnpei, today.  He thanked the teachers and parents for their important role in the student’s success, the Police Officers from Sokehs and Pohnpei State working together. He emphasized that when each one of us is doing our best in our responsibilities, success is achieved.

Mrs. Alice Ehmes, Board of Education member, gave the closing remarks, speaking of the strands of the kepenohk or local broom.  Made from single strands of coconut fiber, a single strand is useless, but when bound together, they become a versatile tool that sweeps through the roughest surfaces.  She likened this to the cooperation and unity of all to face and overcome challenges.  On behalf of the Board of Education, Mrs. Ehmes congratulated once again the students, asking for vigilance and unity as we continue to 2021. 

Also present at the ceremony were: 10th Pohnpei State Legislature Senators, T.H. Mitaro Simina, T.H. Jayson Walter, T.H. Ricky Carl.  Acting FSM Secretary of Education, Director of Pohnpei State Department of Education, Mr. Stanley Etse, Mr. Wayne Mendiola, Board of Education members, Mr. Grilly Jack , Diaz Joseph and Phyllis Silbanuz, Education Division Chiefs, Mr. Sentry Paul, Mr. Jolden Lipai, Mr. Peter Ramirez. Deacon Patrick Paul and WP Hainrick Aisek.

By Pohnpei Enginkehlap


January 27, 2021

DSC 0403Pohnpei—On Wednesday, January 27, 2021, T.H. Reed B. Oliver, Governor of Pohnpei State, attended a second Education Day event at Seinwahr Elementary School in Kitti.  Deacon William Ioanis opened the ceremony with a prayer before T.H. Antonio Sarapio, Luhk En Moanlap, gave his welcoming remarks. 

Luhk En Moanlap welcomed everyone as the Chief Executive of the Municipal Government of Kitti.  He shared his almost 30 years as an educator before coming to his present position.  In his remarks, he spoke of the similarities between modern science and Pohnpei culture and traditions, especially with raising and preparing children for their futures.  He noted the most important interaction for children to prepare them each day begins at home with parents, continuing onto school with teachers.   

The keynote speaker for the event was Kitti native and FSM Assistant Secretary of Education, Mr. Quincy Lawrence.  Mr. Lawrence acknowledged Education Day’s theme of Unity and encouraged overcoming negative influences to unite for success and achievement. He referenced Enginkehlap or Unity as the driving force behind success and achievement, recognizing the achievements of students and teachers.  He asked the students if they listen to their parents at home, saying that children of Pohnpei stands out from children across the world because they value obedience, respect, and love, and this starts at home with their parents as part of Pohnpei culture.  He closed by thanking the Director of Education and the Department of Education for inviting him to speak at this important event.

Governor Oliver congratulated the students and teachers of Kitti on the eighth Education Day in Pohnpei where students and teachers are recognized for achievements.  He recalled the previous days at PICS High School and Sekere and shared highlights from the keynote speakers that included themes of unity, honesty, and respect.  Governor Oliver noted that education is not just conducted at school, but also at homes and in communities.  He shared the virtues of respect, honesty and responsibility with the students of Kitti, adding unity as well.  He noted that academic achievements have greater value when respect, responsibility, and honesty are also part of their learning.  He closed by sharing the story of a young man from Kitti who currently works at the UN in New York, to explain that student abilities are not limited to success and achievement in Pohnpei, the FSM, or the region, but can reach far away, like this young man who represents Pohnpei at the UN in New York.  He encouraged the students to keep up the good work and don’t give up. 

Board of Education Chairman, Mr. Grilly Jack, ended the event with his closing remarks. He shared a quote, “While we are unique individuals with different talents, we are equally important.” He referenced Governor Oliver’s previous remarks on virtues like honesty and unity that give purpose to our service to the people.  On behalf of the Board of Education and Department of Education, Mr. Jack thanked everyone for attending and recognizing the achievements of the students and teachers of Kitti.      

Also present were Senators T.H. Herolyn Movick, T.H. Dahker Daniel, T.H. Francisco Ioanis, T.H. Stevenson Joseph, Speaker of Kitti Council, T.H. Jordan Ardos, Acting FSM Secretary of Education, Mr. Wayne Mendiola, Dauk Kitti, Board of Education members Diaz Joseph and Phyllis Silbanuz.

Enginkehlap coverage of the events in Madolenihmw and U did not arrive by press time.