From Broadcast To Broadband - News You Can Trust Pacific News Center - The most breaking news, local news and sports news for Guam and the Marianas, along with K57 Interviews. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:12:23 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Minimum Wage Hear: BOG President - "If We Don't Do It, the Feds Will"; Chamber -"Don't Do It" Guam - Bank of Guam President Lou Leon Guerrero told a Legislative Committee Wednesday night that she expects the Federal Government to pass a minimum wage increase that will boost the hourly wage on Guam, no matter what action is taken on the bill before them now.

The BOG President was the first to testify on Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz's Bill #316 which seeks to raise the minimum hourly wage on Guam from $7.25 now, to $10.10 by January 1 of 2017.

"Here's what I really think", said Leon Guerrero, "I think that the federal Government is going to pass the minimum wage. And we're going to have to do it regardless."

Leon Guerrero spoke in favor of the minimum wage hike saying "We have to start as businesses realizing that that's going to happen. And that we need to then make adjustments within our business models and our strategies."

In opposition businessman Pete Sgro expressed his dismay that Senator Cruz's measure was first announced at a Guam Women's Business Chamber Forum, with input from that Chamber's members, but no one else.

"What about other people", said Sgro. "Why was the Guam Chamber of Commerce never consulted? .. not once were we consulted by the sponsor of this bill", he said.

Neither was the Mayor's Council, or the Guam Medical Association, or the Guam Contractor's Association or the Guam Bar said Sgro. He went on to point to American Samoa, citing a GAO report which, Sgro said, concluded that the minimum wage hike had destroyed the American Samoa economy.

"I am a minority shareholder in the Bank of Guam ... and I have all my kids college funds in that bank. And I have other funds in that Bank .. but after what I heard .. and knowing what the Director said, tomorrow, I am withdrawing every single penny out of the Bank of Guam", said Sgro. "Because if that leadership believes in what was said tonight, that's not the Bank  want to do business with."

Guam Chamber President David Leddy came right to the point saying "On behalf of the Board of Directors and membership, I am here to express our opposition to Bill #316-32."

Leddy said the Chamber believes "wage increases should be directly related to worker productivity and economic expansion and not through arbitrary increases."

This was the first of what Committee Chairman, Senator Rory Respicio has said will be 3 public hearings on the proposed minimum wage hike.  The next hearing on the bill is slated for next week Wednesday at 2pm.


]]> (Kevin Kerrigan) frontpage Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:15:34 +0000
VIDEO: Two Inmates Involved in Stabbing Incident Test Positive for Illegal Drugs DOC Internal Affairs Officer Jeff Limo says Frank Pangelinan and Eugene Lane tested positive for THC, the chemical found in marijuana, however a PNC News source told us Lane also tested positive for methamphetamine or ice.

Pangelinan is accused of stabbing Lane yesterday at the special housing unit. Limo says the two will be formally charged today with additional felony charges.

And, as a result of the positive drug tests, Limo says DOC is now in the process of testing all 41 inmates in the maximum security unit. Those results will be released tomorrow, he says.


Meantime, Lane is recovering from his injury. He was stabbed in the back. Limo says Lane initially refused treatment, but was treated anyway by DOC’s medical director.

It’s still unclear what kind of weapon was used in the stabbing. Witnesses told investigators they saw a nail, but Limo says that will have to be verified based on the injury Lane received.

Limo says DOC officials are now in the process of “tearing up the whole building” taking down grills and light fixtures to remove objects that can be used as potential weapons.

Limo warned that as a result of the incident, there will be a change of command in their personnel.

]]> (Janela Buhain Carrera) frontpage Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:59:43 +0000
VIDEO: Amor Balbin Charged With Murder in Stabbing Death of Her Common-Law Husband Guam -  33-year-old Amor Litulumar Balbin has been charged with murder in the stabbing death of  her common-law husband.

This afternoon she appeared before Magistrate Judge Alberto Tolentino who set bail at $500-thousand dollars cash.

READ the Magistrate report HERE

GPD Spokesman Officer A.J. Balajadia reports that police responded to a disturbance at about 9pm last night at the Villa Marcus Apartments on Roy T. Damian Street in Toto.


According to Balajadia a 38 year old man was found with "a laceration to the upper chest." Medics rushed him to Naval Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:57pm.

Balbin has been booked and confined for Murder, Attempted Murder, Terrorizing, Use of a Deadly Weapon in the Commission of a Felony, Family Violence and Reckless Conduct.  



READ the release from Officer Balajadia below:


TOTO - Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 9:00p.m. Officers responded to a disturbance at Villa Marcus Apartments located on Roy T Damian Street.

A 38-year-old male had a  laceration to the upper chest.  Medics transported the victim to Naval Hospital who was pronounced dead at 9:57p.m.

