Ms. Bernadette Valencia from Matson Navigation made a visit to Palau Conservation Society's (PCS) office in Malakal to present the company's annual contribution to support PCS's conservation work in Palau. On hand to receive the check of $1000 was executive director Ms. Bola Majekobaje and Ms. Genna Saiske.
Matson Navigation Company Inc is one of the main carriers of containerized freight in Palau in partnership with Palau Shipping, another PCS Corporate Partner for Conservation (CPC). Ms. Valencia is a General Manager of Matson Foundation based in Guam. She's in charge of the company's corporate giving program. The Matson Foundation makes donations to charitable non-profit that have the greatest opportunity to positively affect the communities Matson serves. Their area of interest include maritime environment and ocean resource conservation, education, human services, culture and arts, and civic and community programs.
PCS is a non-profit organization for conservation in Palau that works both the national and community level. PCS' years of experience and accomplishment have qualified them to receive yearly support from Matson. Ms. Valencia expressed that their company are very supportive of the kind of work PCS does and will continue their yearly contributions as a CPC.
PCS board staff would like to express sincere appreciation for the support of Matson and partners like them. PCS invites other members of the business community in Palau and neighboring islands to consider becoming a Corporate partners for conservation. Get involved today by contacting our office at 488-3993/4716 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week, the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) was visited by Dr. Rodney V. Salm, the senior adviser of The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) Pacific Division. During his time at PICRC, Dr. Salm worked with PICRC staff and interns to assess the resilience of the reefs around Palau.
Dr. Salm has worked in conservation for his entire professional life, but it wasn't until 1990, that he first witnessed coral bleaching and understood the enormous pressures coral reefs are faced with worldwide. It was during one of his earlier trip to Palau that Dr. Salm understood some corals, such as those found in Nikko Bay, have a higher resilience to these global threats. "I have observed that coral bleaching linked to warming seas was patchy. But it wasn't until I came to Palau in 1999 and saw great survival by corals in certain areas that I recognized the factors that helped corals survive ," Dr. Salm recalls. "Where strong currents mix the heated surface water, corals was protected from heat stress; where corals were deeply shaded, such as in part of the rock Islands, they were protected from the harmful effects of intense sun light that usually accompanies a bleaching event."
The resilience of a reef is measured by its ability to resist or recover from large disturbance, such as bleaching events and typhoons, and maintain its regular functions. Coral reef in Palau continue to bounce back after large disturbance and appears to be some of the most resilient reefs found in the world.
With ocean warming on the global scale, large disturbances will increase. It is critical researchers and policy makers understand why some coral communities are so much more resilient than others. These survivors are the natural refuges that helps the weaker reefs recover Focusing on the factors that contribute to resilient reefs may provide valuable insight that can contribute to global knowledge. Hopefully, through the protection and management of Palau's resilient reefs, these corals will continue to thrive and secure the future of Palau's coral reefs.
Former President Kuniwo Nakamura said that the most alarming issue Palau faces is its declining population. In his address to the senators at the opening day of the Third Regular Session of the 10th Congress, he stated that something must be done to stem the tide of Palau's declining population.
"Find out why the population is declining, is it due to higher death and lower birth rate, is it out migration, is it limited job opportunities, is it low wages, whatever it is, do something about it," stressed Nakamura.
Former president Nakamura, invited to address the senate, was requested to address economic issues and give his recommendations.
Nakamura stated that policy is developed for people. He said that he was alarmed when he found out that the total population of people living in Palau is little over 17000 and out of that 17000, 12000+ are Palauans 4000+ were contract workers representing 27% of total population.
There is an obvious decline in population and if lawmakers, President and the rest of Palau leadership do not do anything to reverse this trend, Palauans will lose control of their country to foreigners.
