Governor gives first State of the State address
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- Published: Monday, 20 March 2017 08:55
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By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
March 9, 2017
Pohnpei—This morning, Pohnpei’s Governor Marcelo Peterson delivered his first State of the State address in Legislative chambers. The address included an exhaustive list of accomplishments and challenges in every department of the Pohnpei State Government.
He spoke in the Pohnpeian language, and the speech was broadcast live on State Radio V6AH. He also provided a copy in English for us to share on our website.
Governor’s 2016 Message to the Legislature
March 9, 2017
We pay due honor to the omnipresence of our divine creator. Our respects to the traditional leadership
of Pohnpei, the Nahnmwarki and Nahnken of all Pohnpei traditional kingdoms. We recognize their
spouses. Our respects to the President of this nation, His Excellency Peter M. Christian and all leaders
from the National Government. Our respects to Pohnpei Legislature Speaker the Honorable Fernando
Scaliem, Vice Speaker Nixon Soram and Floor Leader McGarry Miguel. We recognize also the Pohnpei
Chief Justice Benjamin Rodriquez and all associate justices. Our respects to Lt. Governor the Honorable
Reed Oliver and all local chief executives. My special recognition to members of my family, most
especially first Lady Linda Peterson.
At this juncture, please allow me to extend our respects and appreciation for the presence of our dear
friends, the members of the diplomatic corp. As well, we recognize the presence of other FSM National
Government officials and heads of national agencies and institutions.
Special respects to members of our Cabinet and everyone present in the gallery today.
According to Article 9, Section 9 of the Pohnpei Constitution, “The Governor shall report to the
Legislature at the beginning of each regular session in January on the condition of Pohnpei, and he may
do so at other times.” In compliance with this constitutional mandate, I appear before the 9th Legislature
and the people of Pohnpei to present my report on the state of our Government during fiscal year 2016.
This report is also in line with our Strategic Development Plan. A more comprehensive report may be
available by request.
This administration began with an administrative reorganization. This important task placed unnecessary
delays on our appointment of new Cabinet members. Through partnership with the Legislature, both
tasks were completed successfully.
Department of Education
Through collaboration between the new Director of Education and Department chiefs and staff, a lot of
successes were made possible. In the process some shortcoming were also identified. School year 2015-
2016, was a challenging year due to the transition between administrations. The transition period
coincided with the transition of all Department personnel to personal service contracts. Mr. Speaker, I
will summarize the achievements and challenges of the Department in parts.
A. Education Impact
Total student population (from ECE to high school) – 10,565
Public elementary schools – 31
Public high schools – 3
Private schools - 6
ECE Schools – Student Performance:
Total ECE student population – 675
Completed all classroom and medical requirements, and transferred to first grade – 511
ECE program completed training programs for parents and volunteers who support the program
Assisted with fund raising activities, motorcade displays, and Cultural Day celebrations
Elementary Schools – Student Performance
Total elementary school student population – 6,553
Completed all requirements – 6,433
Completed 8th grade and enrolled as high school freshmen – 671
Did not complete 8th grade – 144
Assessment tools used for 3rd, 5th and 7th graders – Standard Based Assessment (SBA) and
National Minimum Competency Test (NMCT)
o A total of 726 third grade students took both tests. 30% passed SBA and 27% passed
o This is one area that needs improvement during next school year
High Schools – Student Performance
Total high school student population – 2,572
Completed all requirements – 517
Enrolled in secondary education – 521
o Degree bound students – 124
o Remedial course takers – 326
Did not enroll at any secondary institution – 71
Received academic excellence during high school (or 4.0 GPA) – 252
Received 3.5 GPA or above during high school – 484
Vocational Education – Student Performance
Total vocational education school population – 413
Majoring in Trade and Industry – 27%
Majoring in Business – 52%
Majoring in Home Arts – 7%
Number of teachers with certification – 30
Number of teachers working toward certification – 9
o Total number of students enrolled – 53
o Number of students who completed requirements – 48
o Number of students placed in workforce – 7
Total amount allocated for Student Scholarship Program - $255,659
o Total number of students who applied – 153
o Total scholarships awarded – 95
o Scholarship recipients who completed college education this term – 19
College completers majored in Law, Health Career, Education, Engineering,
Business and Computer Sciences.