Arrest:  Amor Litulumar Balbin, F/Carolinian/33/Toto, for Murder, Attempted Murder, Terrorizing, Use of a Deadly Weapon in the Commission of a Felony, Family Violence and Reckless Conduct.  Balbin was booked and confined.

A J Balajadia
Guam Police Department Spokesperson


]]> (Betsy Brown) frontpage Tue, 22 Apr 2014 22:18:02 +0000
VIDEO: Chamber of Commerce Says They Were Never Consulted as First of 3 Hearings on Minimum Wage Hike Bills Gets Underway Guam - The public hearing for the highly debated minimum wage bill gets underway tonight at the Legislature.

Bill 316 has already gotten some testimony, according to Labor Committee Chairman Senator Rory Respicio, who says that depending on the testimony, the bill could be passed before this year’s election.

There will be 3 separate hearings on Bill 316. The first was originally scheduled for today at 5:30 but because GOP senators are attending a senatorial forum at GCC around the same time, Respicio postponed the hearing to 8 o’clock tonight.

"I didn’t want people to think that I’ve on my own moved the hearing from 5:30 to 8 and preventing for some opportunity for those to come out and testify ... so I think so far as chairman of committee on labor who has to preside like with any other issue I would be fair and provide a process that represents both sides of the issue," explained the senator.


The next two hearings are scheduled for next Wednesday, April 30th at 2pm and then again at 5:30 pm.

Meanwhile, Respicio says that the bill could be passed by the Legislature before this year’s election season is over, but it all depends on the outcome of the hearing as well as the actions of the bill’s author, Vice Speaker BJ Cruz, after the hearings are over.

"I’m hoping that things that are being done through the legislature are done separate and apart from the election. Notwithstanding it is an election year. When you talk about the minimum wage issue, it’s a pocketbook issue. It’s a pocketbook to put more money in working families pockets but it's also a pocketbook issue because it takes more money out of employers," noted Respicio.

Among those who may voice their opinion against the bill tonight is Chamber of Commerce Chairman Pete Sgro. Besides the negative impact the bill could have on Guam’s economy, Sgro says he’s disappointed that senator Cruz never consulted the Chamber of Commerce about the bill.

"The interaction and exchange I had with the vice speaker proved our position that he never consulted with anybody else except the Guam Women’s Chanber of Commerce. And obvisouly the economist that is already gonna get ready to testify [in favor of the bill] works for the chairman of the Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce," Sgro pointed out.

"Some say the cost of living will increase if the minimum wageis increased, but we’re gonna hear from an economist who said the last time the minimum wage was increased there was no such effect," Respicio countered.

Sgro also argued: "The thing is is that all of us in this community, the vice speaker accused the business community of always being subsidized by the government. Wll of us, we subsidize the government. We have no choices in our power rates, we have no choices in our water rates, GMH is gonna increase their rates; we have basically no control over this stuff but yet they wanna control what our wages are. It just doesn’t seem fair."



]]> (Janela Buhain Carrera) frontpage Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:16:31 +0000
VIDEO: Payments on GovGuam's Billion Dollar Debt Will Rise to $107 Million Annually by 2018 Guam - A warning shot from the island's chief auditor.

In the wake of recent pay raises for GovGuam employees, and in the midst of the current debate over raising the minimum wage, and offsetting that by cutting business taxes, the Office of  Public Accountability [OPA] has issued a report on the island's growing debt service payments.

The audit found that GovGuam debt grew 54% from $1.02 billion in FY 2008, to $1.75 billion in FY 2013. During that time the OPA reports that GovGuam's debt service payments have almost doubled.

And the audit warns that annual payments to service that billion dollar debt will rise by another $26-million in the next 4 years, from roughly $80-million now, to about $107 million dollars annually by 2018.

READ the OPA"s Highlights of the audit of GovGuam debt HERE    




READ the FULL audit report HERE


No Formal Debt Management Strategy:

The audit objective was to determine the growth and magnitude of GovGuam’s indebtedness, and whether GovGuam has a formal debt management strategy and they found that GovGuam does not have a formal debt management strategy. 

The audit compared Guam's debt to the other territories and to the 50 states and found that GovGuam’s 2012 debt-to-GDP ratio of 26.4% was below the IMF’s 60% benchmark.

But other debt indicators were unfavorable, as follows:

* Guam’s 2011 debt-to-GDP of 20.4% ranked 13th amongst the United States state governments, where New York was the highest at 28.6%
* Guam’s 2012 debt-per-capita of $8,810 was the highest amongst the insular governments. In 2010, Connecticut was the highest among the states at $5,236 and Puerto Rico was the highest at $10,474
* Guam’s 2012 debt-to-asset ratio remains unfavorable as it owed creditors and vendors $1.46 for every $1 of assets it owned  

Deferral of Principal Payments and Capitalized Interest "Indicative of Cash Flow Problems":

The audit points out that GovGuam has deferred principal payments and capitalized interest on several debts in an effort to restructure that debt and relieve cash flow problems by allowing for smaller payments in the early years. 

