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[Resource:Yap State Government News Briefs]

*For the events between 2010 to early 2012, please also check this online dossier.

[March 14, 2011] ETG Calls on Governor Anefal

At 9:00 am today, March 14, 2011, the representatives of the Exhibition and Travel Group (ETG) from the People’s Republic of China along with a representative of the FSM Embassy in Beijing met with the Governor at the Cabinet Room and discussed details of a tourism development project which the private company is hoping to bring into Yap within the next few years if things are worked out well between ETG and the State Government including other organizations, groups and entities.

Members of the visiting group include Mr. Haihao Sun, who is ETG International Marketing Representative and Head of Delegation, Mr. Gang Yang, Advisor and Mr. Vince Sivas, First Secretary of the FSM Embassy in Beijing, People’s Republic of China.

The ETG group is based in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province and has been in existence for over ten years specializing in hotels, exhibition and convention centers, property management, real estate development and tourism.

The purpose of the group’s visit to Yap is to explore possible investment opportunities in tourism sector. The company plans to build a convention center in Yap State, which will bring people from the Asia and the Pacific area to hold regional meetings in Yap.

Governor Anefal has informed the ETG group at the meeting this morning that the State has three top priority areas for development. These areas are in Fisheries, Agriculture and Tourism. He also told them that he has constantly been in contact with the FSM Diplomatic Office in Beijing requesting its assistance in promoting Yap’s tourism industry in China so potential investors can bring investment and other benefits to the people on these islands. He said he is now happy that this private company has expressed interest to invest in Yap State.

Governor Sebastian Anefal also joined the ETG group when it discussed the same investment issue with representatives of appropriate departments and agencies of the government including the private sector.

The Exhibition and Travel Group will continue to meet throughout the week with individual groups and organization to find out if Yap should be an ideal location for its investment project, which is believed to bring an increase to the number of visitors into Yap Island.

The ETG group will be flying out to Ulithi on Friday to explore the islands and meet with the Chiefs and the people before returning to Yap on the same day.

[March 21, 2011] ETG Ends Tour in Yap

Representatives of the Exhibition Travel Group (ETG) from the People’s Republic of China who came to Yap on a fact-finding mission have departed on Sunday following a trip to Falalop, Ulithi, on Friday, March 18, 2011.

The three member delegation from China consisted of Mr. Haihao Sun, ETG International Marketing Representative, Mr. Yang Gang, Director, China Sea International Travel Service, and Mr. Vince Sivas, First Secretary of the FSM Embassy in Beijing were accompanied to Ulithi on the PMA by Governor Sebastian Anefal and Assistant Protocol Officer John Hasmai where they met and discussed with the Chiefs, the purpose of their visit to the Atoll and how the company intends to bring investment to the islands should things work out fine according to their plan.

The investment plan has been in collaboration between the FSM Embassy in Beijing, People’s Republic of China and the ETG, an investment group based in Chengdu, a city in Sichuan Province, which has been in existence for over ten years now specializing in hotels, exhibition and convention centers, property management, real estate development and tourism among others.

During the meeting in Ulithi on Friday, the Chiefs of Falalop, Ulithi who were present at that time have told the members of the Chinese delegation that they really appreciate their plan and that they will look forward to assist them in the near future. The group was taken on an island tour before returning back to Yap late in the afternoon.

Upon arrival in Yap that evening, the ETG hosted a dinner reception for the State Leadership at the Marina Grill and Bar Restaurant where they bit <sic!> farewell to all who assisted them one way or another by making their trip to Yap on fact-finding mission fruitful and successful.

The Exhibition and Travel Group ended its fact-finding mission in Yap following a ride on the PMA plane on Saturday at which time they took aerial photos of the Main Island as part of the data that they have been collecting since their arrival on Sunday, March 13, 2011.

The company will decide on whether or not it will accept the proposal to invest in the state of Yap after it reviews the team’s report on their finding.

[June 16, 2011] ETG Group Heads Back to China

The charter plane bearing the ETG (Exhibition & Travel Group) representatives arrived today at 1:00 PM after returning from a trip to Samoa. The plane stopped by Yap for refueling at the airport before heading back to China.

After the representatives from the ETG left Yap last Sunday, they visited Pohnpei where they met with the FSM President and key National officials. A party from the FSM National Government, which included the President, left with the ETG to visit the South Pacific nation of Samoa. After meeting with the Samoan leadership, the plane returned to China via the FSM.

Yap State Government officials were present at the airport when the plane arrived for refueling today. After nearly a couple of hours of refreshing and refueling, the ETG embarked the charter plane for their trip back to headquarters.

The Exhibition & Travel Group is expected to return to Yap after a month.

[August 4, 2011] ETG Begins Tour of Yap Island

The Chinese Exhibition and Travel Group (ETG) has begun its tour in Yap by taking a boat ride to the northern part of the island on Wednesday August 3, 2011 where they visited the Yap Cultural Center at Bechiyal, Maap during lunch break yesterday.

The group spent several hours on the beach in Maap before they return back to Colonia in the evening. Technical Experts from the ETG have also avail their time yesterday by meeting with the Yap State Public Service Corporation to discuss the detail of its service which is part of ETG’s plan to assist YSPSC by increasing the load capacity of its power plant to accommodate the demand that will come about as a result of its proposed multi-million development project on the island.

The Chinese Exhibition and Travel Group (ETG) hosted a dinner reception for the government at the Yap Pacific Dive Resort Cave <sic!> & Bar Restaurant in the evening.

Part of the activities scheduled for the ETG today included a tour of the Cultural Center in Kaday village, a tourist site in Weloy municipality and Sunset Drinks at Malay where members of the group have enjoyed their drinks as they spent time on the beach watching the sunset from the Kanifay Recreational Park.

The ETG and the officials from the Chengdu government will continue with their schedule on Friday August 5th before they depart from Yap on Saturday August 6th, 2011.

[September 6, 2011]

GOVERNOR SEEKS TO ESTABLISH ETG TASKFORCE

The Governor issued a communication to the State Leadership in an act to establish a taskforce to deal with the ETG development plans in Yap. In his communication, the Governor requests members for the ETG Work Group from the respective branches of the government.

In the last State Leadership meeting in August 16, 2011, it was agreed that a taskforce would be formed with the assignment of identifying available land for the use in development by the Exhibition & Travel Group (ETG) of China.

Governor Sebastian L. Anefal communicated that the group will consist of five members; one member representing the Executive, two members from the Legislature, one member from the Council of Pilung, and one member from the Council of Tamol. The group is tasked to identify and describe suitable land parcels for development, recommend what type of development (hotel, beach expansion, golf course, etc.) is suitable for each identified land parcel, and make recommendations on what land parcels should not be developed in relation to their ecological, historical, and cultural importance to the people of Yap. The group will then compose a final report of their findings to be presented to the State Leadership on November 30, 2011.

As soon as the Legislature and Councils submit their representatives and all five members are confirmed, the Work Group will begin its task.

[October 5, 2011] Chinese Investors Plan Major Hotel in Yap

Hagåtña, Guam (Marianas Variety) – A development proposal which would dwarf anything so far seen in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) has been proposed by Chinese investors for Yap, the closest FSM state to Guam.

As reported in the Oct. 3 edition of Kaselehlie Press, a biweekly newspaper published in the Pohnpei, a private investor group called the Exhibit and Travel Group (ETG), from Chengdu in Sichuan Province, in the People’s Republic of China, has met with Yap officials to discuss the proposal. The development could involve as many as eight to 10 hotel complexes with up to 4,000 guest rooms which, if approved, could be ready for occupancy in 2015. The plans actually envision an ultimate total of 20,000 rooms — more than twice the number currently available on Guam.

The ETG proposal involves what they call a “world-class island international tourism resort” with convention centers, casinos and entertainment centers, and from eight to 15 golf courses. The implementation of such a large-scale project would require a vastly improved infrastructure in Yap. Anticipating that, ETG says they will improve the transportation system in order to “satisfy the need of large passenger jets,” and the expansion of ports “to satisfy the need of international tourism and shipment.”

An ETG entourage headed by Chairman Dèng Hóng flew into Yap in August on a chartered plane to meet with the Yap leadership. The state government has not agreed to any development plans but, according to the article by Yap correspondent Arlynne Chugen in the Kaselehlie Press, Gov. Sebastian Anefal has called for the formation of a task force of the Yap State Legislature and chief’s council members to “identify and describe each land parcel that is suitable for development, its relative size, and who owns it; recommend the types of development (hotel, teach expansion, golf course, etc.) most compatible for each identified parcel of land; and identify such land areas that are so ecologically, historically and culturally important to the people of Yap that they should be exempted from development plans.”

In addition to consensus decisions within the “work group,” the government would need to work out some major current roadblocks to such a large-scale project. For example, ETG’s proposal to build casinos would require changes in Yap law, which currently prohibits gambling.

In a presentation, ETG said its proposed development will highlight the long history of the indigenous Yapese culture, adding a unique ethnic element to sightseeing. The completion of the project will make tourism the key industry in the FSM, but the investors say they will also promote the development of agriculture, fisheries, crop farming and other industries.

No dollar amounts are mentioned in the article, but such a development can expect to run into the billions of dollars. It would also enable mainland Chinese tourists to fly directly into Yap, bypassing Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The next scheduled session of the Yap State Legislature is not until January, but the working group formed by the governor is considering the huge development proposal.

[January 11, 2012] ETG Pays Visit To Yap

A team from the Chinese Exhibition and Travel Group in Chendu, Peoples Republic of China has arrived on a visit to the State of Yap yesterday January 10, 2012.

The team is led by Mr. Dèng Hóng, Chairman of the Chinese Exhibition and Travel Group in Chendu (ETG), People’s Republic of China.

The group arrived at Yap International Airport at around 6:00 pm yesterday and went thru Immigration and Custom proper procedures before they proceeded to the Pacific Diver’s Club Hotel in Colonia where they will stay during their visit.

While in Yap the ETG is scheduled to make tour of the island and meet with traditional leaders as well as the local chiefs to find out the status of its proposed investment project in the State.

The group is expected to return to mainland China on its private plane during the weekend.

[January 13, 2012] Yap Traditional Council Signs MOU with ETG

Members of the State Leadership were on hand to witness and help officiate the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Yap Council of Pilung and ETG during a ceremony held at the Dining Room of the Yap Pacific Dive Resort at 5:00 pm on Thursday, January 12, 2012.

The signing of the MOU by the Honorable Bruno Tharngan, Chairman of the Traditional Council of Pilung, and Mr. Dèng Hóng, Chairman of the Exhibition & Travel Group, based at Chengdu city in Sichuan Province, People’s Republic of China, signifies the beginning of an investment offer by the ETG.

With the MOU in place, ETG will open an office in Yap where people who owns land could make deal for their land parcels that could be used by ETG for the investment project.

The ETG Chairman delivered a remark after he and Chairman Bruno Tharngan signed the MOU last night.

Chairman of ETG, Mr. Dèng Hóng and Chairman of Yap Council of Pilung, Chief Bruno Tharngan.

During his remark, Chairman Deng told the State Leadership that the signing of the MOU is both special and historical because this will move the proposed investment project forward.

He pointed out that this project will bring more benefits and improve the living standards of the people of the State. He said people would benefit from the money they receive under their land lease, employment that company will create and business opportunities for locals.

Chairman Deng also mentioned historical and cultural plans in which the company will build new villages where the local people could conduct business with visitors interested in the culture. The villages will serve as centers for local activities such as local dance performance, carvings, weaving, etc. The ETG plans to build several villages which will be given free to the communities so they could be used for daily activities by the local people.

The ETG has a plan to assist the State Government with its education and health development plan. He said the company could donate medical equipments and build facilities for the education system.

Before he concluded his remark, Chairman Deng told the State Leadership that the success of the project will depend on the development and improvement of the infrastructure in Yap, especially the International Airport so it could open up for direct flights between Yap and Asian countries including Japan and Korea.

In conclusion, the ETG chairman expressed his feeling towards the number of people in Yap infected by the Dengue Fever outbreak and wished for their speedy recovery. He presented a check in the amount of US$20,000 to Governor Anefal as a donation for medications for the people of the State.

Governor Sebastian Anefal, delivering a remark on behalf of Chairman Bruno Tharngan, first thanked Chairman Hong, CEO Liu and the rest of the ETG group for taking the time off from their busy schedule to visit and deliberate more with the people in Yap on the project.

The Governor also thanked members of the State Leadership who were able to make it to the ceremony and the Honorable Carl Apis, Chargé d’affaires of the FSM Embassy in Beijing, People’s Republic of China for his active role for the initiation of the project.

Governor began his remark by saying, “I join Chairman Deng in giving full recognition to the very special guests this evening. This moment is one at the same time historic in that the signing as we have witness of the MOU between ETG and the Council of Pilung signifies that we have taken one of the many steps going forward in as far as the ETG project is concerned.”

The Governor mentioned that although ETG and Yap State haven’t gone through the process of many papers to be reviewed, signed or approved, the signing of the MOU has given both Yap State and the ETG more anticipation on the project moving forward.

He said the project involves many things that we are not really clear on but as Chairman Deng has described, it is a dream and a dream must start somewhere. Governor Anefal added that we cannot do much on the project without the support and understanding of the FSM national government, which has a very important role to play.

He emphasized on the need for the people in the State Government as well as the people of the State to support and fully understand the benefits and other unforeseen impacts that the investment project will bring to the State so we could have control of both.

Before concluding his remark, Governor has mentioned that Yap and the FSM still have so many things to undertake before this project could be implemented.

The ETG will deal directly with the Council of Pilung on any issues concerning the implementation of the investment project with Yap State Government as facilitator and network safety.

The MOU signing ceremony at the Pacific Divers Resort ended following a dinner reception hosted by the ETG.

[January 18, 2012] COP and ETG Signs MOU

The signing of the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the Yap Traditional Council of Pilung (COP) and the Chinese Exhibition and Travel Group (ETG) at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 12, 2012 has signified the beginning of a unique tourism project that ETG proposed to invest in the State of Yap.

The MOU was signed by the Honorable Bruno Tharngan, Chairman of the Traditional Council of Pilung and Mr. Dèng Hóng , Chairman of Chengdu Century City New International Convention & Exhibition Center Company Ltd (ETG).

With the MOU in place, ETG will open an office in Yap where it could deal directly with the Council of Pilung and Chiefs on land issues regarding the investment project.

Following is the MOU signed between the Yap State Government and the Chinese company:

Memorandum of Understanding

between the Council of Pilung

of the State of Yap, Federated States of Micronesia

(“Council” hereafter)

and

Chengdu Century City New International

Convention and Exhibition Center Company Ltd.

(“ ETG” hereafter)

Whereas the government of the State of Yap and ETG agreed to develop a unique world renowned top grade tourism project in the State of Yap according to a master development plan to be developed, which will include without limitation planning, designing, construction, management, operations for tourism development related projects (the “Project” hereafter). The master plan will cover the development of tourism sites and activities on all appropriate Yap islands where feasible and viable.

Whereas ETG bears the intention to reconcile the development of the Project with the economic and social development of the local community of the State of Yap and the Council acknowledge the positive effect and benefit that the Project would bring to the local community and the State of Yap as a whole.

ETG and the Council (each as a Party and as Parties collectively) both agree as follows,

1.       ETG acknowledges and commits its full respect towards the tradition and customs of the State of Yap and undertakes that the development of the Project shall benefit the development of the local culture. ETG further undertakes to provide assistance and contributions in establishing necessary public facilities which will benefit the welfare of the local community.

2.       The Parties acknowledge that the role of ETG as the full scale developer of the tourism resource of the State of Yap. The Council hereby supports ETG regarding the development of the Project to the largest extent. The Council further agrees to give to ETG their full assistance regarding the acquisition of land lease.

3.       The Parties agree that the Member of the Council shall witness, in a written form, the execution of the land lease instruments between ETG and the land owners with respect to the lease of land located within the community that said Member is associated with.

4.       The Parties agree that the Member of the Council shall coordinate and mediate should any dispute arises between ETG and respective local community.

5.       For the purpose of reconciliation of future investment by other investors with the development of this Project and the State of Yap, the Council and ETG shall discuss investment by other future investors regarding potential effect and influence to the development of the Project and the State of Yap, which may be imposed by such investment when such investment is proposed. The Parties agree that they shall put their best efforts to reject and avoid any activities which may harm the environment, local tradition, culture and social development of the State of Yap.

6.       The Parties acknowledge that the development of this Project shall be carried out by the ETG in a manner that is consistent with the continuing economic and social viability of the local community. ETG agrees upon the request of the Council or the Chiefs at any time, ETG shall consult with the Council and the Chiefs to mutually establish plans and programs for the implementation of this objective, and thereafter ETG shall in good faith cooperate with the Council and the Chiefs in long term.

Signed,

For and on behalf of the Council of Pilung, the State of Yap

Bruno Tharngan Chairman

For and on behalf of the Chengdu Century City New International Convention and Exhibition Center Company, Ltd.

Dèng Hóng Authorized Representative

 

[January 20, 2012] Bordallo Wants China Visa Waiver For Guam

Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo says last week’s signing of an MOU between a Chinese developer and the Yap State Government underscores the need for a China visa waiver for Guam.

In reaction to the news of direct flight to Yap and the massive tourism development that is being planned there the Congresswoman released the following statement:

“The recent addition of direct flights to Yap from China highlights the importance and urgency of including Chinese visitors under the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program. I continue to work with Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, as well as our island leaders, to push for the inclusion of Chinese visitors. The Chinese market would be an important growth market for our tourism industry in the future.”

 

 

[January 26, 2012] Introduction of Resolution by Speaker Henry Falan

Resolution No. 8-29: A resolution respectfully requesting Governor to defer signing an investment agreement proposed by the ETG until such time when the people of the State of Yap have been fully informed about the proposal, and until the State Leadership has unanimously agreed that such proposal will be in the best interest and welfare of the people of the State of Yap. (Introduced by Henry Falan and assigned to CoW)

[February 23, 2012] Legislative Panal Holds Public Hearing

Today, February 23, 2012, the Committee on Resources, Education and Development of the 8th Legislature of the State of Yap held a public hearing with the representatives from the government to discuss the detail of an amendment measure which is still pending with the Committee.

