Is Guam getting shortchanged with Compact funding? - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Is Guam getting shortchanged with Compact funding?

by Nick Delgado

Guam - Another visit from representatives with the Government Accountability Office today, but there is still the same concern from the community about how the territory is being shortchanged Compact impact funding. Guam shares $30 million every year in Compact impact money with Hawaii and the CNMI to support the growing population of citizens from the Freely Associated States of Micronesia.

GAO assistant director of international affairs and trade Emil Friberg spoke before government and business officials at the University of Guam today explaining the GAO's recent study to the challenges in growing migration. He says the cost provided is based on several factors, saying, "Of having this migrant community enter an area, having children going to school, having family members go to health clinics or hospital. And having someone get arrested and cost of incarnation."

In this most recent study, the GAO took a look at how the migrant population on Guam in 1993 was just over 5,000 and continued to climb where in 2008 the population hit more than 18,000 migrants. Despite the hike, residents like former governor Joseph Ada is concerned Guam continues to get nearly the same amount of Compact impact it was getting a couple decades ago.

"Sometimes they don't treat us as humans, they don't they take us for granted and we've been fighting this for many, many years," he said. "It just makes me feel that all this study is just an instrument to delay the U.S. from actually sitting down and paying the people, paying the various insular territories the actual cost for the reimbursement."

Ada says the $30 million is disingenuous. The GAO report shows between 2004 and 2010, Guam spent more than $201 million for educational services for migrants, $66.3 million for health services and $55 million for public safety services.

Joliene Hasugulayag, who migrated to Guam from Yap when she was four years old, says the problem is the lack of various services available. "Part of the reason is that the option is not available back home and should the option be available then they would prefer to be back home," she said.

While some say these types of studies are a waste of time, GAO officials say they hope the studies will result in benefits and maybe even more compact funding for future generations. 

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