Number of chartered private schools – 6
o Calvary Christian School total enrollment - 269 from Pohnpei, 13 FSM citizens and 48
non FSM citizens
o OHWA – 90 from Pohnpei, 1 FSM citizen and none are non FSM citizens
o Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School – 122 from Pohnpei, 8 FSM citizens and 1 non
o Pohnpei Catholic School – 248 from Pohnpei, 44 FSM citizens and 19 non FSM citizens
o Seventh-Day Adventist School – 255 from Pohnpei, 22 FSM citizens and 43 non FSM
o Saint Paul -37 from Pohnpei, 3 FSM citizens and 2 non FSM citizens
o It is important to note that the state discontinued providing aid to non public schools
Total number of teachers – 496
Associate degree holders – 348
Bachelor’s degree holders – 90
Master’s degree holders – 23
Teachers working towards a degree – 23
Teachers with teaching certification – 348
The state’s curriculum standards cover the subjects of Science, Math, Social Studies and Pohnpei
There are ongoing training for teachers on the state curriculum standards
Teaching specialists continue to train teachers on the curriculum standards, lesson planning,
student assessment, accreditation standards and other ongoing development initiatives.
School accreditation standing ranks at four different levels, 1 being the lowest and 4 being the
Number of schools at Level 4 – none
Number of schools at Level 3 – 24 schools
Number of schools at Level 2 – 10 schools
Number of schools at Level 1 – 5
Improvement in school management, student performance and school facilities contribute to
the attainment of higher accreditation levels
The state has adopted the accreditation system as the standard for school improvement
A student from Nett Elementary School has been selected to receive a prestigious award under
the Achieve 3,000 program
We would like to recognize the Department of Education and Nett Elementary School for this
Enrollees into the program includes students from the entire Micronesia region
Total number of students enrolled under the program – 765
Number of students who have completed all requirements – 30
Number of students who are enrolled at high school level – 6
Number of students who are placed in the workforce – 5
TRIO Programs (through the College of Micronesia-FSM)
Upward Bound Program, servicing 100 students
The Talent Search Program, servicing 284 high school students
GEAR-UP program servicing 177 students
At this point we would like to recognize our partners who added value to our efforts. Please allow me to
recognize the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL), Mid-continent Research for
Education and Learning (MCREL), Peace Corps Micronesia, World Tech and the College of Micronesia-
B. Economic Impact
Total Operation Budget for FY 2016 was $10.16 m:
Compact Sector Funding - $7.01 m
Supplemental Education Grant - $2.9 m
Special Education - $ 1 m
High Schools - $2.3 m
Primary Schools - $4.2 m
Early Childhood Education - $1.4 m
Special Education - $1 m
Administrative Services - $812,436
Specialized Programs – $383,134
Seventy percent of the budget was spent on personnel while three percent was spent on operations.
C. Social Impact
Education continues to serve as the gateway for development on Pohnpei. The Department of Education
continues to engage students in learning opportunities and activities that educate them to be law
abiding citizens. We note the correlation between school dropouts, juvenile delinquencies and
subsequent unemployment. The Department of Education has partnered with the Department of Health
and Social Affairs and provided health screening for students. Through the efforts of Dr. Payne Perman,
some students were subjected to early coronary heart disease screening as a preventive measure to
prevent future complications.
D. Strategic Impact
The Pohnpei Strategic Development Plan calls for school improvement programs for our students. As
part of this effort, a new school building is nearing completion at Nanpei Memorial School. We expect to
have new classroom buildings constructed at Ohmine Elementary School, Sokehs Powe Elementary
School, Lukop Elementary School, PICS High School, Palikir Elementary School and Madolenihmw High
School. Some of these projects are at design stage while others are being prepared for bidding. The
Department of Education is designing a plan to consolidate some schools to reduce the cost of service
delivery. This cost-saving effort will include the evaluation of existing statues to allow for the creation of
a school fees collection scheme of offset expenses for a school lunch program, textbook acquisition,
instructional technology and other student services. We note with gratitude assistance received from
members of the FSM Congress, municipal governments, the embassies, families and the business
community in Pohnpei.