The measure seeks to amend Title 22 of the Yap State Code by amending Chapter 3, on Foreign Investment Act, to establish a Foreign Investment Board, to provide technical amendments, and for other purposes.

According to the proponents of this particular measure, the current Investment Act does not have a Board and therefore, all the functions and responsibility rests with the Director of the Department of Resources and Development.

The Legislature is trying to create a board, which will protect the local businesses and at the same time bring in all the foreign investors who are interested to establish their businesses within the State of Yap. The proponents of the measure believe that a Foreign Investment Board should be created because it could make better decisions than a one person especially during the approval of business applications from outside investors.

During the discussions, government witnesses have raised questions as to whether a Foreign Investment Board is really needed at this point in time. Witnesses have expressed concerns that an Investment Board may delay the process for approval of business applications.

Others shared the experience the Marshalls had years back with investors from China and other countries that came and closed down all the local businesses in Majuro and had to restart again after they pulled out from their islands.

Some of the principle witnesses pointed out that the problem with Marshall was similar to other places where they allowed foreign investors to become citizens and earn the same right as the local to establish their businesses.

Others believed an Investment Board should be created in order to attract foreign investors to open up businesses in Yap. They explained that Foreign Investors are looking at places where their investments could be protected. They will have trust to invest their money in Yap if they see that a Board is in place to protect their investments.

Before they wrap up the public hearing, the RED Committee told the witnesses that they would take all their comments into consideration during their work on the Bill.

[March 8, 2012] Governor Responds To The YSL Over Resolution 8-29

In a letter to Speaker of the 8th Yap Legislature, Governor Sebastian Anefal explained the government’s position regarding the Chinese Exhibition and Travel Group’s (ETG) proposal for the development of Yap State’s tourism.

Resolution 8-29, which was adopted on January 26, 2012, was Legislature’s response to a January 19th meeting between the Government of the State of Yap and ETG in which the State Leadership “learned of an investment proposal offered by ETG…in the form of an investment agreement to be signed by the Governor of the State of Yap.”

The resolution further expressed the Legislature’s concern over the “magnitude” of the investment proposal which would potentially involve “millions of dollars and conceivably requiring vast areas of land throughout the State and would directly affect the lives and welfare of the people of Yap.”

To this end, the Legislature has “respectfully requested (the Governor) to defer signing an investment agreement proposed by the ETG until such time when the people of the State of Yap have been fully informed about the proposal…”

In response to this, Governor Anefal issued a letter to Speaker Falan dated February 28, 2012, which made clear that the State “has not entered into any investment agreement with ETG.” Further saying that, “currently there is no final agreement to execute.”

The Governor further stated “that there were no comments, suggestions, proposed revisions, or policy considerations communicated by the Legislature for inclusion in a counter-offer proposed by the State.” Furthermore, the Governor stated that the Legislature failed to comment on the informal counter-offer made by the State to the ETG for their consideration.

The Governor felt that “the process of negotiating a final agreement with ETG may be a lengthy one, and may involve communication of several drafts of an agreement…” and that “the most logical point and time to conduct any program of public education on the proposed ETG investment would be once the terms and conditions of an agreement have been largely finalized.”

Governor Anefal further expressed, “that as the elected leadership of the State we have a duty and responsibility to keep the people of the State informed about the actions of their government.”

The Governor ended his letter by inviting the Legislature to communicate their input in the ongoing negotiations, to collaborate in educating the communities, and to “present a unified resolute State leadership in any future dealings with ETG and others.”

[March 13, 2012] YSL Speaker Responds to Governor Over ETG Proposal

In response to Governor Anefal’s letter (www.yapstategov.org/News/03-2012/03-08-12.htm) to YSL dated February 28th, Speaker Henry Falan responded on behalf of the Legislature with the following statement:

Dear Governor Anefal:

Thank you for your letter of February 28, 2012 concerning the ETG proposed investment agreement for which a counter-offer, according to you, “has been transmitted to ETG for their consideration,” and also concerning the Yap State Resolution No. 8-29.

As you clearly pointed out in your letter, the Legislature did not forward any specific comments on the specifics of the unofficial copy of the proposed investment agreement which we received from your legal staff. Our reading of the unofficial copy, together with our unequivocal support for development, especially in the private sector, prompted the adoption of YSR 8-29 expressing the sense of the Legislature as a whole that a proposal of this magnitude requires the review and complete understanding of the State Leadership and the people of Yap. YSR 8-29 is merely requesting to “defer signing an investment agreement proposed by the ETG until such time when the people of the State of Yap have been fully informed about the proposal, and until the State Leadership has unanimously agreed that such proposal will be in the best interest and welfare of the people of the State of Yap.”

Since we learned of the proposed agreement during the January 19, 2012 State Leadership meeting, we took to heart with the understanding that a position will be taken on the proposal by consensus of the Leadership.

The proposed agreement specifies that “ ETG has executed the Strategic Framework Agreement with the government of the State of Yap,…, to develop a unique world renowned top grade tourism project according to a Master Investment Plan to be developed,….” The Leadership needs to review and discuss the proposed agreement along with the strategic framework agreement which is already signed, before making any decision for the most appropriate next course of action to take, if any. It appears that the proposal may require the use of privately owned land in Yap over which the State Government may not have any authority to commit to ETG for the project. Because of the potential requirement for lands NOT owned by the government, we must be extremely cautious and not respond in any way to the proposed agreement until we have fully informed the people whose lands and communities may be directly affected.

The government news brief of January 18, 2012, stated that the Chairman of the Council of Pilung had signed the MOU with ETG on Thursday, January 12, 2012; this has cause concern amongst the people of Yap as more people have been calling the Legislature to register their concern about ETG, and to find out more about the project which some people claim will be implemented in their own communities. People want to know what ETG is planning to do in Yap. Obviously, the Legislature does not have any information except the proposed investment agreement.

Although most of the specifics of the ETG matter may still be unknown or unclear to some, the known specifics such as the signed documents agreement should be shared with the people of Yap.

The Legislature through the Chairman of the Committee on Government, Health and Welfare, has asked for a copy of the MOU and copies of any other signed documents including the signed Strategic Framework Agreement; and to date we have not received any copy of any of these signed documents. An unsigned copy of the MOU between the Chairman of the Council of Pilung and ETG was given to us by a staff of the Council. If the signed document is in fact the same as the unsigned document, then we as elected leaders should defer taking further action until the people understand the possible direct affect that ETG activities could have on their lives. As you know, the MOU includes statements such as:

“The Parties [ ETG and Council of Pilung] acknowledge that the role of ETG as the full scale developer of the tourism resource of the State of Yap. The Council hereby supports ETG regarding the development of the Project to the largest extent. The Council further agrees to give to ETG their full assistance regarding the acquisition of land lease.” “The Parties agree that the Member of the Council shall witness, in a written form, the execution of the land lease instruments between ETG and the land owners with respect to the lease of land located within the community that said Member is associated with.” “The Parties agree that the Member of the Council shall coordinate and mediate should any dispute arises between ETG and respective local community.”

We all fully support economic development, and especially improvement and development of the private sector, but it must be done responsibly and in a sustainable manner. This would require transparency and informed decisions by all stakeholders and especially the people and communities whose lands will be required for the ETG project to become a reality.

In your letter you were asking if we have any questions regarding the “counter-offer,” and to work together moving forward. As much as I am grateful for working together moving forward, I also truly believe that the people of Yap must first be made aware of the things that their government is negotiating on their behalf. It is on behalf of the people of Yap that any moving forward will occur. The people of Yap are unequivocally sophisticated who need to be fully informed of government acts that are being contemplated to affect their lives. The people should be fully informed about what the State government may have agreed to and/or may be negotiating with ETG concerning the people’s lands and their communities. Hence, perhaps the “counter-offer” could be reconsidered and be referred to the State Leadership for assessment and appropriate next course of action.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Henry Falan Speaker

[April 11, 2012] Yap Legislature Receives Petition on ETG Proposal

The 8th Legislature of the State of Yap, on April 3rd, 2012, received a petition of over 1500 signatures of Yapese citizens, residents and interested parties expressing concerns regarding the development and investments being proposed by the Chinese Exhibition and Travel Group (ETG) for the State of Yap. It has been numbered as Miscellaneous Communication No. 8-126 and assigned to the Committee of the Whole.

In its English translation, the petition states:

            “We, the undersigned:

•           As residents of the State of Yap, are aware of the many economic problems facing this State and the country; and

•           Are also aware that there are potential economic development and investments being proposed by the Chinese Exhibition and Travel Group (ETG) for the State of Yap; and

•           Are concerned as to the full impact of such proposals on our people, traditions, culture, land, ocean, and identity; and

•           Are concerned and committed to the welfare of our people, communities and islands and we recognize the importance of all our people being fully informed and provided an opportunity to participate and submit their views in any and all discussions on the investment issue;

Therefore, we the undersigned:

•           Are hereby requesting the Government and the Leadership of the State of Yap, to fully inform, educate and disseminate to the general populace relevant information regarding the components, impact, and status of the proposed ETG investment in various mediums and forums;

•           That such mediums and forums be conducted thoroughly both in town and in all outlying villages and islands in a regular and frequent manner;

•           And that no further agreement and promises, both written and oral, be made by the Government and the Leadership of Yap, on said proposal by ETG until such time that the people of Yap have duly expressed their free will on the said proposal in a plebiscite to be funded by the Government of Yap.”

The petition is addressed to Speaker Henry Falan and according to the communication, copies were also made available to the Office of the Governor, Council of Pilung and the Council of Tamol by the petitioners.

[April 19, 2012] COP Sends Memo to ETG Chairman

In a memo to Chairman Dèng Hóng of the Chinese ETG Committee, Chairman Bruno Tharngan of the Council of Pilung stated the following:

“We are most happy to learn from the Governor that you and your delegations, both ETG and ExIm Bank, will be coming to Yap soon. We look forward to seeing you again for another opportunity to renew our acquaintance and, more significantly, to reaffirm our faith and understanding in the pursuit of a mutually beneficial long-term ETG investment in Yap State.

You are probably aware of recent rumblings and grumblings relating to our ongoing discussions on the ETG proposal. These are not to be constructed in any way as an indication of wavering or weakening of resolve on our part. Our position had not changed. We are still committed to our MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) now as we were when we signed it.

Looking forward with pleasure to seeing you soon,

With warmest and best regards,

Chairman Bruno Tharngan (signed)”

[April 20, 2012] Yap State Legislature Adopts Resolution 8-31

The 8th Yap State Legislature recently adopted Resolution 8-31, which states:

“Respectfully requesting the Exhibition Travel Group (ETG) to refrain from engaging in any further action in the State of Yap in connection with its plans to invest in the State until the Legislature has authorized that ETG may engage in further action in the State in connection with their investment plans to insure that such plans will be in the best interest and welfare of the people of the State of Yap.”

The Resolution was offered by Senators Henry Falan, Jesse Raglmar-SUBOLMAR, John E. Mooteb, Clement Mulalap, and Sabino S. Sauchomal and was adopted on April 19, 2012.

[April 23, 2012] Attorney General Leaves; Governor Appoints Acting AG

Last Friday, April 20, 2012, Governor Sebastian L. Anefal appointed Assistant Attorney General Jeremiah Luther as the Acting Attorney General.

Subsequent to a previous memo from the Lt. Governor and pursuant to Title 3, section 152 of the Yap State Code, Assistant AG Jeremiah Luther was officially appointed Acting AG. He will carry on his duties as Acting AG for 90 days until the successful appointment of a new AG.

The Attorney General, Michael Nigrey, resigned his position and left Yap for the U.S. due to an unexpected family-related issue.

[April 25, 2012] State Leadership Welcomes President of EXIM Bank

The Yap State Leadership and the FSM National Government jointly hosted a welcoming dinner reception at the Yap Pacific Dive Resort Restaurant upon arrival of a Delegation from the Export-Import Bank of China in Yap yesterday April 24, 2012.

The group from the People’s Republic of China consists the Head of Delegation, Mr. Li Ruogu, President/Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of China, Mr. Wu Shaohau, General Manager of Corporate Business Department of the Export-Import Bank, Mr. Fei Zhaohui, General Manager of the International Business Department of the Export-Import Bank, Mr. Liu Weifeng, Vice Governor Chengdu Sub-Branch of the Export-Import Bank, Mr. Zhang Jianchu, Chairman China Road and Bridge Corporation, Mr. Li Chaoyang, Vice President China Machinery Engineering Corporation, Mr. Shi Yingtao, Vice General Manager China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd, and two staff, Mr. Liu Qiang, Executive Officer of the Export-Import Bank and Mr. Yao Zhanhong, International Department of the Export – Import Bank.

Attending the reception on behalf of the State Government were Governor Sebastian Anefal, Speaker Henry Falan, Vice Speaker Ted Rutun, Chairman Bruno Tharngan of the Council of Pilung and Vice Chairman and Treasurer Thomas Falngin of the Council of Pilung and other state government officials.

On the national side were the representatives of the President Mr. Marion Henry, Secretary of the Department of Resources & Development and Mr. Akillino Susaia, FSM Ambassador in Beijing who arrived with the ETG from Chengdu.

Both Governor Anefal and Chairman Li Ruogu made short statements during the welcoming reception last night.

Governor Anefal in his opening remark welcomed both the Export – Import Bank and ETG groups to Yap. “I believe this is history in the making most especially for the Chairman of Export/Import Bank of the People’s Republic of China to have come to the State of Yap, FSM,” said Anefal. “On behalf of the government of the State of Yap, I continue encourage and welcome you to the State of Yap for further acquaintance, negotiation on the “business” deal of ETG. Our door has never been closed to any Foreign Investor and we welcome all foreign friends to the State of Yap,” Anefal said.

In his statement, Chairman Li Ruogu thanked the governor and the people of Yap for the warm welcoming since at the arrival at the Yap International Airport yesterday late in the afternoon. “This is not my first time to have dealt with people of the nation of Micronesia. I have, in my capacity, met and worked with other fellow Micronesians earlier in my career where our Bank provided funds to a certain project of the FSM,” said Mr. Ruogu. “Chairman Deng of the ETG and his proposal in the FSM made it more important for us to consider the project of ETG thus our visit this time to meet and get to know more about the people of the nation especially in Yap State. “We” as people of both of our countries are not only friends through our political ties. Someone long time ago told me that Micronesians came from China,” jokingly stated by Chairman Ruogu. In his final statement Mr. Ruogu thanked the Chairman of Council of Pilung for their show of support towards the private entity of ETG in China and look forward to more collaborative efforts between the two parties. The delegation from the Export–Import Bank will be departing from Yap this evening to attend other important meetings in Indonesia and other places.

The delegation from Chengdu is scheduled to depart for Pohnpei on Thursday where they will meet with President Emmanuel Mori and continue from where they left their discussions during their first visit to Pohnpei before the Signing of a MOU between FSM and China.

Ambassador Akillino Susaia and Secretary Marion Henry will be accompanying the ETG on their trip to Pohnpei. The ETG will return to Yap on their private plane late Thursday before they continue on to China.

[May 7, 2012] Yap Community Town Hall Meeting (Announcement)

A very important meeting has been scheduled for two hours on Friday, May 18, 2012 to discuss the proposed tourism investment in Yap by a Chinese group known as the Exhibition and Travel Group (ETG).

The Governor of the State of Yap the Honorable Sebastian Anefal has respectfully invited all the people to meet with him and members of his cabinet on Friday, May 18, 2012 from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm at the Community Center in Colonia.

As the proposed tourism investment project by the ETG will be the focus of discussion during the meeting, everyone will be given the chance to voice their concerns regarding the investment plan so Governor and his cabinet could answer their questions and explain in detail how ETG plans to implement the proposed investment project.

The State Governor is encouraging all employers to allow their employees the opportunity to participate so they could share their thoughts, ideas and concerns with him and his cabinet.

All non-essential government personnel have been requested to be allowed to take part in the very important discussion.

This will be the first time that the government has scheduled a forum discussion with the people of Yap on the ETG proposed investment project.

However, the ETG has earlier conducted several meetings with groups in the government and other communities in Yap to educate them on the investment plan.

Note: This meeting has been rescheduled to May 21, 2012.

[May 22, 2012] Yap Holds Discussion on ETG Proposed Investment Project

On May 21, 2011from 2:30-4:30 pm, the Government of the State of Yap held its first open forum with the people to discuss the proposed development project in Yap by an Investment Company known as “Exhibition and Travel Group” (ETG) which is based in Chengdu city, Peoples Republic of China.

The public forum was conducted at the Colonia Community Center yesterday by a group of Government employees who are updated on the current status of the negotiations between the State Government and ETG.

The group consists Mr. Jeremiah Luther, Acting Attorney General for the State of Yap, Former Governor Vincent Figir who is now the Director of the Department of Public Works & Transportation, Mr. Frank Haregaichig, Director of the Department Resources and Development, Mr. Ruotpong Pongliyab, Director of the Department of Youth & Civic Affairs, Mr. John Paul Fattamag, Acting Director of EPA, and Mr. Vitus Foneg, Division Chief of Commerce & Industry.

Mr. Luther, who led the discussions yesterday, told the crowd that the Government has signed several documents with ETG. “On April 21st of last year the Governor signed the strategic framework of Cooperation between the government of the State of Yap and ETG. The framework is a document pledging cooperation between the State of Yap and ETG. The Government agreed to attempt to help ETG make its project in the State. ETG promised that its project would not harm the economy, traditions, health or environment of the State of Yap or its people.”

Mr. Luther said the Framework does not mean that ETG will get whatever it want from the Governor nor it does not mean that the Governor, Legislature or Court of Yap are forced to support ETG’s proposed project.

The Acting Attorney General said “On October 21st 2011, the Director of the Department of Youth & Civic Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ETG on behalf of the State. This document simply commits both parties to continue to communicate and negotiate in good faith regarding specific needs of the project. This Framework nor the Memorandum of Understanding forces the State to approve the project or sign any agreement including an Investment Agreement.”

He also stated, “On January 12 of this year, the Council of Pilung signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Council and ETG. The Council pledges its support for ETG’s proposed development and agrees to act as mediator between landowners and ETG regarding Land Lease.”