However the audit warns "these methods add to the long-term cost of the issuance and are, to a limited degree, indicative of cash flow problems".

Conclusion and Recommendations:

Given the magnitude of GovGuam’s total public indebtedness of $1.57 billion, the auditors recommend that the GEDA Administrator develop and adopt a formal debt management strategy that is updated at least on an annual basis, using guidelines and best practices established by organizations such as the IMF and World Bank.

GEDA Administrator's and the Director of the Bureau of Budget and Management Research [BBMR] both concurred with that audit recommendation.

However they disagreed with the audits findings on the *changes in public indebtedness; *debt-per-capita;  *debt-to-GDP comparisons; and *deferral of principal and capitalized interest.


]]> (Kevin Kerrigan) frontpage Wed, 23 Apr 2014 00:40:20 +0000
Adelup: OPA Debt Audit Dispels "Myth That Public Debt Increased During Calvo Administration" Guam - The Calvo Administration has issued its response to the audit of GovGuam's debt released today by the Office of Public Accountability.

In its response, the Calvo Administration states in a release that the audit dispels "the myth that public debt increased during the Calvo Tenorio administration."

And its reading of the numbers are that:

1.     The debt has decreased since Governor Calvo came to office
2.     GovGuam’s credit rating improved “due to the current Administration’s improved fiscal management practices and enhanced cash flow monitoring”
3.     Three-fourths of the debt increase happened well before Governor Calvo was governor: between Fiscal Year 2008 and FY 2009

READ the release from Adelup below:

Debt audit shows public debt decreases in Calvo Administration

We thank Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks and her staff for conducting an audit of GovGuam’s long-term debt, finally dispelling the myth that public debt increased during the Calvo Tenorio administration. The numbers clearly show:

1.     The debt has decreased since Governor Calvo came to office
2.     GovGuam’s credit rating improved “due to the current Administration’s improved fiscal management practices and enhanced cash flow monitoring”
3.     Three-fourths of the debt increase happened well before Governor Calvo was governor: between Fiscal Year 2008 and FY 2009

Guam’s debt, while below the IMF benchmark and made more manageable under this administration, still is high. The administration has always recognized this fact, which is why unprecedented efforts were placed on effective fiscal policies over the past three years. The result?

*  People owed tax refunds for three to four years per refund at a time were paid, moving the debt from the people to the bank
*  Cash flow has improved, drastically
*  Because of improved cash flow and financial management, vendors now are being paid much sooner than before
*  The administration has squared away nearly $700 million in liabilities to Guamanians and GovGuam employees

One other consideration is that Guamanians do not shoulder the burden of the national debt. When comparing Guam’s debt-per-capita to the States, what should be noted is the stateside amounts do not factor that residents of States also shoulder the debt burden of the massive $16 trillion U.S. debt. That is an additional $53,000 each American living in the States must shoulder as debt. Guam’s debt-per-capita is far less than that alone.

]]> (News Release) frontpage Wed, 23 Apr 2014 04:45:33 +0000
VIDEO: DOE Confident New Tiyan High School Will Be Ready to Open in August The facility has been used as a temporarily campus for several years and the Government of Guam recently entered into a lease to own agreement with CoreTech International for the facility.

Untalan Middle School is currently occupying the campus  but that school will be moving into its newly renovated barrigada campus this summer.

Fernandez says DOE has been busy finalizing facilities upgrades and collateral equipment orders so that the new high school can open this fall.


Transferring teachers and hiring for open positions will be the next priority along with logistics such as course offerings, and the school's bell schedule.

“We have our transition team over there working through the courses that will be offered working closely with ROTC and GCC to finalize the decision on what programs will be able to be supported uh working with DPW to ensure good access to the Tiyan site and to work out the so that we can set the bell schedule for the school when it starts when it ends.”

Fernandez said the school will be known as Tiyan High School for the time being but the name of the new school is ultimately up to the Guam Education Board.

]]> (Betsy Brown) frontpage Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:25:29 +0000
VIDEO: Kia’aina's Senate Confirmation Maybe Next Month Washington D.C. - The long-delayed U.S. Senate confirmation of Guam-born Esther Kia'aina as the next OIA Assistant Secretary is looking more likely - but not certain - next month.

Majority Leader Harry Reid has brought to votes, a number of judicial and executive branch nominations, trying to pick up the confirmation pace.