Peace Corp volunteers are continuing efforts to the improvement of English language arts for students
in the elementary schools. The volunteers and the Peace Corp Micronesia office improved library
services at Pehleng Elementary School, Enipein Elementary School, Seinwar Elementary School and
Temwen Elementary School. We continue to note the effectiveness of placing Peace Corp volunteers in
the classrooms throughout the state. At this time, I would like to recognize all Peace Corp volunteers for
their dedicated services to our people.
Department of Health and Social Services
Medical services continue to be provided at the Pohnpei State Hospital, at dispensaries and at off island
referral facilities. A total of 54,100 visits were made to medical facilities throughout Pohnpei during FY
2016. This is more than 50% less than the number of visits during the previous year. Our records also
indicate that the newborn count for the reporting period was 1,091.
A total of 924 non communicable disease related patients received medical attention. About 30%
needed serious medical attention including surgery. The percentage of patients with diabetic conditions
has not declined. A high percentage of admitted patients are also suffering of diabetes related
conditions. This Administration is currently collaborating with the Ayuda Foundation to set up a patient
transportation program on United Airlines using milage partially donated by government employees on
official travel. While this would greatly improve travel services for patient medical referral, the source of
funding for medical services for referral patients is still a challenge for all including those currently
enrolled in the government medical insurance program. The current Administration is seeking a
coverage scheme for the uninsured especially the fishermen and farmers. For this effort, we will
continue to count on the support of the Legislature.
We are proud to mention that some new diagnostic equipment are now made available at the State
Hospital and are being used by our doctors to respond to patient needs at a faster pace. A new power
generator with automatic switch has been installed and is currently in operation at the State Hospital.
Our first line of defense to combat non communicable diseases continues to be proper diet and
exercise. As well, we will continue to support the “Go Local” campaign to support proper diet. The State
of Pohnpei is still under watch for the zika and dengue viruses. The public is advised to eliminate all
breeding areas for mosquitoes.
Under the Reorganization Act of 2016, the former Division of Social Affairs is now a new division under
the Department of Health and Social Services. This division continues to provide social services to senior
citizens, women groups, youth groups and citizens with disabilities. The division also provides oversight
for sports services. The division also oversees our student exchange program. Our records indicate that
more students are taking part in our student exchange programs. For this we continue to thank the
members of the diplomatic corps for facilitating these exchanges.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The protection of our flora, fauna, marine and terrestrial ecosystems and surrounding environment
ensures healthy tourism, agriculture and fisheries industries. It is our duty and responsibility to take
pride and protect our natural resources and heritage. This includes keeping our communities and the
entire Pohnpei clean. During fiscal year 2016, the Pohnpei EPA took efforts to contribute toward the
management of used oil to reduce pollution. The work of this committee is still on-going. In our
recycling efforts, EPA continues to coordinate our payback scheme for aluminum cans. More than 7
million aluminum cans were collected. The collection scheme has injected $412,076.95 into the local
economy due to the sale of aluminum cans. Our ongoing water sanitation inspections revealed that
about 50% percent of rivers and streams around Pohnpei are not safe for public use. The agency
received more than $100,000 Compact funding to clean up these water systems. EPA has partnered with
the Department of Education to educate school children on the importance of maintaining clean
community water systems. Collaboration between EPA, the Department of Public Safety, the
Department of Land and the NGO’s such as the Conservation Society of Pohnpei continues to serve as
the coalition that enforce the state’s sanitation laws and regulations.