The situation on current negotiations regarding specific sections of the latest investment agreement there’s still some big issues that must be discussed and resolved. Before a final version of the Investment Agreement is to be put before the Legislature, the Governor staff must be consulted regarding the specifics prior to the review and approval by the Governor. Once the document is finalized, a copy would be sent to the Legislature for their review and comments.

Web Administrator’s Note: Adding to the news brief, followings are also heard from Mr. Jeremiah Luther, Acting Attorney General, during the meeting:

1) It is highly recommended to consult with a lawyer who helps on your side before entering any agreement with ETG, because there are top class lawyers working for ETG on their side. 2) If anyone witnesses or experiences of bribery, please contact Mr. Jeremiah Luther directly. This thing needs to be investigated. 3) He agreed to plan similar meetings in the village communities.

[June 5, 2012] Catholic Social Teaching & Human Rights

The Vicariate Justice and Development Office, Vicariate Office of Yap Catholic Mission is inviting everyone in Yap to attend a three-day workshop which is scheduled to take place at the Small Business Development Center Conference from June 13-15, 2012.

The purpose of the workshop is to teach and provide awareness for the people on the following questions.

1.         What is authentic human development?

2.         What should economic development do or not do?

3.         What are my rights as a human being?

The three-day workshop will give the people an opportunity to discuss pertinent development issues such as the proposed Chinese plan of development for Yap State.

Fr. Gregory Muckenhaupt, SJ., a priest of the New York Province of the Society of Jesus working in Micronesia for the past twenty-five years, will help facilitate the workshop by leading the people in their discussions.

The Vicariate Office aims to provide response to those questions so people could have a better understanding and be able to make decision on their own.

In the meantime, the Vicariate Office-Catholic Mission in Yap is encouraging everyone to attend as there is no charge for this workshop.

For clarification, contact the Vicariate Office at telephone number 350-7273 during working hours.

[June 21, 2012] YSL Public Hearing On ETG Developments*

The Standing Committee on Government, Health and Welfare has scheduled a public hearing to be held at the Legislature Chamber on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 on Governor Communication No. 8-176 respectively.

Governor Communication No. 8-176 is a document concerning ETG’s proposed economic development in the State of Yap.

Principle witnesses include Governor Sebastian Anefal, Acting Attorney General, Jeremiah B. Luther and Director of the Department of Resources and Development, Frank Haregaichig. The Government, Health and Welfare Committee had also invited the public to attend so they could offer their testimonies following the key witnesses.

* Mr. Henry Norman’s Comment on the news: Unfortunately, this “hearing” never took place (and the document “Governor Communication No. 8-176” is still a Yap State secret… (HN)

[July 2, 2012] Legislature Holds Session

Resource

The 8th Legislature of the State of Yap has held the 17th Session Day of its Second Regular Session at the Legislature Chamber today, July 02, 2012 with all members present.

The Legislature adopted the Journal of the 16th Session Day held on June 8, 2012 before they entertained several messages that they received from the Governor during the session today.

Governor has transmitted six communications to the Legislature in which all have been assigned to appropriate Committees for further study and investigation.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-175: Transmitting from the Governor to the Speaker, the Compact Impact Issues considered at the Margins of the Micronesian Chief Executive Summit held in Guam in March of 2012.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-176: Transmitting from the Governor to the Speaker, ETG documents for information and input to the Legislature of five (5) sets of documents, including a copy of Acting Attorney General’s letter dated May 28, 2012.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-177: A letter to the Speaker from the Governor regarding a Long-Term Fiscal Framework (LTFF) for the entire nation.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-178: A letter to the Speaker from the Governor on Development of the Yap State Long-Term Fiscal Framework (LTFF): 2014-2023 and beyond.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-179: A letter from the Governor to the Speaker, nominating Maria Laaw as Yap’s Representative to the Board of Directors of the Unified Revenue Authority.

Gov. Comm. No. 180: A letter from the Governor to the Speaker regarding the Final Draft report by DOI to the US Congress on the First 5 Year Review of the Amended Compact of Free Association Treaty.

The Legislature also received one communication under item 7 on the agenda, which is Communications from Heads of Departments of the State of Yap Government.

Dept. Comm. No. 8-18: A letter to the Speaker from the Acting Attorney General, submitting a complete copy of the “Strategic Framework of Cooperation between the Government of the State of Yap of the Federated States of Micronesia and The Exhibition and Travel Group, China” Agreement. This particular communication had been assigned to the Government, Health and Welfare Committee of the Legislature.

One Bill and one Resolution were introduced in today’s session at the request of the Government.

Bill No. 8-77: A BILL FOR AN ACT, to amend Title 14 of the Yap State Code by amending sections 102, 112, 113, and 142 thereof to divest responsibility for refuse collection and disposal from the Yap State Public Service Corporation, by amending section 121 thereof to continue the expired term of a member of the Board of Directors until his successor has been nominated and confirmed, by amending section 132 thereof to repeal the restriction against cross-subsidy of the cost of power production, and by amending section 142 thereof to establish a base tariff for non-fuel cost, and a fuel cost component of the tariff to replace the fuel surcharge, and for other purposes.

Resolution No. 8-64: A RESOLUTION, Confirming Maria Laaw as a member of the Board of Directors of the Unified Revenue Authority.

Both measures have been assigned to appropriate standing committees.

The Legislature adopted two Standing Committee Reports on two Resolutions which were up for final consideration of the Legislature today. However, the Legislature did not adopt the third Standing Committee Report on the only Bill Calendared for first reading in today’s Session. Bill No. 8-56, D1 proposes to amend certain sections of the Yap State Code on Foreign Investment to establish a Foreign Investment Board. After a brief discussion on the report, the Legislature decided to reconsider the Bill in their next session.

Under Resolution Calendar, the Legislature confirmed only one of the two resolutions concerning Governor’s nominations to the Board of Directors of the Yap State Public Service Corporation.

The only legislation passed by the Legislature today is Resolution No. 8-59, A RESOLUTION, Confirming John Hasmai to serve as a member on the Board of Directors of the Yap State Public Service Corporation.

However, it failed to pass the second legislation which is on Resolution No. 8-58, A RESOLUTION, Confirming John Malmai to serve as a member on the Board of Directors of the Yap State Public Service Corporation.

The Legislature received a number of Miscellaneous Communications under Petitions, Memorials and Communications on the agenda and assigned them to the appropriate committees.

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 145: An e-mail to the Speaker from Gillian N. Doone, Assistant Director, Overseas Development Assistance, SBOC Office, regarding the Overseas Development Assistance State Consultation meetings. (RED)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 146: An e-mail from the Yap Chamber of Commerce to the Legislature requesting a Courtesy Call visit with Mr. Chris LaFranchi and Ms. Whitney Anderson. (For Information)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 147: A letter to the Speaker from Peter Rebeuluch, Chief, Division of Youth Services regarding the 2012 Yap State Youth Summit. (GHW)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 148: Transmitting to the Speaker from the Chairman of the Yap Day Committee, a copy of the Report on findings of Yap Day 2012. (Finance)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 149: A letter to the Speaker from Jonathan Pinkaney – Baird, Member 2012 National Law Day Coordinating Committee, seeking assistance from the individuals and the businesses and members of the FSM Bar for Monetary donations. (GHW)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 150: A letter from Ambassador Zhang Weidong of the People’s Republic of China to the FSM, informing the Speaker of his completed tenure as the Chinese Ambassador to the FSM, and leaves for China on July 9, 2012. (For Information)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 151: A letter to the Speaker from the Exhibition and Travel Group Working Team informing the Speaker of the Chairman of ETG, Mr. Deng Hong’s visit to Yap and requesting to meet with the Speaker and members of the Legislature on the Development Project in Yap State. (CoW)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 152: A letter to the Speaker from the Exhibition and Travel Group Working Team asking for conformation on a convenient time for the Legislature to meet with Mr. Deng Hong, Chairman of ETG; and also requesting another meeting with the Speaker and members to meet with delegation members of ETG, Mr. David B. Cohen and Mr. Paul Conway. (CoW)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 153: A copy of a letter to the Governor from the Yap State Public Auditor regarding Yap Fishing Authority’s audit for fiscal year ending September, 2011. (Finance)

Prior to adjournment, the Legislature took a recess to freely discuss their opinions and positions on Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 151. The Legislature decided when they continued their meeting that those among them who agreed to meet with the ETG should come up with a place where they could have their meeting with ETG.

The Legislature has scheduled another meeting to be held on Thursday, July 5, 2012 before it adjourned the meeting today.

[June 29, 2012] Legislature To Discuss Meeting With ETG Chairman

Tablaw, Colonia (8th Yap State Legislature)—The members of the Legislature met in the Committee of the Whole to discuss the request by ETG to meet with ETG Chairman Deng Hong.

In a letter date June 26, 2012 from ETG to Speaker Falan, the Speaker was informed that Mr. Deng Hong, Chairman of ETG will be in Yap from July 4 to July 9th and that he would like to have a meeting with the Speaker and members of the Legislature on the Development Project in Yap State.

The Committee of the Whole, Chaired by Vice Speaker Ted Rutun, to which the communication was assigned, convened a meeting at 2 p.m. yesterday afternoon for members to discuss the ETG letter and the request for meeting by Deng Hong.

The meeting discussion took some time because the request by ETG for Mr. Deng Hong to meet with members of the Legislature is at best awkward in view of the positions that the Legislature has taken and most especially the adoption of Resolution no. 8-31 in which the Legislature informed ETG to hold all efforts to carry out its investment in Yap until such time that the people of Yap have become informed about the ETG Project and are able to make decision and express their free will and views on the ETG Project. This position is in line with the Petition of the People to the Government asking the Government to refrain from further action with ETG on its investment project in Yap until the people are informed and are aware of the component and impact of the ETG Project on Yap and the lives of the people and to exercise their free will and decision on the Project.

The Legislature has essentially told Mr. Deng Hong to stay away or stop dealing with Yap to allow our people to learn and become aware of the impact of the ETG Project on the customs and traditions, environment and the lives of the people and so how can the Legislature now decide to meet with Mr. Deng Hong. Generally all members agreed that ETG and Mr. Deng Hong know the Yap State Legislature’s position and yet why they are so persistent in their approach. Some say they are persistent because others are working with them and convincing them that the ETG Project is OK, despite the lack of public awareness.

A number of members said that “if we agree are to meet Mr. Deng Hong that meeting must be undertaken as an opportunity for the Legislature to restate firmly its positions.” The Legislative positions are not against ETG but for ETG to stop until the people of the State of Yap are informed and become aware of the components and impact of the ETG Project on Yap and their lives and future, so they can express their free will and make their decision.

Other members said that the opportunity is for the members to get more information from Mr. Deng Hong, while others felt that what is needed is for the opportunity to make sure that Mr. Deng Hong understands the positions of the Legislature.

A number of the members pointed out that the Legislature has made its position clear and meeting Mr. Deng Hong is contrary to those positions and perhaps the members should not even meet with Mr. Deng Hong, because he has not taken heed of the expressed position and intent of the Legislature.

In the end, although a number of members were not persuaded, the members agreed that meeting Mr. Deng Hong will not alter the positions of the Legislature but it will allow for more information and the opportunity for the Legislature to firmly and clearly assert its position with Mr. Deng Hong.

A decision was finally reached to have the meeting with Mr. Deng Hong to get more information and to reassert the positions of the Legislature to him. The members agreed that the meeting be broadcast live to permit the public to listen in on the meeting and perhaps call in their questions. There were expressed concerns about the broadcast in that the FM radio signal does not reach many areas on the main island of Yap and also to ensure that Yapese people abroad are able to listen and call in their questions during meetings and Public Hearings.

[July 2, 2012] Legislature Holds Session

The 8th Legislature of the State of Yap has held the 17th Session Day of its Second Regular Session at the Legislature Chamber today, July 02, 2012 with all members present.

The Legislature adopted the Journal of the 16th Session Day held on June 8, 2012 before they entertained several messages that they received from the Governor during the session today.

Governor has transmitted six communications to the Legislature in which all have been assigned to appropriate Committees for further study and investigation.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-175: Transmitting from the Governor to the Speaker, the Compact Impact Issues considered at the Margins of the Micronesian Chief Executive Summit held in Guam in March of 2012.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-176: Transmitting from the Governor to the Speaker, ETG documents for information and input to the Legislature of five (5) sets of documents, including a copy of Acting Attorney General’s letter dated May 28, 2012.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-177: A letter to the Speaker from the Governor regarding a Long-Term Fiscal Framework (LTFF) for the entire nation.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-178: A letter to the Speaker from the Governor on Development of the Yap State Long-Term Fiscal Framework (LTFF): 2014-2023 and beyond.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-179: A letter from the Governor to the Speaker, nominating Maria Laaw as Yap’s Representative to the Board of Directors of the Unified Revenue Authority.

Gov. Comm. No. 180: A letter from the Governor to the Speaker regarding the Final Draft report by DOI to the US Congress on the First 5 Year Review of the Amended Compact of Free Association Treaty.

The Legislature also received one communication under item 7 on the agenda, which is Communications from Heads of Departments of the State of Yap Government.

Dept. Comm. No. 8-18: A letter to the Speaker from the Acting Attorney General, submitting a complete copy of the “Strategic Framework of Cooperation between the Government of the State of Yap of the Federated States of Micronesia and The Exhibition and Travel Group, China” Agreement. This particular communication had been assigned to the Government, Health and Welfare Committee of the Legislature.

One Bill and one Resolution were introduced in today’s session at the request of the Government.

Bill No. 8-77: A BILL FOR AN ACT, to amend Title 14 of the Yap State Code by amending sections 102, 112, 113, and 142 thereof to divest responsibility for refuse collection and disposal from the Yap State Public Service Corporation, by amending section 121 thereof to continue the expired term of a member of the Board of Directors until his successor has been nominated and confirmed, by amending section 132 thereof to repeal the restriction against cross-subsidy of the cost of power production, and by amending section 142 thereof to establish a base tariff for non-fuel cost, and a fuel cost component of the tariff to replace the fuel surcharge, and for other purposes.

Resolution No. 8-64: A RESOLUTION, Confirming Maria Laaw as a member of the Board of Directors of the Unified Revenue Authority.

Both measures have been assigned to appropriate standing committees.

The Legislature adopted two Standing Committee Reports on two Resolutions which were up for final consideration of the Legislature today. However, the Legislature did not adopt the third Standing Committee Report on the only Bill Calendared for first reading in today’s Session. Bill No. 8-56, D1 proposes to amend certain sections of the Yap State Code on Foreign Investment to establish a Foreign Investment Board. After a brief discussion on the report, the Legislature decided to reconsider the Bill in their next session.

Under Resolution Calendar, the Legislature confirmed only one of the two resolutions concerning Governor’s nominations to the Board of Directors of the Yap State Public Service Corporation.

The only legislation passed by the Legislature today is Resolution No. 8-59, A RESOLUTION, Confirming John Hasmai to serve as a member on the Board of Directors of the Yap State Public Service Corporation.

However, it failed to pass the second legislation which is on Resolution No. 8-58, A RESOLUTION, Confirming John Malmai to serve as a member on the Board of Directors of the Yap State Public Service Corporation.

The Legislature received a number of Miscellaneous Communications under Petitions, Memorials and Communications on the agenda and assigned them to the appropriate committees.

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 145: An e-mail to the Speaker from Gillian N. Doone, Assistant Director, Overseas Development Assistance, SBOC Office, regarding the Overseas Development Assistance State Consultation meetings. (RED)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 146: An e-mail from the Yap Chamber of Commerce to the Legislature requesting a Courtesy Call visit with Mr. Chris LaFranchi and Ms. Whitney Anderson. (For Information)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 147: A letter to the Speaker from Peter Rebeuluch, Chief, Division of Youth Services regarding the 2012 Yap State Youth Summit. (GHW)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 148: Transmitting to the Speaker from the Chairman of the Yap Day Committee, a copy of the Report on findings of Yap Day 2012. (Finance)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 149: A letter to the Speaker from Jonathan Pinkaney – Baird, Member 2012 National Law Day Coordinating Committee, seeking assistance from the individuals and the businesses and members of the FSM Bar for Monetary donations. (GHW)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 150: A letter from Ambassador Zhang Weidong of the People’s Republic of China to the FSM, informing the Speaker of his completed tenure as the Chinese Ambassador to the FSM, and leaves for China on July 9, 2012. (For Information)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 151: A letter to the Speaker from the Exhibition and Travel Group Working Team informing the Speaker of the Chairman of ETG, Mr. Deng Hong’s visit to Yap and requesting to meet with the Speaker and members of the Legislature on the Development Project in Yap State. (CoW)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 152: A letter to the Speaker from the Exhibition and Travel Group Working Team asking for conformation on a convenient time for the Legislature to meet with Mr. Deng Hong, Chairman of ETG; and also requesting another meeting with the Speaker and members to meet with delegation members of ETG, Mr. David B. Cohen and Mr. Paul Conway. (CoW)

Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 153: A copy of a letter to the Governor from the Yap State Public Auditor regarding Yap Fishing Authority’s audit for fiscal year ending September, 2011. (Finance)

Prior to adjournment, the Legislature took a recess to freely discuss their opinions and positions on Misc. Comm. No. 8 – 151. The Legislature decided when they continued their meeting that those among them who agreed to meet with the ETG should come up with a place where they could have their meeting with ETG.

The Legislature has scheduled another meeting to be held on Thursday, July 5, 2012 before it adjourned the meeting today.

[July 5, 2012] YSL Holds Session Today

The Legislature convened the Eighteenth Session Day of its Second Regular Session at the Legislature Chamber today, July 5, 2012. All members were present during the roll call.

The Legislature had deferred action on the Journal for the 17th Session Day on July 2nd, 2012 prior to entertaining messages from the Governor. The five Communications that the Legislature received from the Governor today have all been assigned to the appropriate committees.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-181: Transmitting to the Speaker from the Governor for review and consideration by the Legislature a copy of the State of Yap, 1st Revised Counteroffer Cooperative Investment Agreement By and Between The State of Yap, FSM and Chengdu Century City New International Conventional and Exhibition Center Company Ltd.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-182: A letter to the Speaker from the Governor, submitting nominations to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-183: A letter to the Speaker from the Governor regarding the Yap State Micronesia Challenge Communications Plan Draft.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-184: A copy of a letter to the Speaker addressed to Chairman Mulalap from the Governor, regarding his attendance as a witness to the Finance Public Hearing on Bill No. 8-47 and Bill No. 8-57.