"Once this canoe capsizes, can we bring it up again" stated Nakamura, referring to losing control of Palau to others. He urged lawmakers to make policies that would help weakest Palauan, to create freedom for all so that Palau can be attractive for our people to return to. He recommended a new and updated economic development plan that is comprehensive and takes into account all sectors of the community.
If nothing is done, Palauans will surely lose control of their country to other nationalities.
On the evening of July 29th, an organizational meeting of the Palau Livestock Association was held in the Conference Room of Palau Community College. The meeting was attended by numerous pig farmers, and several supporting agencies, including Palau Community College, the Bureau of Agriculture (BOA), the Small Business Development Center and the US Department of agriculture. Special guests at meeting were representative from Taiwan Embassy, including Ambassador Tseng and Dr. Hsia.
Dr. Hsia provided an extensive explanation of the program surrounding the slaughterhouse at the Bureau of Agriculture site in Ngchesar. The slaughterhouse building is finished and the processing equipment should arrive by the end of September. Four people from Palau will travel to Taiwan in September to receive training to slaughter pigs at the facility. An opening ceremony and ribbon cutting for the slaughterhouse is expected in November.
The slaughterhouse will provide a level of quality control and hygienic standards that will enable farmers to sell meat products to restaurants and stores on Palau. While the criteria for the slaughterhouse are still being developed, it is expected that there will be two levels of certification for pigs that are processed at the slaughterhouse. One level of certification will be for pigs bred under the Taiwan funded Animal Production Project at the Nekken piggery and fed with the feed mix produced at the Ngchesar facility. A pilot project with the BOA and the Taiwan embassy provided six pigs to six farmers to be raised to slaughter weight. After approximately six months and grown to approximately 200 pounds, these will be the first pigs to be processed at the slaughterhouse. Dr. Hsia explained that the higher certification level is intended to provide assurance to restaurant and large market buyers that there are no trace amounts of drugs in the pigs, either from raising them or in the feed. Also, he believes that the food from the Nekken facility will be free of fungus that could possibly contaminate the meat. This is an effort to provide the highest quality meat products possible. The second certification will be for all other local pigs; meat from local pigs is expected to be sold in small stores.
While on-island. Dr. Hsia inseminated more pigs at the Nekken piggery in the continuing effort to increase the number of piglets available to farmers on Palau. Three generations of pigs have been bred so far. Once they have reached the fifth generation of breed stock, they will work with farmers to continue to breed these pigs at farms throughout the country and provide assistance with artificial insemination and subsidized cost of feed. This will greatly increase the number of pigs available to be processed at the slaughterhouse with the higher certification level. Ambassador Tseng expressed his commitment to continued assistance to Palauan farmers and asked for patience from farmers as the slaughterhouse gears up for processing locally raised pigs. He believes this is an important step for increasing food security on the island. Director Sengebau expressed his gratitude to Ambassador Tseng for all the assistance that Taiwan has provided to Palauan farmers.
|Raynold "Arnold' Oilouch|
Palau and Taiwan has set out to strengthen mutual cooperation and official exchanges in the area of law enforcement following of the police cooperation agreement yesterday. In the agreement, consultation on law enforcement skills, combating transnational crimes, personnel training, information sharing, and official visits are among the related mutual assistance identified.
Upon the request of Palau Government, Taiwan will also provide necessary assistance in the training of a drug –task force under the cooperation agreement.
Vice President Raynold "Arnold' Oilouch signed the cooperation agreement on behalf of Palau government on July 5, 2017. The agreement was earlier signed by Taiwan's Minister of the Interior, Jiunn-rong Yeh, last month.
The police cooperation agreement is the third agreement signed between Palau and Taiwan this year.
In January 2017, the Agreement on a Working Holiday Program was signed in Palau when Foreign Minister of Taiwan Dr. David Tawei Lee was invited to attend the installation and Inauguration Ceremonies of the 10th Constitutional Government of the Republic of Palau. Later in March, Minister of State Billy G. Kuartei signed the Agreement concerning Co-operation in Immigration Affairs
and Human Trafficking Preventlon.