Under the Reorganization Act of 2016, all marine conservation functions were transferred to the newly
created Department of Resources and Develop, while marine development functions continue to remain
under the Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
Most of the jurisdiction of Pohnpei is made up of the vast Pacific Ocean. Therefore, it is expected that a
true economic development for Pohnpei can be realized with a properly managed and developed
marine resource. A meaningful development must involve maximizing the economic benefits from the
proper management of tuna industry activities within the jurisdiction of Pohnpei State. The Pohnpei
State Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture continues to collaborate with other entities in this area of
research, development and enforcement. Such entities include the College of Micronesia-FSM, the
Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the FSM Department of Resources and Development, Pohnpei
Department of Public Safety, the Nature Conservancy, JICA, MCT, Overseas Fishery Cooperation
Foundation of Japan, the local fishermen community, market owners and the Conservation Society of
During this reporting period, the Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture has seeded at least 500 trochus
seedlings on the reefs of Pakin. Similar efforts are also being carried out at other islands within the
jurisdiction of Pohnpei State to sustain the currently unsteady ecosystems. Efforts are in place to
rehabilitate the already depleting marine resource on the reefs of Oroluk.
A site to develop a mangrove crab hatchery was identified and an expert is currently being sought. Initial
funding for these efforts was provided by the Pohnpei Legislature.
Agriculture as one of the development sectors identified through a FSM economic summit is currently
under the recently created Department of Resources and Development. The focus of training for
farmers has been on new crop management techniques. There is a prevailing tendency among our local
farmers to focus on traditional crop production that can generate meager incomes. The concept of mass
production of stable vegetables and crops is still foreign to them. The Division of Agriculture has often
been approached to provide new methods and techniques of sustaining traditional crops and livestock.
The first ever FSM Integrated Agriculture Census (IAC) coordinated by the FSM Department of Resources
and Development with collaboration of Pohnpei State partners was successfully carried out and
completed. The data field collection during the months of July and August were submitted for data
input, analysis and reporting. The outcomes of the IAC are essential planning tools for future agriculture
development planning unique for Pohnpei conditions.
The biogas system utilizing readily available pig waste to generate methane gas as a source of bioenergy
is a new technology in showing promising results with great benefits. The Chinese technical
counterparts at the PRC government supported Pilot Farm in Pohnlangas Madolenihmw. They
constructed 5 new additional biogas systems during the year with selected pig raising families, making a
total of 37 projects with different Pohnpei pig farmers since 2012. The dry-litter piggery (DLP) project
was supported to help clean up polluted water resources throughout Pohnpei due to traditional wash
down piggeries and to utilize the composted materials as good sources of organic fertilizer to improve
the depleted soil fertility of crop lands in Pohnpei. Pohnpei EPA and partners reported impressive water
quality test results in DLP converted sites in Awak, U Municipality.
The PRC supported Pilot Farm and local partners continue with the promotion of producing over 18
kinds of vegetables under canopy for all weather conditions and open field systems in the Pilot Farm and
expanded to assist 3 local farmers established with their own canopy systems to produce vegetables for
sale. Over 20 household level farmers are currently producing vegetables for family consumption as well
as to market their excess production. In addition, the Chinese are geared to assist the improvement
needs of local pig farmers, and engage with priority research needs of Pohnpei pepper production and
look into options of farming mushroom in Pohnpei.
Agriculture export data of approximately 400,000 pounds recorded by FSM Quarantine during the year
may not be a significant amount, interesting to note the diversity of potential agriculture export
commodities (betel nut, sakau, fiber leaves, hibiscus bark, taros, yams, mangoes, bananas and
vegetables) and export destinations (Guam, Hawaii, US mainland, RMI, and other FSM States).
The World Food Day was celebrated on October 14, 2016, with courteous participation of His Majesty,
Wasalapalap Isipahu, Nahnmwariki of Madolenihmw and Isonahnken Salvador Iriarte of Nett
Municipality. Approximately 400 farmers and consumers participated in the event.
The Island Food Community of Pohnpei (IFCP) is another important partner of Agriculture sharing the
same mission to promote production and use of locally produced food crops for the CHEEF benefits.