 Gov. Comm. No. 8-185: Transmitting from the Governor’s Office, a copy of a letter to the Governor from the ETG Working Team, informing the Governor of Mr. Deng Hong’s Visit to Yap and requesting a meeting with the Governor and some Cabinet members on the development project in Yap State.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-186: A letter to the Speaker from the Governor, submitting nominations to the Yap Fishing Authority’s Board of Directors.

There were several Resolutions introduced in today’s Session at the request of the administration and all have been assigned to the appropriate Standing Committees of the Legislature for further review before making its recommendations back to the Committee of the Whole.

Resolution No. 8-65:  A RESOLUTION, Confirming John Sohlith as a member of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Resolution No. 8-66:  A RESOLUTION, Confirming Christopher Buchun as a member of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Resolution No. 8-67:  A RESOLUTION, Confirming Charles Falmeyog as a member of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Resolution No. 8-68:  A RESOLUTION, Confirming John Victor Runpongdawey as a member of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Resolution No. 8-69:  A RESOLUTION, Confirming Thomas Gorong to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Yap Fishing Authority.

Resolution No. 8-70:  A RESOLUTION, Confirming Peter Fattamag to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Yap Fishing Authority.

Resolution No. 8-71:  A RESOLUTION, Confirming John Sohlith to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Yap Fishing Authority.

Resolution No. 8-72:  A RESOLUTION, Confirming John Francis Hachelbe to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Yap Fishing Authority.

Resolution No. 8-73:  A RESOLUTION, Confirming Philip T. Ranganbay to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Yap Fishing Authority.

The Legislature adopted two Standing Committee Reports concerning two legislations which have been scheduled for consideration of the Legislature today. Members held a long discussion on the issues at hand before they take action on both matters.

The Legislature initially approved Bill No. 8-56, D1 during its Session today.

Bill No. 8-56, D1,  A BILL FOR AN ACT, to amend Title 22 of the Yap State Code by amending Sections 303, 304, 306 and 308 thru 316 concerning the Foreign Investment Act, to provide technical amendments thereto, to add a new Section 304 establishing a Foreign Investment Board, to renumber Sections 305 and 317 as new Sections 306 and 318, respectively, and for other purposes.

The Legislature took action to adopt Resolution No. 8-62 following floor amendments in today’s Session.

Resolution No. 8-62: A RESOLUTION, Expressing the deepest appreciation and gratitude of the Legislature of the State of Yap to Peter and Esther Reichert for their many contributions to the people of the State of Yap.

Before it took action on this particular Resolution, the Legislature suspended the applicable rules of procedure, the 24 hour requirement so it could deliberate and act on the resolution today.

The Legislature also adopted another resolution in today’s Session.

Resolution No. 8-57: A RESOLUTION, Confirming Ignathio Waithog to serve as a member on the Board of Directors of the Yap State Public Service Corporation. The resolution was passed by a vote of 5 in favor, 2 against and 3 abstain.

The Legislature adjourned it’s Session today and will reconvene at 10:00am on Friday, July 6, 2012.

[July 6, 2012] Legislature Convenes Nineteenth Session Day

The 8th Legislature of the State of Yap has convened the 19th Session Day of its Second Regular Session today, July 06, 2012 to continue its deliberation on some of the issues that have been discussed during the Session yesterday, July 5, 2012.

Nine of the members were present while one was excused during the roll call.

The Legislature had deferred action on both the Journals of the 17th and 18th Session Days before it started entertaining two communications that it received from the Governor during its session today.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-187: A copy of a letter to Speaker addressed to the Yap State Public Auditor from the Governor, regarding the Audit of Yap Fishing Authority and its Board of Directors.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-188: Transmitting from the Governor’s Office a copy of a letter to Governor Anefal from Eddie Baza Calvo, Governor of Guam, regarding the 25th Annual Guam Micronesia Island Fair on October 5-7, 2012.

Both communications have been assigned to appropriate committees.

Two Standing Committee Reports were adopted by the Legislature just before it took action on the two bills that it has scheduled under Bill Calendar for passage today.

After it had discussed the details of the two measures, the Legislature suspended its rules of procedure to enable a proposed floor amendment to Bill No. 8-56, D1. With the floor amendment, the Bill passed Second and Final Reading of the Legislature by a vote of 8 in favor, 1 excused and 1 abstain.

Bill No. 8-56. D1: A BILL FOR AN ACT,  to amend Title 22 of the Yap State Code by amending Sections 303, 304, 306 and 308 thru 316 concerning the Foreign Investment Act, to provide technical amendments thereto to add a new Section 304 establishing a Foreign Investment Board, to renumber Sections 305 and 317 as new Sections 306 and 318, respectively, and for other purposes.

The other measure which the Legislature passed on First Reading today is Bill No. 8-71, D1: A BILL FOR AN ACT,   to re-appropriate the sum of $173,500 from the Special Revenue of the State of Yap for the purpose of authorizing the use of certain funds appropriated under Yap State Law No. 7-80 and which were subsequently re-appropriated under Yap State Law Nos. 8-11 and 8-12, to fund certain government projects in the State of Yap during Fiscal Year 2012, and for other purposes.

Under Miscellaneous Business, the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Sen. Clement Mulalap rise to acknowledge the presence of a constituent and good citizen Mr. Henry Worswick who observed the Session inside the Chamber.

Before the Legislature adjourned, Vice Speaker Ted Rutun announced the meeting with ETG to be held at 1:00 pm at the Small Business Development Center Conference Room.

The Legislature adjourned its Session today after it had scheduled another meeting on Monday, July 9, 2012.

[July 20, 2012] YSL Holds Session

The 8th Legislature of the State of Yap has convened the 21st Session Day of its Second Regular Session today July 23, 2012 with seven of the members present and three were excused.

The Legislature began its Session this morning by adopting the 20th Session Day Journal which was held on July 9, 2012, but again it has deferred action till the next Session Day the Journals for the 17th, 18th and 19th Session Days. All three Journals have been pending for adoption of the Legislature.

The Legislature has received four messages from the Governor of which all have been assigned to the appropriate committees.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-189: A letter to the State Leadership regarding a Leadership Conference on the Long Term Fiscal Framework (LTFF) on July 18-20, 2012.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-190: A letter to the Speaker regarding a State Leadership meeting requested by the Council of Pilung to be held at the COP conference room on July 16, 2012 at 10:00 am.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-191: A memorandum to Heads, Department, Office & Agency regarding the LTFF Steering Committee & Working Groups Appointment.

Gov. Comm. No. 8-192: Submitted by the Governor, the 5 versions of the Investment Agreements exchange between the Office of the Attorney General and ETG.

The Legislature also received on today’s agenda, three messages from the Other Branches of the State of Yap Government. All three messages were from the Councils of Pilung and Tamol.

Other Branches Comm. No. 8-31: From the Office of the Council of Tamol informing the Legislature that Bill No. 8-71, D1 will not be disapproved by the Council.

Other Branches Comm. No. 8-32: From the Office of the Council of Tamol informing the Legislature that Bill No. 8-56, D2 will not be disapproved by the Council, and

Other Branches Comm. No. 8-33: From the Office of the Council of Pilung informing the Legislature that Bill No. 8-71, D1 will not be disapproved by the Council.

One Department Communication was received by the Legislature during today’s Session.

Dept. Comm. No. 8-19, is a letter to the Speaker regarding US. Ambassador to the FSM, His Excellency Peter Prahar’s visit to Yap from July 22 to 25, 2012 for his last State Visit as the US Ambassador to the FSM.

Another communication was also received by the Legislature under Item 9 on the Agenda, which is Messages from the Other State Governments.

Other States Comm. No. 8-3: From the Office of the Chief of Clerk of Pohnpei Legislature, transmitting Legislative Resolution No. 10-12, LD2, Respectfully urging the President and the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia to enact legislation controlling the catching and transport of sharks within the FSM’s 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone; and further requesting that such legislation include language to provide for compatibility with the laws of neighboring countries and the FSM states and that the legislation be linked with the general provisions of the national law on fishing within the 200 Exclusive Economic Zone which accords the affected FSM state a portion of the revenues obtained through the fines and forfeitures for illegal fishing with the Zone.

One Bill was introduced today and assigned to Calendar.

Bill No. 8-78: A BILL FOR AN ACT, To amend Yap State Law No. 8-19, by amending Subsection (a) of Section 3 to make technical corrections, and for other purposes. The Bill was introduced by John E. Mooteb, and Sabino Sauchomal.

Under Bill Calendar, the Legislature gave initial approval of Bill No. 8-78 on first reading.

The Legislature had also entertained several issues under Petitions, Memorials and Communications.

Those other issues include; Mis. Comm. No. 8-154: A letter to the Speaker from Acting Protocol Officer regarding Ambassador Prahar’s Courtesy Visit.

Misc. Comm. No. 8-155: A copy of a letter to the Legislature from James Gilmar, DHS Director, and John Runman, WCHC Chairperson regarding Dengue Outbreak Thank you note.

Misc. Comm. No. 8-156: A letter to the Speaker from Ronald Yow, Public Auditor, regarding his resignation as Public Auditor, effective September 4th, 2012.

Misc. Comm. No. 8-157: From the Public Auditor delegating authority to Wilfred Oliver L. Dolosa during his absence from July 16 to 20, 2012.

Misc. Comm. No. 8-158: Transmitting a copy to the Speaker the FSM Social Security Administration’s 2011 Audit Report.

Misc. Comm. No. 8-159: A letter from Deng Hong of ETG to the Speaker, and

Misc. Comm. No. 8-160: Transmitting from the Office of the Public Auditor, the Public Transportation System’s FY 2011 Audit Report.

The Legislature adjourned its meeting today and has scheduled to reconvene at 10:00 am tomorrow July 24, 2012.

[July 25, 2012] State Leaders to Discuss Investment Agreement Between Yap State And ETG

The Yap State Legislature Standing Committees on Finance, Government, Health & Welfare and Resources, Education & Development have scheduled a joint public hearing at the Legislature Chamber tomorrow, July 26, 2012 to discuss with the government the details of Gov. Comm. No. 8-192

Gov. Comm. 8-192, is the 5 versions of the Investment Agreements exchange between the Office of the Attorney General and ETG which was submitted to the Legislature during the 21st Session Day on Monday July 23, 2012.

Those people whom the Committees have invited to appear before them during this joint public hearing to be held at 9:00 am tomorrow include, Governor Anefal, Lt. Governor Tony Tareg, Acting State Attorney General, Jeremiah Luther, Director of Public Works and Transportation, Vincent Figir, Director of the Department of Resources and Development, Frank Haregaichig, Director of the Department of Youth and Civic Affairs, Ruotpong Pongliyab, Former Speaker Tony Ganngiyan and the Chief of the Division of Commerce and Industry, Vitus Fonag.

The Legislative Committees have also extended invitations to any other members of the public who wish to offer their testimonies regarding the Investment Agreement to be present tomorrow so they would be given the chance to make comments on the Investment Agreement between Yap State and ETG after all the principle witnesses have complete.

[July 26, 2012] Legislative Committees Holds public hearing on Gov. Comm. No. 8-192

The 8th Legislature Standing Committees on Government, Health & Welfare, Finance and Resources, Education and Development held a public hearing today July 26, 2012 to discuss the details of the proposed Investment Agreement between Yap State and ETG with Governor Sebastian Anefal and other members of his Cabinet who were invited as principle witnesses in the discussions.

The Investment Agreement was transmitted to the Legislature as Gov. Comm. No. 8-192 during its 21st Session Day which was held on Monday July 23, 2012 and assigned to the three respective committees.

Chairman Jesse Raglmar-SUBOLMAR of the GHW Committee who led the discussions first thanked Governor Anefal and the other members of his group for availing their time in order to attend this very important undertaking. Chairman SUBOLMAR had also introduced the members of the three Committees before opening up for discussion.

Governor Anefal gave a brief statement by thanking the three Committees for allowing their time to discuss the Investment Agreement issue so the government could move forward with its negotiation with the ETG.

The two sides have spent three-hours to discuss all aspects of the Investment Agreement especially on the definition part of the investment agreement.

The public hearing was concluded at 12:00 noon today but before the conclusion, the three Committees have decided to return next Tuesday and continue their discussions with the administration on the subject matter.

Governor Anefal thanked the Committees and said that his group may bring back additional information with them when they return to continue the public hearing on Tuesday July 31, 2012.

[July 30, 2012] YSL Committees To Discuss Investment Agreement

The Yap State Legislature Committee of the Whole (CoW) will return for another discussion on Gov. Comm. No. 8-192 in regards to the Investment Agreement between Yap State and ETG.

The public hearing will take place at the Legislature Chamber at 1:00 pm tomorrow, July 31, 2012.

The three Committees namely Finance, Resources, Education and Development and Government, Health and welfare had discussed the Investment Agreement between Yap State and ETG during their public hearing with the administration on Thursday July 26, 2012.

However, at the conclusion of that public hearing the Committees decided to schedule another one for tomorrow so they could learn more details about ETG’s proposed Investment in the State.

Attending the public hearing from the administration side will be the same witnesses as before -  Governor Anefal, Lt. Governor Tareg, Acting Attorney General, Director of Public Works and Transportation, Director of Resources and Development, Director of Youth and Civic Affairs, Former Speaker Tony Ganngiyan and the Chief of Commerce and Industry.

The hearing is open to any members of the public who wish to offer their testimonies following the key witnesses.

[August 3, 2012] YSL Committees Continues Discussion On Gov. Comm. No. 8-192

The three Standing Committees of the 8th Legislature of the State of Yap namely Finance, Government, Health and Welfare and Resources, Education and Development have returned to the Chamber for the third time to further review and discuss Gov. Comm. No. 8-192 which is in regards to the Investment Agreement between Yap State and the Exhibition & Travel Group in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, Peoples Republic of China.

The three Committees began discussing the issue at 9:00 am this morning with the presence of Governor Sebastian Anefal, Lt. Governor Tony Tareg, Acting Attorney General Jeremiah Luther, Director Vincent Figir of the Department of Public Works & Transportation, Director Ruotpong Pongliyab of the Department of Youth & Civic Affairs, Former Speaker Tony Ganngiyan and other members of the public who were invited to testify on the subject matter.

The two sides have been discussing the specific provisions of the Investment Agreement since they started deliberating the issue in July.

After more than 3 hours of deliberations on the same subject, the three Committees decided to break for lunch and return in the afternoon to continue their discussions.

Members of the three Committees are hoping to complete the review process on most of the remaining provisions so they would be fewer when they return for another public hearing probably next week or whenever the Committees and the witnesses have agreed to come together for another public hearing.

The AG’s Office will bring the proposed changes to the ETG for review and decides whether it agrees or does not agree to the proposed changes made by the State in which both sides would return for another round of negotiation to iron out the details.

A copy of the Investment Agreement will be provided for the Legislature to review after all the proposed changes are being made.

[August 6, 2012] YSL Committees Concludes Series Of Public Hearings

The three Standing Committees of the Legislature of the State of Yap namely Finance, Government, Health & Welfare and Resources, Education & Development have finally concluded the series of public hearings that they have been conducting with the administration on Gov. Comm. No. 8-192 which is the Investment Agreement between Yap State and the Exhibition & Travel Group (ETG) of the Peoples Republic of China.

Their discussions with the administration came to a close at 11:40 am today August 6, 2012 after Governor Sebastian Anefal, Chairman Jesse Raglmar-SUBOLMAR of GHW, Chairman Clement Mulalap of Finance, Chairman Charles Chieng of R&D and 8th Legislature Speaker Henry Falan have said their concluding remarks this morning.

The two sides have returned back to the Legislative Chamber this morning and picked up their discussions on the Investment Agreement from where they left off on Friday August 4, 2012.

During his concluding remarks this morning, Governor Sebastian Anefal pointed out that all the suggested changes to the proposed Investment Agreement will be noted and taken to the ETG for further discussion. However, that will depend on the ETG if they would still be willing to return to any further negotiations. Governor Anefal said that a lot of information has been exchanged between the two sides already and he believed those could help the people understand more about the Investment Agreement. The Governor also thanked the members of the Legislature for allowing their time to have a very fruitful discussion with the administration on this particular matter. He mentioned that his office will take on its responsibility to educate the people about the Investment Agreement.

The other speakers have shared the same sentiments by thanking the administration for its continued participation in the hearing and hoped that if there is a signed agreement between Yap State and ETG, a copy should be provided to the Legislature for its perusal review.

Chairman Jesse Raglmar-SUBOLMAR of GHW who facilitated the discussions also thanked Governor Anefal and his team for availing their time during the whole process so they could clarify most of the related issues that both the Committees and the people would want to be addressed by the Government.

[August 13, 2012] Yap State And ETG Signs Agreement

An Investment Agreement was signed between the Yap State Government and ETG during a signing ceremony held at the Pacific Dive Resorts at 6:00PM on Saturday, August 11, 2012.

The Investment Agreement was signed by the Honorable Sebastian Anefal, Governor of the State of Yap and Mr. Deng Hong, Chairman of the Exhibition & Travel Group of the People’s Republic of China (ETG), with the presence of Governor’s Cabinet, Chairman, Vice Chairman and members of the Traditional Council of Pilung (COP), Chairman of the 8th Legislature Standing Committee on Government, Health and Welfare and other members of the public.

Both Governor Anefal and Chairman Dong have made short remarks during the signing ceremony.

In his brief statement, Governor Anefal said, “the year 2023 brings an end in the economic provision of the Compact between the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States, to me that would be the funeral for the Federated States of Micronesia. If you want to prolong and postpone this funeral ceremony then I think we have to take a bold step and this is the right time to do so. During the remaining 10 to 11 years before 2023 I think Yap has to do something.”

The Governor hopes that the relationship ETG and Yap have established by signing the Investment Agreement will create and provide the way forward so the “funeral” in 2023 could be delayed further.

