Lolo builds upon relationship with Indonesian government
The Lolo Administration is embracing the relationship built by former Gov. Togiola Tulafono with the Indonesian government, which has indicated a desire to help the territory in areas such as trade and economics. They have also offered to build a basketball court here.
The relationship began with Togiola inviting Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, the Indonesian Ambassador to the U.S. based in Washington D.C. to visit the territory last year.
When the Lolo administration took office, the new government embraced the already established relationship and the commitment made by Djalal last year to the former governor. About two months ago, the Indonesian delegation, led by Djalal, visited the territory and met with Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga.
During that visit the Ambassador reiterated that he wants to set up a basketball court for American Samoan children, and also wants to move forth with a student exchange program. That program, as previously noted, would allow one student and one police officer from American Samoa to visit and stay in Indonesia for a period of time, according to the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira in a brief phone interview yesterday.
Earlier this week the delegation was back in the territory to firm up the commitment on the student exchange program as well as the basketball court, with funds already allocated by the Indonesia government to the tune of $300,000, said Iulogologo.
The basketball court will be constructed at the current site of the old Korean House, which will be torn down “because the integrity of the structure is compromised,” said Iulogologo.
According to the governor’s office, Lolo had proposed to the Indonesian government to help build a youth facility by renovating old Korea House, but after a comprehensive check by engineers, it was found that the facility is in worse condition than they thought, and because it is unsafe, it is best to have it torn down.
(The basketball court is a gift of the Indonesian government to the children of American Samoa, Togiola had said.)
Also initiated by the Togiola administration is a sister-city relationship between American Samoa and the Indonesian North Sulawesi Province.
Iulogologo said the governor of that Province will be in the territory on June 3, when the basketball court will break ground. At that time, they will be firming up the Memorandum of Understanding for the sister-city relationship, he added.
The North Sulawesi Province was selected by Djalal because that part of Indonesia has a large Christian population with a famous church choir, and, similar to the territory, its economic developments are in the areas of fisheries and agriculture.