"With these three agreements being inked, Palau and Taiwan have broadened their horizon of cooperation which manifests stronger and deeper relations between the two countries," said a Ministry of Justice press release.
The Senate in its session on Tuesday. July 5. 2017 by an evenly split vote of 5 - 5, failed to pass Senate Joint Resolution No. 10-11 urging President Remengesau to establish a trade agreement with the People's Republic of China.
According to sources in the Senate, three Senators Mark Rudimch, Frank Kyota, and Mason Whipps were out of the country and the 10 votes on the floor were five YES - Hokkons Baules, Aric Nakamura. John Skebong, Kerai Mariur, and Stevenson Kuartei and five NO - Camsek Chin, Phillip Reklai, Regis Akitaya, Rukebai Inabo, and Uduch Senior.
The vote was divided between the supporters of Taiwan which has been close ally and benefactor Palau and of mainland China due to its growing influence in Palau mainly from increasing investments and tourists to the country.
Some Palau leaders have visited mainland China in recent months to promote trade and business which is causing concern of the Taiwan ambassador to Palau who has met many government, business, and community leaders in past weeks lobbying against relationship with China. Palau leaders still value the close diplomatic ties with Taiwan but see the relationship with China as strictly on trade and business.
Taiwan today has over 15 trade agreements with China even though they are asserting their independence. The resolution introduced by Senate President Hokkons Baules was reported out by the Committee on Foreign Affairs and State Matters chaired, by Sen. Nakamura in the last day of the special session on Tuesday. The committee findings in the report state "that in order to facilitate the growth of the Republic of Palau's economy, a trade agreement with the People's Republic of China is a step forward towards our goals".
Of the seven committee members, four signed the committee report including Nakamura and Skebong with Kuartei and Chin signing with reservations and Reklai not signing the report with Rudimch and Kyota off-island and didn't sign. On the floor vote, Reklai joined the opposition making the No votes five thus causing the defeat of the resolution.
Senate President said the resolution will be revived during the regular session to start next week when all members will return including Mark Rudimch and Frank Kyota who are expected to join the YES faction. After the vote and recess when the session resumed, Senate President Baules announced the removal of Reklai from the chairmanship of the tourism committee and membership in the foreign affairs committee. When asked for the reason, he said he lacks cooperation with other members of the committee who supported the ouster.
This will be the second time in the past six months since the inauguration of the 10th Senate that Senator Reklai has been ousted from a Senate position. After the inauguration, he was elected Floor Leader of the Senate. However, he was removed from the third highest post in the Senate in April when he was accused by a Senate staff of touching her behind. But he kept his chairmanship position of the tourism committee and membership in foreign affairs until Tuesday. This will be another milestone in OEK history of leadership shakeup.
Result of the latest health hybrid survey show that Palau health outcomes and behaviors are worse than that of United States except for general alcohol use and fruit and vegetable consumption. Results were reported at the town hall meeting conducted by ministry of health.
The Palau Hybrid Survey (integrated adult based survey) was designed to simultaneously assess prevalence of substance abuse, mental health and NCD risk factors such as cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet and lack of physical exercises.
The report seeks to inform Palauan public of the extent of these health issues and to use the data collected to develop and prioritize prevention program.
In addition, the data will be used for monitoring progress and help to reduce sickness and death rate in Palau. According to the survey results, almost half i.e. 47% of adults in Palau report their health to be fair or poor. Only 5% says that they have excellent health and 15% says very good. 52% of adults in Palau have had medical checkup in the last year and only 12% within last 2 years. Furthermore, report shows 20% have never had medical checkup.
33% of adults are over weighted and 37% are classified obese. Report also shows that women are more likely to be over weighted than man and Palauans are more likely to be over weighted and obese compared to non-Palauans.
