Community Briefs


American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority board chairman Roy J.D. Hall Jr. is supportive of Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s move to increase the number of ASTCA board members to nine. (Samoa News should point out that these changes do not require Fono approval because ASTCA was established by a1998 executive order).
Lolo recently issued an executive order amending the 1998 order to increase the number of members as well as giving him the authority to appoint the board chairman. Terms for board members are two years, according to the new order.
“I support the increase in the members and I have found that having additional members allows for a greater contribution in discourse and discussion that helps the Board to be more effective in making decisions,” said Hall responding to Samoa News request for comments.
“I support the governor appointing the chairman to all the Boards, because it is important the governor's vision, commitment and policies are carried out by a person that he believes shares the same vision and commitment and will promote these policies,” he said.
“If any member, including the chairman, cannot or does not share the same goals, then they should be honest, state their case to the press and resign.”
Asked as to the benefit to ASG and the territory to increasing the number of board members for ASTCA, the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira  said broad views and perspective forge better decisions.
The Territorial Administration on Aging HAS released the firmed up program for Senior Citizens Day in American Samoa. Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga will deliver special remarks on Thursday, which is Senior Citizens appreciation day.
The TAOA program shows that all seniors are scheduled to be in front of the Gov. Rex Lee Auditorium between 7:30a.m. and 8a.m. for the short parade to the Suigaula o le Atuvasa at Utulei Beach.
The program includes entertainment by seniors as well as official opening remarks by TAOA director Ale Tifimalae. It also calls for seniors to pay a visit to the Government House at Mauga-o-Ali’i where they will be hosted at 12noon to a luncheon.
Ale told directors at this week’s cabinet meeting that they are all invited to the special day for the territory’s senior citizens.
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga revealed during this week’s cabinet meeting that some directors are complaining that their grants can’t absorb the hiring of students for the Summer Youth Employment program, which is overseen by the Department of Human Resources.
“Well, find a way,” Lolo told directors. “Call your grantor to allow that to happen. You don’t just tell us you cannot do it. Do something. It’s a worthwhile program.”
He said the whole goal of the program is to put young people in offices so they gain experience in the working environment. “So if your grantor say they cannot, then they are not willing to serve us. Do something and work with your grantor,” the governor said.
Lolo says the Governor’s Office is providing five slots and is hoping that large departments and ASG entities will provide more than  five, allowing “our young people the opportunity to train and to learn” in a working environment.
During the cabinet meeting, forms were given to directors to put down the number of students that each department and agency can accommodate. Lolo encouraged all directors to provide DHR with a final list as soon as possible because the summer program is set to being next month.
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has urged participants of the “Lalaga Fa’atasi Sewing” project classes to look at operating and owning their own Samoan sewing shops.
Speaking at this week’s graduation of 26 participants, the governor says the vast majority of sewing shops in the territory are operated by outsiders, who import outsiders to staff these shops.
He says sewing is another economic development that is useful to families and the community and encouraged participants to continue on with their new talents by operating their own shop. It was revealed during the ceremony that the governor has agreed to implementing advance classes as the current ones are basic sewing classes.
The classes are carried out by the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA) and funded by the local Criminal Justice Planning Agency, whose director Keith Gebauer says the skills learned in these classes are important.
“Part of the skills the participants learn in the Lalaga Fa’atasi Sewing project is the skill to produce for their families and neighbors their own clothing,” he told the audience.
Gebauer says that some participants in past classes have gone on to operate their own businesses and this is the ultimate goal of this project.  He says the Development Bank of American Samoa will work with participants to help them obtain operating capitol.
Participants can work with the Development Bank on a micro loan program to help further provide financing, he said, and those who have successfully completed the project have access to more capital.  (Part of the ceremony was aired on state run KVZK-TV.)
On Thursday, May 9, 2013, a Taiwanese fishing vessel, the Guang Da Xing No. 28, was fired upon by a Philippine government vessel in waters 164 nautical miles southeast of Eluanbi, the southernmost part of Taiwan in waters considered by both Taiwan and the Philippines to be within Taiwan’s 200 nautical-mile-from-shore Exclusive Economic Zone.
The Taiwanese fishing boat was severely damaged and suffered engine failure, causing it to float adrift. Crew member Hong Shi-cheng, a Taiwanese national, was shot and killed. The Philippine government vessel sailed away without offering any assistance.
A government vessel’s shooting of an unarmed fishing boat is an act of violence, and is in violation of international law. Therefore, we call upon the Philippines to promptly and sincerely respond to the requests of the Taiwan government to apologize, punish the perpetrators, and provide proper compensation to the victim’s family based on humanitarian grounds.
It is imperative that these two close and longstanding allies of the United States work together for an immediate and peaceful resolution of this incident. The circumstances that have given rise to such an incident must be addressed so as to guarantee as much as possible that such an incident will never happen again.
Ultimately, this means the negotiation of an agreement or treaty on marine fishing between Manila and Taipei.
During this difficult time, we express our condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Hong.


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