Implementation of the D-HOPE project-One Community/Municipality, One Product beginning
implementation started. Preliminary research findings shows good feasibility to produce Pohnpei flour
from our own indigenous food crops namely breadfruit, taro, banana and coconut for food-security and
A. Lududuhniap Waterfall Project – The project is under construction phase. Construction work at the
site includes the following:
Decks at base of waterfall
Kepirohi Waterfall - Development of the site has been planned and underway.
Sokehs Ridge and Trail – The site was cleared of overgrown vegetation on October 2016. Land survey
was completed and construction of weather resistant signage is under planning stages.
Nan Madol Ruins – The Tourism Office is still maintaining daily maintenance of the Nan Madol
causeway, toilet facilities, walkway trails and bridges and overall site upkeep and maintenance.
Information booths and consolidated fee collection scheme has been developed.
200-Room Eco-Resort Feasibility Site Visits – Some private properties were visited as potential sites for
the construction of the 200-room eco-resort. Site visits are still ongoing.
During this reporting period nine non Compact projects were completed in the amount of $526,621. The
Pohnpei Jail Facility renovation is a HAFSM Project and the funds do not flow through the FSM
Government. Pohnpei State has requested this project to be put on hold as it does not approve of the
direction this project is taking. This is a $3.6 million jail rather than the simple repairs and maintenance
the State was anticipating. Details of this and other project are available in our annual report. We are
pleased to note that our Project Management Office was established and is currently leading our
infrastructure development initiatives. We thank our new PMO Manager, Mr. James Hubbard for
agreeing to work with us and taking the lead role in our infrastructure development initiatives.
Department of Treasury and Administration
Mr. Speaker, we note especially the last audit findings concerning the state treasury. Internal controls
were put in place to safeguard us from repeating some of these issues in the future. Through the
Attorney General’s Office, some high level lawsuits were filed.
We experienced some cash flow issues toward the end of FY 16. Nevertheless, we did not experience
any cashless paydays nor did we fail to pay for our obligations to our partners. We reserved 20% of our
operations budget to ensure that we closed FY 16 without any outstanding obligations.
During this reporting period, we received $200,000 from the Caroline Fisheries Corporation as a
shareholder. This amount doubled during FY 2017. We are thankful to CFC and look forward to ways to
improve our working relationships.
All investments and savings under the name of Pohnpei State stand at $21,218,830. The Director of
Treasury and Administration is looking at other option to invest these funds.
Department of Public Safety
The protection of the public peace has always been a great expectation of any government. Given our
limited means, we can expect occasions of demand for this public service to exceed our means to
provide such service.
During this reporting period the following major accomplishments were noted:
18 officers trained in Hazardous Materials First Responders Operations
6 Officers attended Maritime Search and Rescue training by the USGG.
19 Officers and ambulance drivers completes the Emergency Medical Response Training.
9-1-1 EMD system completed
Received a new pickup truck
3 rescued conducted
Division of Police and Security:
Total cases reported - 1,911
Total cases closed - 1,579
Total cases pending - 332
Vehicles Registrations - 5,355
Drivers Licenses issued - 1,901
Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation:
Total inmates - 1,760
o FSM inmates - 23
o Pohnpei State inmates - 1,354
o Municipal governments inmates - 0
o Inmates with mental disorders – 0
Division of Fish and Wildlife:
Inspected fish markets in Kolonia, Nett, Sokehs, Kitti and Madolenihmw for 30 days and 2 nights
Marine Protected Area (MPA) Patrol and monitoring (180 days and 14 nights):
o MPA’s at Black coral & Nahtik - 150 days and night for four months during grouper
o Sapwitik - 6 days and 3 nights
o Dekehos, (Mwand) – 6 days and 3 nights
o Palipohn Depek - 4 days and 3 nights
o Nan Wap - 4 days and 2 nights
o Namwen Na - 4 days and 2 nights
o Namwen Nahningi - 4 days and 1 night
o Palikir - 2 days
Conducted outreach awareness/outreach programs at:
o Cross site visit conducted at Ant Atoll between 5 MPA communities with more than 10
o 4 MPA marker delineate at Palikir Pass MPA
o Securing the MPA’s during sea cucumber harvest
o Outboard motors for 3 existing boats
o One 40HP engine
o Accessories for two 75HP engines
Department of Land
The following are the accomplishment by the Department of Land during FY 16:
Residential leases – 44
Navy leases – 19
Clearance permit issued – 10
Sites surveyed – 70
Historic sites surveyed – 6
Verification surveys to validate previous surveys – 27
Mr. Speaker, our Administration has inherited from previous administrations over 400 backlogs from
Kitti and Madolenihmw alone. We have yet to realize the total number of backlogs from the other
municipal jurisdictions. Backlogs refer to the pieces of land that have not been surveyed. Two teams
were already dispatched to clear this backlog.