On the other hand, Chairman Hong thanked the government and the people of Yap for accepting the investment proposal. He said this visit has opened a new page of close relation between Yap and ETG. He also said that by working together, ETG will build Yap to become one of the main tourist destinations in the Pacific region. The ETG Chairman has mentioned that ETG would be able to complete the construction of all the facilities in Yap within the next five years from that day of signing if things are moving forward according to plan.

After the State Legislature concluded the series of oversight hearings with the administration regarding the Investment Agreement, the State Government returned back to the ETG to discuss the issue with their legal counsels before the signing of this instrumental agreement.

Prior to the signing of the Investment Agreement, the Council of Pilung has taken the matter into its own hand and requested both the Executive and Legislative Branches of the Government to expedite their work on the agreement so the project could start to move forward.

Chairman Deng Hong and members of his delegation have departed from Yap on Sunday, August 12, 2012.

[August 16, 2012] Misc. Comm. No. 8-168 at Legislature’s Twenty-Fourth Session

The Eighth Legislature of the State of Yap has conducted the Twenty-Fourth Session Day of its Second Regular Session today August 16, 2012 with 8 of the members present and 2 excused.

Misc. Comm. No. 8-168: From the undersigned people of Yap, respectfully telling the members of the Council of Pilung, Governor of Yap State, Speaker of the 8th Legislature and member of the Council of Tamol, NOT to permit the Exhibition and Travel Group (ETG) to invest in the whole State of Yap. This Communication was assigned to the Legislature’s Standing Committees on Government, Health & Welfare (GHW), Finance and Resources, Education and Development (RED).

Reporter’s witness: Misc. Comm. No. 8-168 was not discussed during the session. One senator explained to the reporter: since the Cooperative Investment Agreement has been signed between Yap State Government (Executive Branches) and ETG on August 11th, there is not much the legislature could discuss about this communication.

[August 23, 2012] Concern Citizens Pay Visit To The Legislature

The 8th Yap State Legislature held a Special Meeting today, August 23, 2012, to entertain questions and comments by a group of concerned citizens who were seeking information on the Investment Agreement which was signed by Governor Sebastian Anefal and Chairman Deng Hong of ETG on August 11, 2012.

The group of concerned citizens, involving men and women mostly from the Yap Catholic Faith, brought their complaints to the Legislature to perhaps find a way to have the Governor cancel the signed Investment Agreement with ETG. The group said it was not happy about the deal because the plan may bring problems to the people.

A concern raised by Fr. John Hagileiram, SJ, who accompanied the group to the Legislature today, focused on the fear that the Investment Agreement may not have been agreed upon by the whole State Leadership before the signing ceremony took place, and the reason being that perhaps maybe because of the lack of transparency.

Most of the gathering expressed the same concerns over issues regarding land, identity and et cetera.

After the group had voiced its concerns, Vice Speaker Ted Rutun responded to the comments by saying that the Legislature did not have all the information to answer all their questions and concerns.

Vice Speaker Rutun apologized to the group and said that the Acting Attorney General, who negotiated with ETG on the Investment Agreement, was not available to shed light on some of the concerns brought forth by the people.

Following were some of the questions and comments that the Legislature received from people who called in by phone during the meeting this morning.

1.         “Was there a complete assessment done by the government on the ETG Investment Project?”

2.         “Can you name a place in the world that ETG has developed and has no problem?”

3.         “The Council of Pilung and the Governor don’t have ownership or rights to people’s land. The Chinese are given rights to take ownership of our lands after signing the Agreement.”

4.         “Do we have enough legal issue to take the Investment Agreement to court; the way paper processing has taken place, people being overstepped and others?”

Other anonymous callers directed their calls to the Division of Media this morning; however, they were encouraged to participate in the meeting at the Legislature. But to honor their rights, some of their comments were as follows:

5.         “Why are the concerned citizens barking at the wrong door and why is the wrong door entertaining them instead of guiding them to the right doors? Has the Legislature refused to represent the people in the beginning yet exploiting public mediums to further confuse public with their speculations now?”

6.         “State leaders are mixing religion into politics over non-political business deal with ETG. How are we setting ourselves up with other potential Foreign Investors in the future? Do we have to scrutinize religion, race and ethnicity of all Foreign Investors in future?”

7.         “What happen to the existing FIP Policy set by the State Legislature? Does the current law set by the Legislature on FIP (Foreign Investment Plan) require all Foreign Investors to go through scrutiny by every government branch and every concern citizens of the state?”

The concerned citizens have agreed to work with the 8th Yap State Legislature to meet with the Governor and the Councils of Pilung and Tamol on a later time on this topic of ETG Project in Yap State.

  • Video Recording of Concerned Citizens’ Meeting with Yap State Legislature (Youtube Playlist)

 [August 31, 2012] Media to Re-Run Citizen’s Meeting Over the Weekend

The Concern Citizens on ETG project meeting with our 8th Yap State Legislature on August 23rd, 2012 recording will be re-broadcasted this weekend September 1 & 2 beginning at 430pm each day on Saturday and Sunday. This re-broadcasting was initially scheduled by the Station Manager to be done last weekend as been the normal practice by the Management since 2005. However, due to high level of risks and threats by other opposing callers the Station Manager cancelled the program late last Saturday morning until resolved during the week with the Director of DY&CA and the Governor.

“As a Public mandated Radio station, we are seriously considering the Public at large in this scenario but not by one partisan,” said the Chief of Media & Protocol. “While we have gone against the odd in the beginning without interrupting the live feed during the special meeting, I was compelled and confirmed Saturday morning, when I received the last call, how serious it could be if we pursue on with the re-broadcasting. I felt we had to take a time out talk with our heads and try pacify the matter over the week prior to pursuance of re-airing such program in future,” the Chief of Media added.

The State Media (V6AI) reinstated the Legislative Live-broadcast in 2005 after consultation with the Former Speaker of the Legislature Tony Ganngiyan was done by the Former DY&CA Director Aloysious Fong. Due to lack of proper equipment at that time full measures took place late in 2006 up to now. Re-airing of such proceedings is never mandated by the radio policy or by law, but has been solely the idea of the Station Management ever since without any serious concerns or harm to the public.

V6AI does simple screening of contents of records; songs and programs with any sounds or remarks that may be of offensive to the culture and tradition of Yap. “Libelous and Slanderous are two major things we consider as well,” said Tamagken who is the Chief of Media & Protocol. “While I personally didn’t see or hear much of such, as others were claiming, I believe it is the threatening part involving welfare of other Leaders that we had to be more careful as we don’t want to be responsible of starting any riots in future. What’s even more confusing is when you get the same concern from member of the same group asking to differ action on re-broadcasting you are left in the middle of a high way with a landing train,” added Tamagken.

On Tuesday, August 28, 2012, the Speaker of the 8th Yap State Legislature, Honorable Henry Falan wrote a memo to the Governor inquiring why that pre-recording of the “Citizen’s Meeting” was not aired as scheduled last weekend. According to Speaker Falan, the pre-recording of the “Citizens Meeting with the Legislature on August 23, 2012 was to have been aired in two parts over Saturday and Sunday, August 25 and 26. However, that scheduled broadcast has never happened.

Speaker Falan also stated in the memo that since during the weekend, he has received numerous inquiries from various concerned individuals and citizens both on island and from overseas, along with his fellow colleagues of the Legislature.

The Speaker has pointed out that there was instruction not to air the proceedings of that meeting. Therefore, he asked for an explanation as to what the reason for those instructions and for not airing the meeting. Finally, Speaker’s memo also pointed out how the release by the media on the 23rd of August was incorrect in many forms. A clarification of points by the Legislature Assistant Legal Counsel, Ms. Genevieve Mangafel was attached where it showed the incorrect reports.

In response to the Speaker’s inquiry, Governor Anefal wrote to the Speaker and said, “It is no secret that many of the citizens who spoke at the Meeting disagree sharply with my decision to sign the Investment Agreement, but I still applaud their willingness to speak out and let their concerns and opinions be heard by all who are willing to listen.”

The Governor continues his statement by saying that he must apologize that the Meeting was not re-broadcast as scheduled on August 25th and 26th, but after speaking with DY&CA staff, “I have learned that the decision to refrain from re-broadcasting the Meeting resulted from a miscommunication between my office, DY&CA, and V6AI staff.”

He said that at some point, V6AI management learned of concerns that he and his staff raised about threats of violence made by a few, unreasonable members of our society during and after the original broadcast of the Meeting. Moreover, the V6AI staff also received phone calls from some opposing to the live broadcast.

The Governor went on to explain that it seems as though the staff at V6AI interpreted these concerns to be a good basis to hold off on broadcasting the Meeting. While their actions were in good faith, “It was never my intent to prevent this important gathering from reaching the greatest number of ears.”

In conclusion, Governor Anefal informed Speaker Falan that he has forwarded instructions to the Director of DY&CA to have the Meeting rebroadcast in full, this upcoming Saturday and Sunday and at a time most likely to reach the greatest number of listeners. The Governor also instructed the DY&CA Director to run an on-going air ad announcing the re-broadcast at least four times daily in the coming days.

In regards to Speaker’s concern on the erroneous news brief by the media on the 23rd, The Chief of Media has explained and apologized to the Director of DY&CA of the erroneous reports and promised to ascertain correct reporting prior to release in future. In the same line it has been suggested that the media will refrain from making reports on Legislative matters and leave it in the hands of the Legislative PIO (Public Information Officer) before the media do necessary publicity on it.

The signed ETG Cooperative Investment Agreement may be found on the government website at www.yapstategov.org

*[September 13, 2012] Concerned Citizens Met with State Leaders

On September 13, 2012, Concerned Citizens Group met with Yap State Governor Anefal, some Members of the Yap State Legislature, and a representative of the Council of Pilung at the Yap State Legislature.

Audio and Video Recording

*Note: Yap State News–belonging to Yap State Government, Department of Youth and Civic Affairs, Office of Media–has never reported this news.

[September 20, 2012] YSL 26th Session Day Held

 TABLAW, Colonia (YSL Press Release, Sept. 18, 2012) — The Eighth Legislature of the State of Yap convened its 26th Session Day of its Second Regular Session on September 18, 2012 at 10:13 a.m. with Acting Speaker Rutun presiding. Speaker Falan was excused.

Both the 24th and 25th Session Day Journals were adopted.

As many as 16 Governor communications were entertained. Among them were various grant awards for Legislative appropriations, several bills that the Governor has signed into laws, and the nomination for Mr. Jeremiah Luther for the position of Attorney General of the State.

There were three messages from the other branches of the State Government submitting their comments on various bills that both councils would not disapprove.

A communication was also entertained which was from the Director of OPB to all departments, offices, and agencies’ heads regarding the FY 12 4th Qtr. Performance & Financial Reports due not later than Oct. 5, 2012 by 4:30 pm. The communication has been assigned to the Committee on Finance.

The Chief Justice submitted the FSM Supreme Court’s strategic plan, a copy of CFSM Speaker to FSM President regarding its 5th Regular Session as well as a copy of a letter from TC&I Secretary’s letter to CFSM Speaker regarding the minutes working group between FSM and United Airlines were communications entertained from the national government.

The following bills were introduced today:

1.       Bill No. 8-83:   A BILL FOR AN ACT, To appropriate the sum of $147,850 from the Special Revenue Fund of the State of Yap for the purpose of providing funding to fund specific government programs during Fiscal Year 2012, and for other purposes.   (Introduced by Sabino Sauchomal by request and assigned to Finance)

2.       Bill No. 8-84:   A BILL FOR AN ACT, To amend Title 18 of Yap State Code by adding a new section 1010 to provide for the protection of whales, dolphins, sharks,  and other marine animals, by renumbering sections 1010 and 1012 and for other purposes.   (Introduced by Sabino S. Sauchomal by request and assigned to RED)

3.       Bill No. 8-85:   A BILL FOR AN ACT, To appropriate the sum of $21,500 from the Special Revenue Fund of the State of Yap for the purpose of providing funding to fund specific government programs during Fiscal Year 2012, and for other purposes.   (Introduced by Sabino S. Sauchomal by request and assigned to Finance)

4.       Bill No. 8-86:   A BILL FOR AN ACT, To authorize the extension of funds appropriated under Yap State Law Nos. 8-10 and 8-21 for Fiscal Year 2012 into Fiscal Year 2013, and for other purposes.   (Introduced by Sabino S. Sauchomal by request and assigned to Finance)

Four resolutions were also introduced today and their titles are as follows:

1.       Resolution No. 8-80:   A RESOLUTION, Confirming Jeremiah B. Luther as Attorney General of the State of Yap.   (Introduced by Sabino S. Sauchomal by request and assigned to GHW)

 

2.       Resolution No. 8-81:   A RESOLUTION, Approving the Second Amendment to the Lease Agreement dated January 9, 2006, first amended by Yap state Resolution No. 7-78, between the Government of the State of Yap and Don Evans d/b/a Eco-Ventures.   (Introduced by Sabino S. Sauchomal by request and assigned to GHW)

 

3.       Resolution No. 8-82:   A RESOLUTION Expressing the gratitude and the most sincere appreciation of the people and Government of the State of Yap to the Habele Outer Island Education Fund for its work in providing much needed funds and other educational resources for the people of the State of Yap.   (Introduced by Charles S. Chieng and assigned to Calendar)

 

4.       Resolution No. 8-83:   A RESOLUTION, Respectfully calling on the Governor to submit a written notice to Exhibition Travel Group (ETG) to void the Investment Agreement between the State and ETG and to disapprove any and all master plans from ETG for investment in Yap State.   (Introduced by John E. Mooteb, Clememt Mulalap, Jesse Raglmar-SUBOLMAR, Sabino S. Sauchomal and assigned to Calendar)

Senator Chieng briefly explained that Resolution No. 8-82 which was introduced by him was by request.

Several committee reports were submitted by the GHW Committee on several nominees for the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board. All four of the reports submitted were adopted.

Standing Committee Report No. 8-68:   Submitted by the Committee on Government, Health and Welfare recommending adoption of Resolution No. 8-66 by the Legislature in its original form.

Standing Committee Report No. 8-69:   Submitted by the Committee on Government, Health and Welfare recommending adoption of Resolution No. 8-67 by the Legislature in its original form.

Standing Committee Report No. 8-70:   Submitted by the Committee on Government, Health and Welfare recommending adoption of Resolution No. 8-68 by the Legislature in its original form.

Under bill calendar was a bill to consider on second and final reading. However, it was deferred until the next session day. Its title is as follows:

Bill No. 8-82:   For Second Reading, A BILL FOR AN ACT, To amend Title 11 of the Yap State Code, Crimes and Punishment, by further amending Section 601 for the purpose of specifying prohibition on gambling and the penalties thereof, and for other purposes.

Six resolutions were under resolution calendar for final reading, four of which were nominees to serve on the ABC Board. All nominees were confirmed.

The following were newly introduced resolution and were also placed on calendar for consideration:

Resolution No. 8-82:   A RESOLUTION Expressing the gratitude and the most sincere appreciation of the people and Government of the State of Yap to the Habele Outer Island Education Fund for its work in providing much needed funds and other educational resources for the people of the State of Yap.   [Adopted [9 in favor; 1 excused]]

Resolution No. 8-83:   A RESOLUTION, Respectfully calling on the Governor to submit a written notice to Exhibition Travel Group (ETG) to void the Investment Agreement between the State and ETG and to disapprove any and all master plans from ETG for investment in Yap State.   [Adopted [5 in favor; 4 abstained; 1 excused]]

Before voting on Resolution No. 8-83, Senator Chieng questioned whether such move of adopting the resolution is in the interest of the majority of the people of Yap. He stated that though there have been petitions filed, he felt that the number of signatories does not  necessarily point to what the majority of the citizens of Yap actually want.

Senator Mooteb explained that in introducing the resolution, he felt it is the best way to move forward given the current situation. Senator Mulalap further explained that in order to find out what the majority wants is to have a referendum and that it may be too late and too time-consuming and expensive if a referendum is to be held.

Senator Mulalap continued and explained why he co-sponsored the measure to which he said that by adopting the resolution and having Governor follow through, would be the ideal situation given the extreme actions the group dubbed the “Concerned Citizens Against ETG” are planning to do if the Governor does not stop or void the Investment Agreement with ETG. He also spoke about peace to which it would be kept if such a request is met by the Governor. He stated that to recall the Governor would not be good for the both the state and the nation.

Several messages from various offices [both public & private] were also inclusive. Among them was Mr. Deng Hong’s visit to Yap, a Fraud Awareness Briefing scheduled for YSL, and a letter regarding the State’s social and economic summit week.

Under miscellaneous business Senator Mulalap brought to light a rumor that was mentioned during the meeting with concerned citizens against ETG that school chilred were asked to stand by the road and wave to Mr. Deng Hong (Chairman of ETG) as a tribute for his generosity in donating backpacks, pencils and other school related materials to the schools.

Senator Mulalap urged that the RED Committee which oversees the DOE to look into the matter because such action has never been done to any of our Governors, our Presidents, nor to any of the US Ambassadors who visits the State knowing the US has been giving us billions of dollars for our aid.

Senator Chieng, Chairman of the RED Committee, stated that though the committee’s work cannot be based on rumors, however the committee will look into the matter.

The Eighth Legislature of the State of Yap adjourned its 26th Session Day of its 2nd Regular Session and to reconvene its 27th Session day on September 19, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.

*Note: The reported Yap State Resolution No. 8-83 should be No. 53.

[September 20, 2012] Yap Awareness Project (Y.A.P)

 A newly established group in Yap to be known as the “Yap Awareness Project (Y.A.P) transmitted a letter to the State Leadership on Wednesday September 19, 2012 concerning their views on the proposed investment by ETG and how it should be addressed by the Leadership. The letter is as follows;

“Siroo ko Pilung nge Tamol, Siroo ku Governor Anefal nga Siroo ko Legislature.

We are the Yap Awareness Project (Y.A.P) group, a collection of individuals concerned about the future of our island. We assemble in response to the concerns surrounding the current investment proposal into the State of Yap. As valid as those concerns may be, it does not wholly reflect the concerns of all Yapese. There are other concerns that have yet to be heard and not all Yapese stands firmly on this issue. People must be able to consider the benefits and costs from all aspects of this investment from political, social, cultural, and economical – to be able to make informative decisions.