The survey also shows that 14% of adults smoke cigarettes everyday and males have higher number of smokers than females. Most smokers in Palau are between ages of 18 to 34.
47% of adults in Palau chews betel nuts and more women chew betel nuts than men. 63% of Palauans don't drink alcohol but those that do drink, binge drink with number of binge drinkers higher with males than females and also higher among the younger age groups between ages of 18 to 44.
The survey also looked at food consumption behaviors and the result shows that one out of two adults in Palau eat at least one processed meat a day, and this is more prevalent in younger age groups with 31% of adults 18 to 24 years old consuming 2 or more serving of processed meat a day.
61% of women report low level of physical activities while only 37% of men report low physical activity. 46% of adults age 18-24, 25-34 and 35-44, all shows low level of physical activity. Over all 49% of adults show low level of physical activity and 19% show moderate level of physical activity.
Dr. Annette David of Health Partners, LLC explained the need for the survey stating that date and information collected will be used to develop targeted solutions and prevention program in order for us to reach the goals we set here in 2013 and to fulfill the vision formulated, "Healthy Palau with people living long, healthy and purposeful lives."
"Health is shaped by behavior and behavior is shaped by the environment. Environment is shaped by policies and system," added Dr. David.
Given the data and information from the survey, policies and system could be tailored in order to affect changes in the environment (physical environment, social and economic) and that in turn encourage healthy behavior.
Some of the example cited include making healthy food available, accessible, affordable, accepted and attractive. Environment shape our choices, according to Dr. David. An example of McDonald's fast food restaurants showcase how the fast food chain had made their food accessible, affordable and attractive, making their not healthy food, the choice of many.
Another example of policy affecting charge shows States in US with very few parks or playground having higher rate of obesity among children. States with more playground shows less percentage of obese children.
Results of the study enable Ministry of Health and its agencies to identify risk factors and design preventive measures. Policy markers can use the information make policies and system changes that support healthy choices.
Members of the United States Congress are urging funding for the Compact Review Agreement with Palau. Representatives Brad Sherman and Ted Yoho in a June 7 letter to Mac Thomberry and Adam Smith, member of house armed service committee urged that the compact funding be included in the conference report for the national defense authorization act for Fiscal year 2018.
"The compact review agreement reinforces our relationship with a tremendous ally in the pacific and advances the national security interests of the United States in an increasingly complex region of the world. Palau has voted with the United States more than 90 percent of the time in the United Nations and Palauan volunteers in disproportionately large number for service in the U.S. military, "Reps. Sherman and Yoho said in the letter.
Palau government has expressed frustration over the delay in the approval of the funding. Remengesau said the June 7 letter is good news as members of congress has identified the source of funding for the Compact.
Palau and the U.S. concluded a review of the Compact of free Association on September 3, 2017 and signed a 15 years extension agreement that includes a $250 million package of assistance for Palau through 2024.
Since 2010, Palau gets a yearly disbursement from the U.S. as part of the approved financial package. Palau gets at least $13 million each year. A big chunk of Palau's Fiscal year budget is sourced from the Compact funding.
Sherman and Yoho said U.S.'s failure to fulfill it's commitment to Palau or to fund the agreement for 7 years, undermines the goal under the Compact which is to assist Palau in "achieving self-governance and long term economic advancement."
"Our failure to fund this agreement for seven years undermines those goal for our steadfast and patience ally and unnecessarily jeopardizes U.S. interest in the region," the letter stated.
It added that President Trump's budget for the Department of Defense includes $123.9 million to be transferred to the Department of Interior in support of Palau's Compact agreement.
A Palauns college baseball sensation in the US has been drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ninth round of the 2017 Major League Baseball draft. According to news outlet Pirates Prospect, Bligh Madris, a Colorado Mesa University outfielder was't in the Baseball America top 500, and there wasn't a lot of information readily available on him, although Johnathan Mayo said that he heard Madris had a "good feel to hit."