Attorney General’s Office
The services of the Office of the Attorney General are highly utilized by this Administration. The
following are the statistical information from the office:
Legal advice rendered – 2,087
Rules and regulations developed – 3
Criminal cases – 421
Traffic cases – 704
Juvenile cases – 24
Mental incompetency cases – 12
Civil cases – 225
Investigations – 82
Articles of incorporation issued – 32
Notary public commissions – 5
Applications receiving review and clearance – 37
Investment report reviewed – 79
Collaboration with Police investigations – 204
The Attorney General’s Office will continue efforts to support the enforcement of our state laws and
Mr. Speaker, the Office of Public Affairs continues to liaise between our two branches of government.
Their services include liaising with the municipal governments, the traditional leaders and providing
public information. This same office liaises with our important partners such as the Peace Crop
Micronesia and other development partners stationed here on Pohnpei. Detailed report of
accomplishments is available in our annual report.
During this reporting period, our records indicate that a lot of new voters were registered. This increase
may have to do with the combination of our efforts to reach out to new voters as well as the increased
number of qualified voters. A total of 1,634 new voters were registered. The busiest times for this office
are during elections. However, the need to maintain the master registration list is an on-going need. The
new mandate from this Administration is for the election office to look into other voter management
systems utilizing appropriate technologies.
Pohnpei Transportation Authority
The Pohnpei Transportation Authority (PTA) was able to complete 39 paving projects during FY16 at the
total cost of $1.6 m. Twenty-nine road paving projects were allotted to PTA and 55 contractual services
for road paving projects were funded by the FSM National Government. We have been able to complete
90% of 2 road projects funded by the state government at the total cost of $180,000 and 2 projects from
the national government at the total amount of $525,000.
All state projects were completed during FY 16 with the acquisition of several pieces of vital construction
machinery during this reporting period from Japan Embassy. The pace of work has been greatly
accelerated due to the acquisition of better working equipment through assistance from the state and
national governments. A new asphalt plant has arrived and will be installed.
Pohnpei Housing Authority
During this reporting period, the following accomplishments were documented:
Construction Summary: Projects Completed
o Renovation projects completed – 32 projects; $517,418.90
o New constructions completed – 10 projects; $338,000
Financial Summary: 2016 Collection/Disbursement 2015 C/D
o Collection $719,956.55 $627,840.96
o New Construction $778,972.61 $458,364.37
Pohnpei State Housing Authority made history in its loan collection during this reporting period by
collecting $92,115.59 more than previous fiscal year. This was made possible through concentrated
efforts to meet with delinquent borrowers and coming up with payment plans.
To conclude this report, please allow me once again to thank the nahnmwarkis, nahnkens, likends,
nahnaleks and nahnkenieis for your presence here today. Thank you Mr. Speaker and honorable
members of the 9th Pohnpei Legislature, chief justice and all associate justices, the FSM National
Government leadership and members of the diplomatic corp. My gratitude also goes out to all
traditional nobles, the ecclesial communities, local governments, women and youth groups. My special
greetings to the elderly, the sick and also to all the inmates serving their terms. I thank all Pohnpeians
present here today as well as those on island and off island and those following up through our media
sources and social communications.
The world is changing. Pohnpei too must keep up with this pace of change. As individuals, we must
embrace change as the only constant in order for us to truly develop as peoples and as a state.
Kalahngan oh Kaselehlie.