There are many valid reasons to support this investment proposal from ETG. Likewise, there are many reasons just as valid to reject it. The impact of development of this magnitude, however, cannot be left simply to one sided viewpoints as a way for our island to move forward. Every opportunity brings with it a threat and every benefit, a cost. Our challenge is figure out a way to maximize those benefits and mitigate those costs. Can we develop strategies to manage the impact of foreign investment on Yap if we cannot, are there any other investment options currently on the table for us to explore? What image are we projecting to global investors in our reactions today? These are also valid questions and concerns that must also be taken into consideration.

As a culture that places much value on unity and respect, we need solidarity on this issue. We need solidarity from our leaders. We ask our leadership to coordinate efforts to help its people understand what this investment means to Yap on all points. We implore on our leaders to ensure that valuable information is disseminated to the public and to direct strategic planning in managing this investment. We feel this is essential in paving a way forward for Yap. We should try to contribute positively to our island and we are offering our assistance and service in this regard.

Siroo, mab tuuf ni ngad taareb gad ko gabul nge langlath. Kamagar.”

The letter was signed by all the officers of the Yap Awareness Project group (Y.A.P).

1.         Philip T. Ranganbay                President

2.         John Sigrah                             Vice President

3.         Kathrine Gisog                        Secretary, and

4.         Dominic Techur                      Treasurer

Correction to News Brief: 09/20/12

 This is in correction to an error we made on a letter which was reported on our news brief yesterday (20 September 2012). The Treasurer of the newly formed group to raise awareness on the proposed Investment Project is “Domingo Techur,” not Dominic Techur as stated in the article and the V6AI apologizes for the error. Mr. Domingo Techur was among the Officers of the “Yap Awareness Project,” who signed the letter and transmitted to the whole State Leadership on Wednesday for consideration and proper disposal.

[September 21, 2012] Paramount Chiefs of Yap Address State Leadership

The Three Pillars, Paramount Chiefs of the State of Yap known as the “Dalip Pi Nguchol”, have jointly signed a letter to which was submitted to the whole State Leadership in response to an alleged letter by the Dalip Pi Nguchol to the whole state government and Mr. Deng Hong-Chairman of the ETG on September 17, 2012.

The alleged letter read as follows:

“We, the undersigned Dalip Pi Nguchol, the Paramount Chiefs of all of Yap State, pursuant to our traditional authority which is also recognized by Article III, Section 1, of the Yap State Constitution, do hereby command all of you to prohibit the Exhibition and Travel Group from proceeding with its intended Project for Yap State.

Signed by Aloysius Faimau-Arib Estate, John B. Ranganbay-Ru’way Estate and William Yad-Bulwol Estate.”

In response to this “alleged Dalip Pi Nguchol” the real Dalip Pi Nguchol has issued the following letter today on September 21, 2012:

“Siro’,

We understand that you may have received a letter allegedly from the Dalip Pi Nguchol. As far as we know, the Dalip Pi Nguchol has neither been consulted nor contacted on any matter whatsoever.

However, we feel that it is now of the utmost importance that, as leaders of the State Government, you come together with a unified voice in addressing the many challenges facing the State and her peoples. No matter the challenges, this Yapese maxim will always hold true: Ra tareb lungdad ngay ma ra fel, ma rawagey lungdad riy ma rawagey.

Recent events have revealed great public concerns on foreign investment. Not all these concerns are the same, nor do they all come from the same points of view. But they all recognize one simple truth – that Yap State needs sustainable foreign investment. And they all share one common underlying goal – that foreign investments must truly suitable for the State in terms of their sizes, types, and impacts.

We are, therefore, requesting the State Leadership to unify and ensure that the line agencies of government will always continue to promote foreign investment, but with the underlying goal that the totality of foreign investments be sustainable and suitable for Yap, considering the size of our lands and waters, the limitations of our resources, the fragility of our environment, and the livelihood of our customs and traditions.

This underlying goal must apply to ETG as it must to all others. We ask that you make and keep this as a commitment to the peoples of the State. Thank you.

Respectfully, we will always remain,

Francis Fithingmow

Pebnaw Estate

Tho’lang, Gachpar – Bulche

Steven Mar

Namath Estate

Teb, Tomil– Bulche

Victor Nabeyan

Tithera’ Estate

Ngolog, Rull – Bulche”

This letter was signed and submitted to;

The Honorable Sebastian L. Anefal

Governor

The State of Yap

The Honorable Henry Falan

Speaker

The 8th Legislature

The Honorable Bruno Tharngan

Chairman

Council of Pilung

The Honorable Ignathio Hapthey

Chairman

Council of Pilung.

Since the Dalip Pi Nguchol represents, serves, and protects its entire people of Yap State, it remained within its role by addressing its State Government Leadership only. An official copy to the ETG is per discretion of the Government.

[September 24, 2012]   Letter Issued By Ru’way Estate

The following is a transcript of the letter issued by John Ranganbay of the Ru’way Estate and addressed to:

“Victor Nabeyan

Tithera’ Estate

Ngolog, Rull

Thomas Falngin & Michael Gilngor

Man’ol Estate

Balabat, Rull

Dear Gentlemen,

            Siro’.  I want to assure you that the respective roles and sphere of authority of each of our three estates have not changed.  They remain to be as they were handed down to us over the ages.  It will be blasphemy for me or others to try and re-write them.

            The letter, dated September 17, 2012, claiming to be from the Dalip pi Nguchol is VOID insofar as my signature is concerned.  It was brought to me on short notice and for quick signing, and I felt I did not have time to think it through.   But on reflection, I realize that the letter is clearly inconsistent with the traditional system of authority ko re Kan Rull ney.  To set the record straight, and to undo the confusion that may have been caused by this letter, I want to reiterate the respective roles and authority of our three estates, and their respective traditional relationship to one another.

            Lungun e Nguchol e boy ko Bulche’.  Lungun e Bulche’ e boy u Tithera’.  Lungun e Ulun e boy u Man’ol.  An nu Ru’way e ba plibthiren e binaw ko re Rull ney.  All the Ulun, who have traditional political connections to Balabat, and all the Bulche’, who have traditional political connections to Ngolog, know this.

            In addition, the traditional relationship between our three estates function in the following manner:  Ra ngan yan nga lungun e Ulun, ma yima yog a thin nga Ru’way.  Ma raniyan, ma yu Man’ol e mitemuw.  Ra ngan yan nga lungun e Bulche’, ma kuy ma yog e thin nga Ru’way. Ma raniyan, ma yu Tithera’ e mitemuw. Dar ma un yu Ru’way ko yan, ya ba par ni ba plibthiren e binew, ni bay ‘unog a thin ngak.  Arfan ni tha’ ko Ulun ko ra nam ney a ba sar nga Man’ol, ma arfan ni tha’ ko Bulche’ ko ra nam ney a ba sar nga Tithera’.  Dariy e tiney e tha’ nga Ru’way.

            Due to infrequency of use, what these traditional roles and authorities are, and how and when they can be employed, have been lost on some of us.  This is why we must always consult, ma ‘un puruy nga tabang, before we step into the public domain.  Going forward, these three estates must band together even closer to make sure that the exercise of traditional authority is done appropriately under customs and traditions, and is done genuinely for the common good.

            Since the September 17 letter was addressed to the State Government, I am sharing a copy of this letter with Government officials.  Kamagar gad, ma puruy rodad e nga i par nga tabang.

Sincerely,

John B. Ranganbay

Ru’way Estate

In Witness,

Philip T. Ranganbay

xc:The Honorable Sebastian L. Anefal, Governor

The Honorable Henry Falan, Speaker

The Honorable Bruno Tharngan, Chairman, COP

The Honorable Ignathio Hapthey, Chairman, COT”

*[September 26, 2012] Governor Made a Public Address about ETG’s Proposed Project in Yap

On September 26th, 2012, the Honorable Governor Sebastian L. Anefal made a public address on the Yap State Radio. Here are the soundtrack and its brief English translation.

Governor Anefal’s Address Regarding ETG Investment in Yap (09/26/12) by cc2001

*Note: Yap State News–belonging to Yap State Government, Department of Youth and Civic Affairs, Office of Media, has never reported this news.

*[October 2, 2012] Governor Delivered a Letter to ETG Chairman Deng Hong

On October 2, 2012, Governor Anefal delivered a letter to ETG Chairman Deng Hong concerning the public resistance against ETG’s proposed investment project. Please refer this link for a copy of Governor’s letter.

*Note: Yap State News did not report this information.

[October 17, 2012] US Ambassador Concludes State Visit

COLONIA, Yap – Her Excellency Doria Rosen, US Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia has returned to the nation’s capital after concluding her first introductory visit in the State of Yap from October 13 to October 17, 2012. She was greeted upon her arrival at the airport by Protocol Personnel on Saturday and was escorted to the Hotel by Police. Ambassador Rosen was accompanied by two of her staffs, Deputy Chief of Mission Hon. Michael Ordonez and Political & Military Affairs Assistant Lynn Pangelinan.

Ambassador Rosen began her tour of the Island on Sunday with visits to the Seabees team on CCAD projects and other projects in Yap being funded by the Office of Insular Areas at the Department of Interior. She also held a meeting with members of the American Community in Yap on Sunday.

On Monday, October 15, 2012, the US Ambassador paid courtesy visits with State Leaders including Governor Sebastian Anefal, Speaker Henry Falan, both Chairman of the two Traditional Councils of Pilung and Tamol, Chief Justice Cyprian Manmaw and other officials of the State Government.

The United States Ambassador held a joint meeting with the two Traditional Councils on Monday where she discussed the type of assistance that the Leaders should consider as something needed to mitigate the impact of the continued rise in sea level especially the low Atolls within the State.

During her visit with the two Councils, the issue on the ETG Investment in Yap was brought up and was also discussed.

The Ambassador mentioned that with the continued decrease in compact funding, the FSM needs to bring in investments from any country in the world that could help improve the nation’s economy.

The Councils raised a question concerning an issue being circulated around in the communities that relation between the US and FSM governments could weaken if Yap accepts ETG to bring in its investment. In her respond, the Ambassador said the US is not against the Chinese Investment in Yap, in fact Yap has made the right choice to sign the Investment Agreement with ETG.

The State hosted a welcoming reception for the US Ambassador and members of her delegation at the Marina on Monday, October 15, 2012.

During the welcoming reception on Monday, Governor Anefal delivered the welcoming remark on behalf of the State Leadership welcoming Her Excellency to the State and ask that she makes more time avail to the state of Yap in particular being the outlaying State far-west in the region. Governor Anefal thanked the Ambassador for paying her introductory/credential visit to Yap after short time in office a sign of commitment.

He welcomed her in advance to the upcoming canoe festival in November and also Yap Day in March 2013. More importantly Governor assured the Ambassador that the State has been and will continue to work hand in hand with the US Government thru the FSM to better facilitate the compact operation throughout the years.

Madam Ambassador reciprocated the Governor’s remark by thanking the State Leadership for their hard work and said she was happy to have had the chance to visit Yap State. She touched briefly on the importance of getting acquainted with each other and noted that the US and FSM have been friends for a long period of time, where nothing should be difficult anymore other than working together like the Governor mentioned. “There are many things ahead of us, but what’s important is to work out the differences in what we believe in. We must work together in understanding the importance of development and we hope to help”, said the Ambassador.

State representatives presence at the function, along with Governor and Lt Governor were the Hon. Speaker Henry Falan of the 8th Legislature of the State of Yap, Council of Pilung Representative Peter Beyan, Council of Tamol Representative Peter

Letawerpiy, Members of Governor’s Cabinet; Director Frank Haregaichig of the Department of Resources and Development, Director James Gilmar of the Department of Health, Director Ruotpong Pongliyab of the Department of Youth & Civic Affairs, Acting AG Jeremiah Luther, Director Vincent Figir of the Department of Public Works and Transportation, Yap State Chief Justice, Hon. Cyprian Manmaw, National Congressman, Hon. Joseph Urusemal and other members of the 8th Legislature namely Chairman of Resources Education and Development (RED) Sen. Charles Chieng, Floor Leader Sabino Sauchomal, Sen. John Mooteb and Sen. Jerry Fagolimul.

Ambassador Rosen- Dorothea-Maria (Doria) Rosen, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia on August 9, 2012, becoming the eighth person to hold that post.

Most recently, she served as the Diplomat-in-Residence for the Midwest region, based out of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to this position, she was the Deputy Principal Officer in Frankfurt, Germany. From 2004 to 2008, Ms. Rosen served as the Consul General in Bern, Switzerland. From 2001 to 2004, she was Deputy Chief of Mission in Reykjavik, Iceland. Her other overseas positions included: Visa Branch Chief in Frankfurt, Germany (1996-1999); Nonimmigrant Visa Chief in Manila, Philippines (1994-1996); Political Military Officer in Berlin, Germany (1991-1994); Consular Officer in Accra, Ghana (1989-1991); Deputy Chief Immigrant Visa Section in Seoul, South Korea (1988-1989); and Vice Consul in Stuttgart, Germany (1983-1986) and Bucharest, Romania (1981-1983). In Washington, Ms. Rosen has served as Director of the Office of Public and Diplomatic Liaison in the Bureau of Consular Affairs (1999-2001) and as an analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1986-1988). Prior to entering the Foreign Service, Ms. Rosen served as an Army Reservist from 1979 to 1981. From 1976 to 1979, she served on active duty in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps in Heidelberg, Germany.

Doria graduated from Vassar College in 1972 with an A.B. in psychology and a minor in education. In 1975 she received a J.D. from Hofstra University Law School. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1976 and to the California State Bar in 1977. She has studied French, Romanian, and German. Doria has three grown children: Michael, Thomas, and Katharine.

*[October 19, 2012] Concerned Citizens wrote to Governor and Speaker for inquiring the follow-up of Governor’s Written Notice

On October 19th, 2012, Concerned Citizens group delivered a letter to Governor Anefal and Speaker Falan, copied to Mr. Yang Gang (ETG’s authorized representative in Yap).

In the letter, Concerned Citizens group expressed their appreciation to Governor’s letter addressed to ETG’s Chairman, Mr. Deng Hong, which was reportedly delivered on October 1st, 2012.

Concerned Citizens group politely inquired the follow-up of Governor’s letter, restated their goal for a sustainable development based on governmental transparency, public participation, and the unity of the state leaders and citizens.

Mr. Yang Gang wrote a reply to Concerned Citizens on October 19th regarding the delivery process of Governor’s letter. A Yap State citizen wrote a reply to Mr. Yang Gang to clarify the delivery process.

Please refer to this page for all relevant documents.

*Note: Yap State News did not report this information.

[October 23, 2012] Correction to News Brief Article on October 17th, 2012:US Ambassador Concludes State Visit

 This is in correction to our report on the courtesy visit with the Traditional Councils of Pilung and Tamol on October 15, by HE Ambassador Doria Rosen of the US Embassy which was over emphasized.

• The Ambassador was misquoted. We regret any misunderstanding.

• The US welcomes FSM efforts to attract legitimate investors, foreign and domestic, and encourages the FSM to reform its macroeconomic regimes to improve its overall business climate.

• As for the proposed investment in Yap, the U.S. is not opposed to legitimate investors and investments that would provide long-term benefits to the people of Yap. Investment proposals should be open and transparent.

We sincerely apologize for the error.

[November 28, 2012]  Yap Awareness Project Group Sends Communication To  Speaker

The Yap Awareness Project Group has sent a communication to the Hon. Speaker Henry Falan, 8th Yap State Legislature, petitioning the government to effect unity amongst leaders and in the communities.

Following is the letter from the Yap Awareness Project Group to the Hon. Speaker Henry Falan.

“Siroo Honorable Speaker Falan;

We, the Yap Awareness Project, present before you a petition calling for unity amongst leaders to effect unity in the community. We call for further exploration into ETG’s investment proposal to pursue all possible benefits that may be realized. In this petition, we make our stand that we do not support the efforts of others calling for removal of our Governor. Instead, we are calling for all government branches to work together to properly manage this development proposal for the betterment of Yap and her people. To date, we have registered over 1,600 citizens of voting age that share our views. To the best of our ability, we attempt to report the support we’ve enlisted as accurately as possible. As a primary objective for Y.A.P., we continue our efforts in garnering further support for development.

The last two public hearings with the Concerned Citizens Group and the Legislature have forced us to make our stand and share our concerns. We believe that pressing economic realities we currently face should be of great distress. Currently, (by US standards) FSM has 22% of her people without jobs. Our nation is experiencing negative 0.3 population growth rate, a strong indicator of out-migration. Dwindling Compact funds is a great concern for a state that has 41% of its GDP vested in the public sector and subsistence economy. This is not the picture of a healthy and we do not foresee a better picture for tomorrow without significant change taking place today.

Yap Awareness Project is dedicated to promoting greater awareness and education for an informed public. It is our belief that we can work together; government, communities, and investor to develop the kind of strategic management necessary for a project of this scale. We impress upon our leadership to make tangible effort in the matter.”

This letter was signed by the Interim Officers:

Simeon Waathan, President

John Sigrah, Vice President

Katherine Gisog, Secretary, and

Domingo Techur, Treasurer

*[December 26, 2012] ETG (Chairman Deng Hong)’s Response to Governor Anefal’s Letter

*Note: This information was not on Yap State Government News Briefs.

Mr. Deng Hong, Chairman of ETG, has delivered a letter to Governor Anefal in response to Governor’s letter submitted to ETG on October 2, 2012. The letter could be downloaded in the following links:

We thank Mr. Henry Norman for uploading the letter to the facebook’s page, Yap’s Development.

*[January 11, 2013] President Mori heads to Yap for ETG consultations

 *Note: The resource of this news was http://myfsm.blogspot.tw/2013/01/president-mori-heads-to-yap-for-etg.html, not Yap State News.

President Manny Mori will head to Yap State on January 12 to hold personal meetings with the state’s political, traditional and business leaders regarding the proposed ETG investment in Yap.

“The primary purpose of my visit is to learn more about the ETG investment through personal meetings and consultations with political, traditional, and business leaders in Yap State”, the President expressed in a January 10 letter to various leaders, including Chief Bruno Tharngan and Chief Ignathio Hapthey for the Council of Pilung and the Council of Tamol.

