Senate unanimously confirms Ale Tifimalae to head TAOA
The Senate unanimously approved Gov. Lolo M. Moliga’s nomination of Ale Tifimalae as Director of Territorial Administration on Aging in a vote of 18-0, Tuesday morning. During his confirmation hearing, the nominee identified the lack of local funding as the major problem the department faces.
The nominee informed the Senators that currently there are two programs that TAOA is conducting for the senior population.
The first program affords 150 senior citizens the opportunity to work four hours for five days a week however there is a waiting list of close to 200 senior citizens who are waiting to be hired, and because of financial constraints TAOA cannot afford to hire any of these senior citizens who wish to work.
The second program is the food voucher of $25, which benefits close to 3,000 citizens. Ale said since the beginning of this month, March, the elderly are now picking up their vouchers in three different locations, depending on where you live, and not just from the main office located in Pago Pago.
For the elderly in the Western District, the vouchers are distributed in Pava’iai; for those in the Eastern District, their vouchers are given out in Fagaitua; and, people living in the Central Area are picking up their vouchers at the main office.
The purpose of this change is for the elderly to no longer stand and wait in long lines to pick up their vouchers, and also they hopefully no longer have to take long rides on a bus just to pick up $25 vouchers.
Ale said the response to this move has been positive from the elderly population.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Sen. Mauga Tasi Asuega noted that the nominee’s resume is commendable and he’s more than qualified to take over this position. He asked Ale if there is are TAOA offices in Manu’a and Aunu’u.
The nominee responded that currently there are offices in Ta’u, Ofu and OIosega. The senator told Ale that if there is any way that Pago Pago village can assist the elderly population, let him know, he’s willing to lend a helping hand. Mauga said he hopes the new administration will not take lightly the elderly population in the territory.
Sen. Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono asked if TAOA is allocated any funds from the government.
Ale explained that TAOA is 100% federally funded, however there’s still a need for some financial assistance from the government. He said it’s been over 10 years and the elderly population is still receiving a $25 food voucher and he hopes there’s some way the government can help to increase the vouchers.
For the job program, he explained that each senior citizen makes $4.90 an hour, which annually is $5,000 and this isn’t much, but it’s something.
Soliai said he agrees with Ale that the government should help TAOA with some form of funding to assist the projects that TAOA already has in place for the benefit of the elderly population.
Ale will appear in the House of Representatives for his confirmation hearing on Thursday.