Madris (6-2, 185lbs) showed that this past year, hitting for a .422/.513/.757 line with 17 home runs in 218 at-bats. He also stole 14 bases in 18 attempts. That comes in a small division, so the stats should be taken with that disclaimer, but it's good to see when paired with the belief scouting report.
While Madris didn't rate as a top 500 prospect, Baseball America did have him as the 12th best prospect in a three star class in Colorado. They noted that he was one of the most dominant hitters.
The Pirates first selection on Tuesday, which included rounds three through 10, was Florida State third baseman Dylan Busby hit 14 homers his sophomore year, 13 this season, and came on strong in the second half of 2017 after hernia surgery last fall slowed his start. He has played both corner infield positions.
Bligh Madris had recovered from an injury to his pitching arm which threatened to derail and put his college sports career in jeoparady during 2016 season. But the Colorado Mesa University standout has recovered after treatment and therapy and has started 2017 season in center field. He is on fire at bat hitting .446 with 13 home-runs and 53 RB I's so far, according to the university website.
But it would not have been possible without him to help of people around him. He said. "I have to thank a lot of people but mainly my coaches here at CMU and most of all my teammates. My teammates have had my back through the rehab process through surgery through everything. They helped me get back and be the player that I am today," said Madris in an interview by the school newspaper.
Bligh is the son of Palauan father, Style Madris and an American mother Kim and they live in Colorado. Style who hailed from the island of Peleliu, went to school in the US in early 80's and had continued to live and work there.
With all the hard work his son, Bligh, has put in the weight room and therapy has paid off in big way because 46 games into 2017 season, Bligh leads the rocky Mountain Athletic Conference division. In virtually every batting stat category and people around him see big things in store for him in near future especially his head coach Chris Hanks who remarked, "I think Bligh will play professional baseball and it could be as easy as this summer. I think he is going to play after college and I think he has a chance to do well in doing it," said Hanks.
Bligh father's uncles were known baseball standouts all star players in the 1960's and 1970's during Palau glorious day of baseball. They are Kengich Madris and Singeru Techur, brothers of Sadako, Style's mother. They played for Asahi and Peleliu teams and were outstanding on the second and third bases and shortstop as well as outfield and at bat.
Masao "Sabo" Esebei has been removed as speaker of the ninth Ngardmau state Legislature after a resolution signed by majority of the legislators was adopted to reorganize their leadership last Tuesday night.
Mr. Esebei was replaced by Johnny Tudong as the new speaker with Terence Miyozawa elected as vice speaker. Willard Kumangai stepped-down as vice speaker but took the floor leadership position. While no reason was given as to the legislature's decision to change leadership, some in the state leadership were dismayed with Esebei's action of circulating a letter accusing a certain member of questionable actions.
"It is not proper to spread allegations against a member without giving the opportunity to respond," said a state government official close to the matter.
"The allegations are inconclusive," added the government officials. Esebei had accused legislator Kumangai as the person behind the move to reorganize the leadership of the state legislature.
"Your attempt to reorganize the leadership of our state legislature has just crossed the 'point of no return' so prepare to explain yourself to the people of Ngardmau and appropriate officials of the national government what this letter will bring to their attention," said Sabo in his June 7 letter to Kumangai.
Copies of Esebei's letter to Kumangai were distributed to Ngardmau governor, Ngardmau delegate, senate president, house speaker, office special prosecutor, ethics commission and the office of public auditor.
Esebei lodged 8 allegations against Kumangai that he says "compels opening for public viewing and analysis." He claims that Kumangai used of Ngardmau state vehicle for personal activities; use state procurement process to procure tires for personal use; damage to government property cause by excessive personal use; use of government property to promote illegal and immoral activities; illegal pay raise for spouse through illegal alteration of budget; the pay raise caused discontent among office workers; using government funds to curry favors and evidence and witness to support these claims.
Esebei served only six month since being installed in early January of this year.