According to his schedule of events as arranged by his chief of staff and Yapese officials, the President will hold meetings with Church leadership on January 13. On January 14, separate meetings will be held with  the Speaker and Members of the Yap State Legislature during the opening of their session; the Council of Pilung; and the council of Tamol, in that order.

Some other meetings will be on January 15, including with Governor Sebastian Anefal and later with the business community before he departs Yap way early morning of January 16.

For further reading on ETG and its investment interest in Yap State, you may click on the link belowhttp://naturesway.fm/archives/etg/timeline/ETGFlyer.pdf.

[January 15, 2013] Yap trip rescheduled: United Airlines overflew on January 12

*Note: The resource of this news is http://myfsm.blogspot.tw/2013/01/yap-trip-rescheduled-united-airlines.html 

Bad weather conditions in Pohnpei on January 12 interrupted scheduled United Airlines flight barring President Manny Mori’s trip to Yap to take place on that day.

The President’t Yap trip for consultative meetings with various leadership levels, including church, business community, traditional and government leaders, has been rescheduled for January 19.

For details, write to fsmpio@mail.fm.

[January 15, 2013]  Cover Report: Not So Good A Year For Marshalls, FSM

*Resource: Yap State News Brief, January 15, 2013 

NORTHERN PACIFIC (Island Business) — Both Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) are at the midway point in the 20-year Compacts of Free Association with the United States, and what is clear is that both nations are still dependent on the US government for a majority of their budgets.

Despite much talk about the private sector, the business environment has not improved significantly in either country, and as the 2023 end of Compact grant funding looms, government trust funds are short of benchmarks needed for them to be able to provide funding adequate for a smooth transition in the post-2023 period.

In both nations, the Compact agreements reduce grant funding annually—US$800,000 for the FSM, US$500,000 for Marshall Islands—that is invested instead in their respective trust funds.

These cuts, 10 years on, are beginning to be felt by the governments. But little has been done to address large government workforces dependent on this declining funding. In the Marshalls, for example, 90 percent of employees in Ministry of Education are paid from US funding.

FSM President Emanuel Mori, recently re-elected to a second four-year term, says his nation has to prepare itself for the fact that when Compact grant funding ends in 2023, the national trust fund will be far below the projected level of US$1.8 billion.

“This amount would position us in a comfortable way going forward,” he said. But global financial conditions now have FSM officials believing that they will be lucky if the trust fund can build up to US$1 billion by 2023.

“It is imperative for us to look at options to continue operating government beyond 2023,” Mori said.

US officials say the FSM trust fund is currently under-funded by 45 percent, while the Marshalls is five percent below projections. Even this smaller percentage is worrisome for the Marshalls.

The International Monetary Fund has called on Marshall Islands’ leaders to add US$9 million a year to the trust fund to avoid an economic crisis in 2024, but the country has only been able to invest about US$2 million over the past couple of years and suffered a deficit of about US$2 million in the last fiscal year.

Both nations are going through donor agency-driven reform programs. Both FSM and Marshalls are undergoing tax system overhauls, which could be implemented in 2013—but both remain controversial, with private sector concerns being aired at a possible doubling of taxes overall in the Marshall Islands.

The Marshall Islands parliament in January will consider legislation aimed at improving the operation of state-owned enterprises, which have lost the government about US$70 million over the past 10 years.

It is also proposing to open the telecommunications sector to competition with the World Bank providing up to US$13 million in incentive grants to government.

Economic prospects

While FSM has recently launched an offshore corporate registry that is generating about US$5 million annually in revenue, the Marshall Islands has the world’s third largest ship registry, behind Panama and Liberia.

The ship registry and its companion corporate registry is now injecting US$4 million annually, with this amount to rise to US$5 million next year. Both countries have seen their fisheries revenue jump over the past two years through participation in the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) bloc, and this is expected to continue to rise.

If PNA can maintain unity, it will be able to control management of the region’s tuna fishery, including benefits to the islands from licensing and fishing day fees, as well as on-shore developments.

The challenge for the Marshalls is that this new-found revenue has largely gone to subsidize money-losing SOEs, not for reinvestment in the fisheries sector or other development areas.

A Chinese group has proposed for Yap the biggest development ever in the North Pacific. But the plan of China’s Exhibition and Travel Group (ETG) to take over much of this staid, traditionally-oriented island of 11,000 islanders for a grand tourism destination for Chinese travelers has sparked opposition from the state legislature and the Catholic Church, among others.

Leadership has split over the plan, with Governor Sebastian Anefal backing the development. Fr. John Hagileiram, SJ, who heads the Jesuit presence in the FSM, has come out against the development, saying simply, “It’s too massive for our island.”

Project proponents must contend with a legislature resolution calling for a halt to planning for the development, as well as community concern over its impact.

Tourism in the FSM and Marshall Islands remains small and largely homegrown. People in both countries want to pump up visitor numbers, and even a small increase could double arrivals, the visitor counts are so small in these islands.

In the Marshalls, for example, only about 4,000 people visited in 2011—an indication of the challenge the country is having in attracting tourists.

“We need to bring in tourists,” Mori said. “We hope that the tax incentives we will be offering will bring in investors to build one or two hotels to help promote the islands.

“We’re not looking at replicating Guam, Saipan or Honolulu. We want to make sure our tourism is different.” But after more than 25 years of US Compact funding, private sector tourism activity has remained modest.

Out-migration

Out-migration to the United States is a major factor defining both nations since the late 1990s. An estimated 49,804 FSM citizens are now living in the US, while more than 22,000 Marshall Islanders are there.

Paradoxically, the large numbers of islanders living in the US has not had a significant economic impact back home, as people report that remittances are low to non-existent. In fact, for the Marshall Islands, there is a large outflow of money to the US.

Where 20 years ago, US Kwajalein missile range land rental payments circulated in the local economy, today many of the landowners receiving quarterly cheques live in the US, so the rent payments do not touch down in the Marshall Islands first.

The same is true for significant portions of nuclear test-affected islanders who receive regular compensation payments and now reside in the US.

In one regard, however, the visa-free access to the US is providing exactly what Compact negotiators intended: a safety valve for the islands whose economies cannot generate jobs to support their growing populations.

The heavy out-migration has prompted calls from political leaders in Hawaii, Guam, Arkansas and other states with large populations of islanders for increased US federal aid to support health and education services, as well as a tightening up of immigration provisions to screen islanders prior to admission.

Both the Marshalls and FSM have encouraged US leaders to take a balanced view of the situation, and recognize the positive side to migration.

The cost to Guam and Hawaii of Micronesians living in these US areas must be balanced against the contribution that they are making, said Mori.

“Studies show that our people are working, own businesses, pay taxes and are in the military,” Mori said. “They are making a contribution, but just how much nobody knows.”

Palau

Palauan and US negotiators reached an agreement on a new Compact of Free Association two years ago, but it has yet to be passed by the US Congress, largely because of ongoing budget uncertainty in Washington.

In the meantime, Palauans went to the polls for their national election in November and elected former President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. to an unprecedented third four-year term. Remengesau was president of Palau from 2000 to 2008.

Palau’s constitution forbids more than two consecutive terms for the president.

Remengesau gained election to the Palau Senate after stepping down from the presidency, and managed to unseat incumbent Johnson Toribiong, who served for one four-year term.

Remengesau’s years in the presidency were highlighted by his enthusiasm for environmental conservation, including his backing of the Micronesia Challenge conservation program that has gained global recognition and involvement from the Marshall Islands, FSM and other US-affiliated islands in the north.

The Micronesia Challenge aims for active conservation management of large percentages of land and marine areas in each nation.

Challenges ahead

The Marshalls and FSM are faced with slow economic growth, declining US grant funding and large government workforces.

In addition, for the Marshalls, such problems as a retirement system that will be bankrupt in eight years if no legislative and policy action is taken by government leaders looms as an impending crisis.

Reforming government operations—from ministries to state-owned enterprises—is obviously a priority in need of attention. But reform programs driven by donors, which is largely the case in these two islands, are likely to be of limited value.

The challenge for both governments is to head off impending fiscal problems with homegrown solutions that are supported not only by donors but by the people who must implement them and who will be affected by them.

[February 5, 2013] President Mori Issues Letter To YSL Speaker Falan Supporting ETG Development

 Resource: Yap State Government News Briefs

In a letter issued to the Honorable Henry Falan, Speaker of the Yap State Legislature, President Emanuel Mori expressed his support of the ETG development in Yap State.

President Mori stated, “After the extensive discussions I recently had in Yap State about this ETG investment, I have concluded that it is in the best interest of Yap State and the FSM to allow ETG to continue with the implementation of this proposed tourism investment project given the positive reaction of ETG to substantially cut back on the scale of the investment.”

He further stated that, “Clearly, there are some peripheral issues which were brought to my attention from my meeting with the Concerned Citizens Group that are mainly due to the lack of understanding of the relevant issues and facts surrounding this proposed investment proposal.”

President Mori urged the Legislature to “work together with the Executive branch of the State of Yap and help enlighten our citizens so that they can be more appreciative of the need to develop our economy before the termination of the financial assistance of the Compact in 2023.”

A copy of the letter in its entirety may be read by visiting www.yapstategov.org/downloads/Mori-020413.pdf

[February 13, 2013] President Mori obtains views on ETG investment in Yap and urges progressive information sharing with communities

FSMIS (February 13, 2013): On February 1, after a series of consultative meetings with Yap State leaderships, traditional leaders, the private sector and NGO’s regarding the Chinese ETG investment proposal, President Manny Mori shared with Governor Sebastian Anefal and the Yap State Legislature a document on what transpired at those meetings with recommendations.

ETG stands for Exhibit and Travel Group, a Chinese business with overseas investments and operations.

President Mori indicated to both Governor Anefal and the Yap State Legislature that moving forward with the scaled-back ETG investment would be in the best interest of Yap State and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). However, he stressed that the decision to allow ETG to proceed rests with Yap State.

The President decided to take on the consultative meetings in mid-January in hope that conclusive leadership decisions can be achieved soon enough. He said in his meeting report, “because of the current impasse and the lack of a clear understanding of the role that the national government has in terms of foreign direct investments, I though it is incumbent on me, as President, to address the issues directly with the concerned parties and see how I can bring their divergent views together towards a more accommodating and acceptable alternative”.

In the same report, President Mori stated that the initial ETG investment interest in Yap was to include the construction of 10,000 room hotel facilities, golf courses, casinos, a convention center and other “entertainment support facilities”.

“I must say that I also have concern about the initial scale of the project”, the President highlighted before saying that the investment plan has been dramatically reduced so that no golf course and casino will be included and that only 1,500 hotel rooms will be constructed. He went on to say that further demands for scaling back and restrictions on the investment may not be financially viable for ETG, risking cancellation of interest altogether by the Chinese investors.

In terms of economic benefits, the President envisioned increase in tax revenue from various ETG-related infrastructure constructions and creation of new services and jobs. It is anticipated that tax revenues to Yap State resulting from the ETG investments will be even greater if the proposed Value Added Tax scheme is implemented.

President Mori spoke of the lack of information and the unanswered worries by the general public as complicating situations. He encouraged the leadership and ETG to engage the people as far as providing details and transparent information to cast away misunderstanding and create openness. He also spoke against providing wrong information as doing so will only provoke ill feeling toward investment and development in general.

Other issues that were commented on by the President in his meeting report touched upon some impacts and their possible remedies in areas having to do with land issues, environmental protection and cultural way of life.

“This ETG tourism investment proposal may be one of the answers to our desire to bring about meaningful development to our islands. We may not see another opportunity like this ETG proposal in our lifetime especially if there are no legitimate reasons to reject the investment proposal at the scaled-back level”, President Mori wrote at the end of his meeting report.

The President’s ETG meetings report could be read entirely on the link below:

http://fsmpio.fm/egt_yap/etg_yap.pdf

[April 8, 2013] The Council Of Pilung Issues Letter To Chairman Of RED Committee

The traditional branch of the Yap State Government, the Council of Pilung, sent a communication to Senator Charles S. Chieng, who is the Chairman of The Resources, Education and Development (RED) Committee, last Thursday, April 04, 2013 expressing their regrets that they will not participate in the upcoming public hearing scheduled on Tuesday, April 09, 2013 at the legislature chamber at 10:00AM. The public hearing notice was issued by the RED Committee on April 02, 2013 regarding a miscellaneous communication (8-225) from the Concern Citizens Group on provisions in the ETG lease template agreement between ETG and individual landowner in Yap State.

The letter reads as follows:

“Dear Mr, Chairman:

We want to thank you for inviting the Council of Pilung to the public hearing “regarding provisions in the ETG lease template agreement between ETG and the individual landowner in Yap State”, which is scheduled for April 9 at 10:00 a.m. We, the members of the Council of Pilung, will not be attending the public hearing. We feel that this public hearing is going to be an encroachment into a private dealing between private citizens and a private business, and it will be an overreach in the exercise of a government power.

Ensuring that private citizens fully understand the terms of their leases with any business, particularly a foreign investor, is a valid concern. But running their leases, or the lease template that they are negotiating, thru the political process of a public hearing is not the proper way to address that concern. Instead what the citizens need is access to legal services.

The State contributes to MLSC’s budget annually so that it can provide free legal services to citizens. But if MLSC cannot help citizens negotiate their leases with ETG for whatever reason, the State can consider appropriating funds to hire a lawyer or a law firm (even from outside of Yap if necessary) to assist citizens in their lease negotiations with ETG during a specific period of time, say a year or two. State funds were once given to the Satawal community to hire a lawyer to represent them in a reef damage case. So there is precedent for this.

There may also be other options to better ensure that our citizens have access to legal services in respect of the ETG project. We ask that your Committee focus on the options by which the State can best ensure accessibility for landowners to legal services, rather than directly reviewing private leases through a political lens.

If your Committee is to start reviewing private leases involving ETG, will it stop there? Or will it have to review all other leases between private landowners and other business going forward?  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Bruno Tharngan, Chairman

Thomas Falngin, Vice-Chairman

Steven Mar, Member

Francis X. Fithingmow, Member

James Manguon, Member

Justin Yilubwag, Member

James Limar, Member

James A. Yatman, Member

Louis LukanGaw, Mamber

Cyril Yinnifel, Member”

A signed copy of the letter may be found here: http://yapstategov.org/downloads/COP-04-04-13.pdf

 

[April 8, 2013] Tomil, Gagil And Rull Estates Send Letter To The State Leaders

 On Friday, April 05, 2013  estates from Tomil, Gagil and Rull sent a letter to Governor Anefal, Speaker Falan and the Council Of Pilung Chairman, Bruno Tharngan, regarding the “Dalip Pi Nguchol”.

The letter reads as follows:

“Dear Sirs:

Over the course of several months, some government officials have been premising their statements and charting their decisions around a purported decree of the Dalip pi Nguchol that all ETG’s investment activities in Yap State be ceased. This alleged directive of traditional authority may have been engineered by some to serve their socio-political interests or their agenda in opposing ETG’s investment in Yap. However, that directive is not of the Dalip pi Nguchol for the following reasons:

1. In the case of Tomil, the village of Teb has not instated a person to the state of their Nguchol for decades now. So the authority of their Nguchol cannot have been legitimately invoked as has been alleged.

2. In the case of Gagil, the person who signed for the estate of Bulwol have admitted to the village of Gachpar that he did not fully understand what he was signing.

3. In the case of Rull, the estate of Ruwey had issued a notice invalidating its Signature on the alleged decree.

4. Lungun or the authority of the Dalip pi Nguchol is a process of traditional governance that was meant to be employed through consultations or puruy between and among certain chiefly estates in Tomil, Gagil, and Rull. Obviously, without consultations with other essential chiefly estates, no single estate can alone effectively dictate over barba’ e nug, nor can three estates alone effectively exercise traditional authority over the whole State. This is because in order for a directive of the Dalip pi Nguchol to pervade all facets of society and be certain to be obeyed, it must be undergirded by the weight and political ties of both the Bulche’ and Ulun. This is the check and balance in our traditional system of governance. The alleged decree of the Dalip pi Nguchol was fashioned without the process of consultations among the pertinent estates in Rull, Tomil, and Gagil.

Based on the foregoing, we declare that the Dalip pi Nguchol have not decreed that ETG’s investment activities in Yap ceases. The responsibility for foreign investment primarily resides in the province of government as a matter of law. And so we ask that officials of government rely upon the application of law and State policy, not an invalid traditional decree, to address whatever issues may still be lingering around the ETG investment project.

We are of the opinion that the authority of the Dalip pi Nguchol must not be hastily exerted on a concern of government that ought to be properly addressed through the rule of law and the implementation of government functions. If we continue to be this quick in seeking to deploy traditional authority on a concern of government– a concern for which the law is clearly designed to address — we will come to trivialize our system of laws and deflate confidence in the regime of government.

Finally, the Council of Pilung, itself an institution of government, is established by the Constitution as the first line of traditional authority to ensure that governmental acts do not adversely affect recognized customs and traditions. If the Council of Pilung fails in that mandate, or if out of utmost and absolute necessity, the authority of the Dalip pi Nguchol must be brought to bear on an act of government, let that be the decision of all the estates in Tomil, Rull, and Gagil, which have roles in the decision-making process of the Dalip pi Nguchol. Kamagar gad.

For Tamil,

Steven Mar, Nirnath Estate

For Gagil,

Francis Fithingmow, Pebnaw Estate

Andrew Yinifel, Miryang Estate

For Rull,

Victor Nabeyan, Tithera’ Estate

John B. Raganbay, Ruwey Estate

Thomas Falngin, Man’ol Estate”

A signed copy of the letter may be found here: http://yapstategov.org/downloads/DPN-04-05-13.pdf

 

[April 8, 2013] Public Hearing Scheduled on April 10, 2013 On Bill No. 8-117

The 8th Yap State Legislature released a notice of public hearing, informing the general public of a scheduled hearing on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at the Legislative Chamber.

The public hearing is on Bill No. 8-117, “A BILL FOR AN ACT, to appropriate the sum of $22,072,551 from the Yap State Fiscal Year 2014 financial estimates for the purpose of funding government operations, programs and projects in the State of Yap during Fiscal Year 2014, and for other purposes”.

