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Press Release

The Senate of the 9th Olbiil Era Kelulau will commence its 1st Day of the Ninth Regular Session on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, at 10:00 AM at the Capital Building in Ngerulmud, Melekeok. For more information please contact the Senate at (680) 767-2455.

A Senate ra Ongetiu el Olbiil Era Kelulau a mesubed ra rokui el chad el kmo, a Kot el Sils ra Ongetiu el Regular Session a mo er ngii ra Ongerung lureor, January 13, 2015, er a Teruich el klok ra tutau ra Capitol el ngara Ngerulmud, Melekeok.

For more information please contact the Senate at (680) 767-2455.

Richard Ziegler, Vice President and Palau Island Manager for Bank of Hawaii, presented $1,500 donation on Monday, January 12, 2015 to Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC).   Receiving the donation on behalf of PICRC was Ms. Mingrang Koulechad, PICRC’s Business Manager and Ms. Geraldine Rengiil, Head of Research and Aquarium Department.  The donation by Bank of Hawaii was made to support PICRC’s 14th Anniversary fundraising effort.  Bank of Hawaii is the first company to make monetary contributions for the 14th Anniversary Fundraising event.

The annual Anniversary Celebration and Fundraising Gala Dinner will be held on Saturday, January 17th at PICRC grounds.  The theme of PICRC’s 14th Anniversary is, “Investing in people and learning” which highlights PICRC’s commitment and efforts in research and capacity building.

“PICRC is extremely grateful for the donation by Bank of Hawaii.  The donation is an investment in the future, because it will help PICRC’s in its effort to be more financially sustainable.  We hope that this donation will inspire other businesses to donate to our 14th Anniversary Fundraising efforts”, according to Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, CEO of PICRC.

In order to improve its revenues and financial stability, PICRC is constructing a new building that would help the Center increase its income from facility rental by $66,000 per year.  Funds raised from the 14th Anniversary Fundraising will go into the construction of this new building.  This new income source will help the Center become less dependent on grants and subsidies so that it will be in a better position to focus on Palau’s priority research and education needs, rather than being dependent on grants that are driven by donor priorities.  Visit www.picrc.org or “Like” PICRC on Facebook for PICRC’s updates on its 14th Anniversary Celebration and Gala Fundraiser Dinner.

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President Remengesau met with both Houses of the OEK for the first Leadership meeting of 2015 on January 7th to discuss a number of issues regarding legislation, national policies, government performance, and upcoming national events. Toppingday’s agenda were the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS) Legislative Framework, Micro-Pal Committee – Update Report (Underwater Fiber Optic Cable), Japan Emperor Visit – Update Report, upcoming new Palau passport issuance, and the Pacific Games to be held in July in Papua New Guinea. Members of the PNMS Legislative Committee including Minister Umiich Sengebau, Press Secretary Keobel Sakuma, PICRC CEO Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, Jennifer Gibbons of the Chamber of Commerce, and Steven Victor of the Nature Conservancy presented on the structural, surveillance, economical, social, environmental, security, and funding aspects of the marine sanctuary. Palau Ambassador for the Oceans and Seas to the UN, Stuart Beck was present at the meeting commenting that, “Palau is now leading the world in re-generating the Ocean. Due to Palau’s lead the Oceans is front and center within UN discussions on the Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals. There now over 70 counrties that have marine sanctuaries, but none of them are as comprehensive as Palau’s would be. Palau now leads a world movement on managing ocean resources and it will create the model for all sanctuaries.” Beck further commended Palau’s leadership for their efforts in making the concept a reality. The PNMS Legislative committee presented on how the PNMS will bolster Palau’s food security, improve Palau’s domestic fishing industry, and support Palau’s tourism sector. Dr. Golbuu enlightened the Leadership on how science supports the PNMS, highlighting years of research that calls for such action to be taken, saying, “Palau’s Ocean resources are depleting, the Pacific Region’s resources are depleting, and they are certainly in trouble. If we don’t do anything the trend will continue.” Golbuu further elaborated that protected areas add 5% more
biomass to the site, and that the “Bul” practice that the PNMS is modeled after will certainly have a positive effect on not only Palau’s marine biodiversity but the region’s as well. The committee also elaborated on economic aspects of the PNMS presenting on how it will boost Palau’s efforts in targeting and generating high-value tourism with its exceptional pristine environment. “The PNMS will certainly add premium value to Palau as a destination,” Jennifer Gibbons stated, for example, “tuna will be premium in Palau and Palau will be one of few places in the world tourists would have access to not only premium tuna, but other premium seafood, caught and produced by Palauans,” She stated. The Leadership also received reports from the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Palau’s current mortality rate and the Nation’s leading causes of death. The Leadership urged the MOH to improve its services and performance in health care and particularly in emergency medical responses, and improvements in State Dispensary Services. The Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) also reported at the meeting on recent multiple power outages over a one month span. PPUC reported on the causes of those outages and other power issues such as power fluctuations, grid network stations maintenance and management. President Remengesau, however recently wrote to the PPUC Board soliciting answers as to what the causes of the recent power outages are, and power fluctuations that disrupt businesses, and damage appliances including expensive electronics. The President was aware that PPUC had
commissioned an outside consultant to assess Palau’s power lines to determine the causes of transmission problems and asked PPUC what it has done to address the problems identified in that assesment. The President also mentioned in his letter that the power backup system at the Capitol Building in Ngerulmud does not work properly during power outages. The President concluded his letter requesting PPUC to provide an action plan and timetable in addressing the issues. Micro-Pal Committee, represented by PNCC Board member, Rhinehart Silas reported on the status of Palau’s acquisition of a fiber optic cable. Silas reported that the next step in acquiring a fiber optic cable is to create a public corporation to manage the fiber optic cable. The bill to create such corporation was agreed at the meeting to be pursued first by the Senate. The Leadership also discussed the items on the President’s legislative agenda and the House of Delegates legislative agenda that were Senior Citizens Discount Card Act (RPPL 8-49), Palau Visa Requirement Consideration, and Appointments to Boards, Commissions and Offices; Amendments to the Procurement Act (House Bill No. 9-157-15S), Amendments to Social Security (House Bill No. 9-7-1), Amendment to the Code of Ethics (House Bill No. 9-24), and the National Landfill and Jail Relocation.

January 7, 2015