The public hearing will be split into two separate hearings with two witness groups—one starting at 9:30AM with R&D, Director Frank Haregaichig and all R&D Division Chiefs, and another beginning at 1:30PM with DY&CA, Director Ruotpong Pongliyab and all DY&CA Division Chiefs.  Also called as key witness in both hearings are Lt. Governor Tony Tareg, Director of the Office Planning & Budget, Raymond Igechep, and Chief of Budget, Pius Talimeisei.

As usual, public hearings are open to the general public; any comments from the general public would be entertained after the witnesses complete their testimonies.

[May 30, 2013] Public Announcement Concerning Resolution Foreign Investment Permit of ETG

Resource: Yap State News Brief, May 30 2013

[Office of the Governor] – On May 2, 2013, the Eighth Legislature of the State of Yap adopted a resolution calling on the Yap State Foreign Investment Board to cancel the Foreign Investment Permit (FIP) of the Exhibit and Travel Group (ETG). The resolution further states that if the Board fails to cancel the FIP of ETG within twenty (20) days of receipt, the resolution shall operate to cancel the Permit itself.

In a May 16, 2013 meeting with the Legislature on the Resolution, the Lt. Governor informed the Legislature, with all of its members present except for the Speaker who was off-island, that the Executive Branch sees factual and legal problems in the Resolution; that the Resolution infringes on the power of the Executive Branch; and that it is an attack on certain personnel of the Executive Branch. The Lt. Governor further pleaded with the Legislature to set aside differences and open up dialogue between the two branches to address the underlying problem(s) that the Resolution is intended to cure without further arbitrary in-fighting.

The Legislature, in its response to the Lt. Governor, reaffirmed the validity of its Resolution and requested the Lt. Governor and the Attorney General to put in writing a legal memorandum on the Resolution point for point. Given no other option, the Lt. Governor conceded.

It is not clear when the 20 day deadline expires as the Chairman of the FIP Board was not served with his copy of the Resolution. In the meantime, OAG is drafting a memorandum of law addressing the resolution as requested by the Legislature.

The Executive does not agree with the course taken; it sees this path as a prologue to a civil suit with the Branches as opposing parties. But without an option for amiable discussion on the root problems, it must prepare for when it becomes necessary for the Judiciary to determine the legality of the Resolution.

The Executive, however, is hopeful that upon sharing its views of the Resolution with the Legislature, the Legislature would reciprocate; that it would see the negative effect of the Resolution weighed against its benefits,  and accept the Executive’s invitation to a working relationship towards an agreeable solution beneficial for the people of the State now and for the future.

[June 25, 2013] Legislature Issues Letters Seeking Clarification From Administration

A series of letters, issued by Yap State Legislature on June 4th and June 20th 2013, were sent to the State Government in which members of the legislature were seeking clarification on “how the Administration feels about the Yap State Resolution 8-75″, which is a resolution that calls on the State Foreign Investment Board to cancel the Foreign Investment Permit (FIP) of the Exhibit and Travel Group (ETG).

The following is a transcription of both letters:

June 4, 2013

The Honorable Anthony Tareg

Lieutenant Governor

Yap State

Colonia, Yap FM  96943

Re: Legal memo on YSR 8-75

Dear Lt. Governor Tareg:

This letter is to seek clarifications from you as to the current status of the agreement we [you and members of the Legislature] reached during the meeting which you requested and took place on May 16, 2013.  At the meeting you advised the members of the Legislature that you had requested the meeting so you could express how the Administration feels about the Yap State Resolution 8-75 (YSR 8-75).

As you know the discussions during the meeting were mainly in generalities that the Administration was concerned about the consequences of proceeding with the purpose and intent of YSR 8-75, that the Administration is caught in the middle of things, and that “going to court is the last thing the Administration wants to do.”  You impressed on the members that your requesting the meeting was “not to stop the Resolution,” but to share with the members the Administration’s concerns about possible consequences if the FIP is cancelled.  The members understood the requested meeting to be one seeking possible solutions from the Legislature, and that going to court was not on the agenda.

It was agreed that we were to wait for you for a list of the Administration’s specific concerns and issues on YSR 8-75.  We were to review the list before we all meet again for more specific and on point discussions of the specific issues and concerns.

The Legislature however, has thereafter received a legal memorandum of points and authorities from the Assistant Attorney General, Jeremiah Luther, through the Attorney General, on the legality of Yap State Resolution No. 8-75.  We would like to know if this legal memorandum of points and authorities is to be treated as the list of concerns and issues which was agreed to in the May 16, 2013 meeting that you were to transmit to us for review before we meet again.  It is important that we get some clarifications from you on this matter as the legal memo appears to be in preparation for going to court.

Furthermore, prior to our receiving the legal memo your Office had issued a press release on the subject matter of the May 16, 2013 meeting with the members of the Legislature.  As mentioned above, the discussions in the meeting were to be continued at a second meeting to be scheduled after you have provided us with the list of concerns and issues for review for the second meeting.  The press release is as per News Briefs of May 30, 2013.

Should the Legislature consider the legal memo from the Assistant AG as your transmittal to us of the list of concerns and issues or should we expect to hear from your Office as agreed to in the meeting?  We await for your advice and clarifications.  Thank you.

Respectfully,

Henry Falan                                                    Ted Rutun

Speaker                                                           Vice Speaker

Clement Mulalap                                             Jesse Raglmar-SUBOLMAR

Chairman, Finance Committee                       Chairman, GHW

Charles S. Chieng                                           Joseph Giliko

Chairman, RED                                              Vice Chairman, GHW

<End June 4 Letter>

June 20, 2013

The Honorable Anthony Tareg

Lieutenant Governor

Yap State

Colonia, Yap FM  96943

Re: Follow-up on June 4, 2013 letter concerning Legal memo on YSR 8-75

Dear Lt. Governor Tareg:

This is to follow-up on our letter of June 4, 2013 seeking clarifications from you on the matter concerning the legal memo on Yap State Resolution No. 8-75. We understand that your Office received the letter on June 7, 2013.  We would like to know the status of your response to the letter.

As you recall, the agreement reached in the May 16, 2013 meeting was to have a second meeting to discuss the list of concerns and issues you were to provide us in advance for our review for the second meeting.   And as noted on the letter, a copy thereof is given to the Government News Brief for publication for transparency purposes.

We look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible on the status of your response to our June 4, 2013 letter.  A copy of the letter is attached hereto for your easy reference.  Thank you.

Respectfully,

Henry Falan

Speaker

[June 27, 2013] Yap Governor’s Office Clarifies It’s Position On Resolution No. 8-75

In response to requests issued by the Yap State Legislature, as reported in our News Brief from June 25, 2013, the Office of the Governor stated in a letter issued on June 21, 2013 that their position on the Yap State Resolution No. 8-75 had been made clear in a May 28, 2013 Memorandum issued by the Office of the Attorney General.

The preface to the Memorandum stated, “On May 16, 2013, the Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor attended a meeting with members of the Legislature to discuss Yap State Resolution 8-75.  At that meeting, the Attorney General was tasked with forming a legal opinion of the scope and legality of the Resolution.  This opinion is a response to that request.”

The Resolution, adopted on May 2, 2013 by the Eighth Legislature of the State of Yap, called for the “Yap State Foreign Investment Board to cancel the Foreign Investment Permit (FIP) of the Exhibit and Travel Group (ETG). The resolution further states that if the Board fails to cancel the FIP of ETG within twenty (20) days of receipt, the resolution shall operate to cancel the Permit itself.”

Lieutenant Governor Anthony M. Tareg drafted and sent a letter to the Honorable Speaker Henry Falan on June 21, 2013 which acknowledged the receipt of both letters sent by the 8th Legislature and further clarified that the memorandum released by the Attorney General was “intended as a response to the ‘list of concerns and issues as agreed’ to in the May 16, 2013 meeting.”

The following is a transcription of the Lieutenant Governor’s reply to the Speaker Falan’s June 20th letter:

“June 21, 2013

The Honorable Henry Falan

Speaker

Eight Yap State Legislature

P.O. Box 99

Colonia, Yap FM 96943

Dear Speaker Falan:

I take this opportunity to thank you and acknowledge receipt of your June 20th,  2013 letter.  (second letter)  Mr. Speaker, not to dwell so much on the first letter dated June 4th,  2013, which was signed by you, Vice Speaker Ted Rutun, Chairmen Clement Mulalap and Jesse Raglmar-SUBOLMAR, although there maybe indications that my office received the letter on June 7th, 2013, I must admit that the letter never found its way to my desk for one reason or another.  I got it as an attachment to your second letter which I received June 20th, 2013.

As noted on the second letter, “Should the Legislature consider the legal memo from Assistant AG as your transmittal to us of the list of concerns and issues or should we expect to hear from your office as agreed to in the meeting?”.  I am writing to rectify any misunderstanding that my failure to respond to your first letter may have caused.

The legal memo from Assistant AG through the Attorney General has been fully reviewed and intended as a response to the ‘list of concerns and issues as agreed’ to in the May 16, 2013 meeting.

Thank you,

(signed)

Anthony M. Tareg

Lt. Governor

Cc:       AG

            file”

After the June 25th News Brief was issued by YapStateGov.org, a meeting between Lieutenant Governor Tareg and Ruotpong Pongliyab, the Director of the Department of Youth and Civic Affairs (DYCA), whose office is in charge of the Division of Media, revealed that a miscommunication between their respective offices resulted in the release of the Legislative letters without including the immediate follow-up transmitted by the Office of the Governor.  We apologize for the error and any misunderstanding it may have caused.

[August 9. 2013] Samoa Gambling Authority Withdraws Casino License For Chinese Group

[RNZI] – The Samoa Gambling Control Authority says it has withdrawn a casino license for a Chinese business group who were planning to build a 500 room hotel with a casino in the country.

The Authority says leaving the license open for the Exhibition Tourism Group, or ETG was too difficult and untenable.

In a statement, it says its decision follows events concerning allegations against the chairman of ETG that have been well publicized in various media outlets recently.

ETG’s Chairman Deng Hong is being investigated for corruption by Communist Party officials over land deals.

The Gambling Control Authority says the ETG were not able to confirm when the issues concerning its chairman were likely to be resolved, ultimately affecting the Authority’s ability to properly negotiate any license with the company.

It also added that ETG are not able to fulfill the conditions and legal requirements for the issuing of a full license.

ETG sent a delegation to Samoa last year to explore its business interest and meet with the tourism industry.

In May of this year, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi had said there was nothing to be alarmed after reports of Deng Hong being in police custody in Beijing.

[August 23, 2013] Summary of the Congressmen’s Briefing with Yap State Legislature

 The Meeting with Chairman Joseph Urusemal and Chairman Isaac Figir took place on Tuesday,  August 20, 2013 from a.m. 10 to 12:55 p.m. in the Yap State Legislative Chamber with Speaker Henry Falan, Governor Sebastian Anefal, Vice Speaker Ted Rutun, Floor Leader Sabino Sauchomal, Chairman Charles Chieng, Chairman Jesse Raglmar, Vice Chairman John Mooteb, Vice Chairman Joseph Giliko, Vice Chairman John Masiwemai and Senator Jerry Fagolimul, DY&CA Director Ruotpong Pongliyab, FSMTC Yap Branch Manager Peter Garamfel, and YSL Assistant Legislative Counsel  Genevieve M. Mangefel.

Speaker Falan opened the meeting by expressing thanks to the Yap Congressional Delegation for initiating the meeting in offering to brief the members of the Legislature. He pointed out the need to share information on an issue – fiber optic connectivity to Yap, and related issues – that has been discussed many times in past leadership meetings. The meeting, although informal, was official.

The Speaker said he would like to bite the bullet and share from the meeting that was held with the Governor yesterday on the issue of Fiber Optic Connectivity for Yap specific to the full grant offer by the World Bank to fund Yap’s connectivity.

Speaker Falan reported that the state leaders have had meetings with one or two teams from the World Bank by James Neumann and officials of FSM TC&I, and later another technical team of World Bank and ADB. All the meetings had been towards the efforts of Yap’s fiber optic connectivity to the Guam-Palau cable with a spur to Yap. The Project is a Palau Project to which Yap is looking at for possible connectivity.

Speaker further reported that the two important issues that would allow Yap access to the WB grant which will make the Yap connectivity happen are 1) the need, a WB requirement for the grant, for liberalization of the telecommunication services in the FSM, by the FSM and specifically the Congress to approve the liberalization of telecommunications in its September Session, and 2) the need to complete the liberalization efforts by February 2014, so the technical people can present the project to the Board of Directors of the World Bank for consideration and or approval. If this deadline were missed it would be unlikely that the project can commence, and the grant offer by the World Bank will then be taken off the table.

This offer by far a very important offer of a life time that if missed we may not come close to another again, and the Speaker also said that in the meeting yesterday with Governor Anefal, it was agreed on what we could do to help in convincing the Congress of the importance of Yap’s connectivity by way of an appropriate resolution of the Legislature and a communication from the Governor.  The reason we ask the Governor to be in this meeting is so that what we convey to you reflects what we said in the yesterday’s meeting with the Governor.

Speaker pointed out that the World Bank offer includes assistance to upgrading FSMTC among other in-country preparation needs, and a grant for Yap’s connectivity.

Chairman Urusemal thanked the Speaker and members of the Legislature and recognized Governor Anefal’s presence and others present in the meeting. He said that he and Chairman Figir are happy for the opportunity to come to provide a briefing to the Speaker and members of the Legislature and pointed out that they have similarly met and briefed the Governor and the Lt. Governor.

At that point, Chairman Charles Chieng pointed out the need to seriously look at a briefing of all branches instead of separate briefing for each branch as part of our important effort to bring together all the branches of government and people, after the recent ETG Project had divided the leadership and the people.

Chairman Urusemal said that that is how they would like to do the briefing and it would be much simpler and easier for them to come and do one briefing for everybody. The decision to send the letter was a way of paying respect to the Legislature and Governor for in their view it would be them that should call for the briefing after the Delegation informs them of their presence in Yap.

Chairman Urusemal gave the floor to Chairman Figir, who addressed the issue of the Fiber Optic Connectivity by saying that he basically does not know much about the Fiber Optic to be verse in discussing it, although he said that fiber optic is said to be the latest in telecommunication. Chairman Figir said that there is a need to learn more about fiber optic – all relevant costs, the economic impacts, etc – and as of today in terms of pending legislations in the Congress, other than one introduced before, there is no bill or legislation in the Congress.

It was pointed out that the World Bank in the process of their meetings in Yap said that there is a draft being worked on for the September Session.

Figir said, in that case we will have to wait and see that Legislation in order to make a decision whether it is good for our people or not then decide on what to do. There are concerns and issues to address and questions to ask so we may know what is in store for us in terms of benefits and costs. Less than 20% of the Fiber Optic in Pohnpei is used today. This will be the first major World Bank Project in the FSM.

Figir further added that they have not been purview to the documents on the project but if it is going to be good for the State then he does not see any problem. Basically, we have to look and view the project from the standpoint of benefits to our people, he said.

On the liberalization issue, Figir said that it will decrease price of service from the competition between service providers and that is good, but then the FSMTC outstanding loan is an issue that we need to know what will happen and who will assume the loan, when the FSMTC does not have the money and the FSM Government does not have the money either.

Chairman Figir also wanted to know the position of Yap State on the project as thought nothing has been officially communicated to them, other than a Facebook posting of the State’s position on the project.

It was pointed out by Chairman Raglmar of YSL that the position of the State on fiber optic connectivity has been made for a long time and in one of the recent Leadership meeting that position was also made.

Senator Urusemal warren of the possibility that we may do away with a local monopoly only to be replaced by a foreign monopoly.

To that, Chairman Raglmar pointed out that liberalization is one issue requiring a legislation and the other is the need to enact a law that would establish the competent authority to regulate telecommunication services and perhaps this authority would be the one to make sure that the local monopoly is not replaced by a foreign monopoly.

Governor Anefal, his staff and the General Manger of FSMTC – Yap Branch were excused, and the Briefing by Chairman Urusemal and Chairman Figir took place.

Chairman Urusemal’s briefing to the Yap State Legislature on the First Special Session of the 18th FSM Congress included the following points:

The First Special Session of the 18th FSM Congress was called by President Mori, which convened for 10 days from July 15-24 2013.

The first Congressional Bill that was passed was relating to the FSM Tax Reform efforts. This bill was to extend the Sunset Clause of the Revenue Administration Act (RAA) of 2012 to September 30, 2013 during which all four FSM states is suppose to have passed their State value added tax (VAT) legislations for the FSM RAA to be an effective law, and thus the tax reform to go through. The bill is now FSM Public Law No. 18-06.

On this point, Senator Giliko and Senator Mooteb posed several questions essentially asking what will happen to the FSM Tax Reform initiative at this point given that Yap did not pass its RAA and VAT legislations due to constitutional issues.

Chairman Figir pointed it out that the action by the Yap State Legislature to adopt the report on not passing Yap State’s RAA and VAT proposed legislations will result in no Tax Reform for the FSM if no amendment is made to repeal the sunset clause of the FSM’s RAA of 2012. Chairman Figir and Chairman Urusemal both respect the decision of the Yap State Legislature, and mentioned that whatever the outcome of the FSM tax reform may be, as they are unsure at this point, we leaders will have to live with the consequences of our decisions, and move on with state and nation building.

Chairman Urusemal reported on other bills, which included an appropriation bill of which $550,000 to assist the State of Yap with recurring debts and budget shortfalls. Two other bills were also passed by Congress to forgive the remaining balances of loans by the Congress of the FSM to the State of Kosrae  of which $1.31 million remains, and the State of Chuuk of which $748,804 remains. Chairman Urusemal added that the President has signed all these Congressional Acts into law.

Other resolutions were also reported, including a Congressional Resolution confirming the nomination of Vincent Tafeleluw to be Yap State Representative on the FSM Social Security Board.

Chairman Urusemal and Chairman Figir reported that they will be leaving for the next Regulation Session of Congress in September, and so it was agreed that the Congressmen would contact the Legislature and Governor after their session to know when they will be in Yap in order to plan for a meeting and briefing with the leadership on the session.

Chairman Urusemal thanked the Speaker and the members for the meeting and the Speaker likewise thanked both Congressmen for the coming to brief the Legislature.

The meeting adjourned at 12:55 P.M.

5 thoughts on “Timeline

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