While nothing is ever a certainty in the U.S. Senate, there are signs Guam-born Hawaiian Esther Kia'aina could get a vote soon on her nod by President Obama last year, to be Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs. 

HEAR Matt Kaye's report HERE>>>4-23 kiaainasoonmaybe.mp3

But former Interior Official and Islands' Consultant Fred Radewagen says with just 31-months left to administration by Memorial Day, it’s not soon enough --


Radewagen said, “Esther’s confirmation could be as late as mid to late may, before it takes place…and it’s really unfortunate, that the senate can’t find time to put this on the schedule before that, because it’s a non-controversial appointment.”

Radewagen argues it’s all up to Majority Leader Harry Reid, who controls the floor schedule…though a Reid spokesman wasn’t immediately available to discuss Kia’aina.

Radewagen said,  “It seems to me, it’s all in Harry Reid’s hands. with needing only 51-votes, it seems to me, in any given situation, he could cluster a number of these non-controversial appointments, together…and consider them in one fell swoop, in a day.”

Reid’s been able to do that with some nominations, but not all, as Republicans continue to object to some …requiring a threshold vote before they can move.

The GOP revolted last November, after Reid singlehandedly ended filibusters of most judicial and agency nominees.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources endorsed Kia’aina in December…and Radewagen says her delayed confirmation has hurt the Office of Insular Affairs and the islands.

Radewagen said, “The agency has to be at a standstill…and when you have Acting Assistant Secretaries, by virtue of them being acting, they already are limited in what they can do…and, not only that, if they come from another agency, they’re not as familiar with the territorial issues, and they can’t hit the ground running.” :19

OIA is now into its second, Acting Assistant Secretary from other agencies, since each ‘placeholder’ is on loan and time-limited but Radewagen is confident Kia’aina, who has long experience working with OIA as a Congressional Staffer…and now as a temporary adviser to the Interior Secretary…will ‘hit the ground running,’ when she’s finally confirmed.

]]> (PNC Washington D.C. Correspondent Matt Kaye) frontpage Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:33:13 +0000
VIDEO: Guam Council on Child Death Review and Prevention in the Works Guam - A Guam Council on Child Death Review and Prevention is in the works as government and public officials attended the Child Death Review Training held this morning at the Pacific Star Resort and Spa.

According to a Guam public law signed May of last year, a Guam Council on Child Death Review and Prevention needs to be established. 

National Center for Child Death Review Teri Covington said the goal is to identify risk factors leading to the deaths and how they can make a recommendation to prevent deaths.


Covington said, "One of the biggest things in Guam is that you guys have a big infant mortality rate. We're going to be reviewing all those infant deaths. There's about 45 deaths a year. They'll start looking at them to check what were the risk factors, who's most at risk, what populations are at risk, what are the factors related to why more babies die here and why babies are born with a low birth weight and premature. Those are some of the risk factors and fatalities. They'll use those information to lower the infant death rate in Guam."

EMS Operations Commander Daren Burner said the problem he's encountered before is the gap of unanswered questions between agencies and organizations. He believes the training is constructive and can make an islandwide change. Burner said, "It's really constructive because before this meeting we didn't really understand the gaps we had, the unanswered questions and the possibility of correcting the system to make it better for people caring for their children to prevent their mortality. We haven't got anything concrete yet as far as rates and what can be prevented but there is a better way now to communicate and develop policies and laws in order to improve things."

For more information, visit


]]> (Roselle Romanes) frontpage Wed, 23 Apr 2014 03:58:12 +0000
GPD: Fatal Traffic Victims Identified

Guam - Guam Police have identified the 2 victims who died in separate traffic accidents over the past 7 days.

In last Wednesday's auto-pedestrian accident, the pedestrian who died has been identified as Elias Auna, a 35 year old Chuukese man living in Dededo. The accident happened on Route 16 in Harmon. It was reported shortly after midnight on April 16th, in front of the 7-Day Super Market.

A man driving a 2006 Nissan Frontier pickup was heading north on Route 16. He told police the victim, Auna, was standing in the roadway when he struck him. Auna was taken to GMH where he was pronounced dead at 12:52am. He was the 8th traffic fatality of the year on Guam.

The victim in last Sunday's fatal head-on collision in Maite has been identified as 47-year-old Daniel Santos of Dededo.

The accident was reported at 2:16pm Sunday. It occurred on Route 8 in front of the Fidelity International building. Santos was driving a 2000 Toyota Camry in the outer westbound lane of Route 8 when he veered into the oncoming lane of traffic and struck a 2012 Nissan Frontier pickup head on. The 67 year old woman driving the Frontier was also injured and admitted to GMH in stable condition.

Santos is the 9th traffic fatality victim on island this year.

READ the release from Officer Balajadia below:


BARRIGADA - Guam Highway Patrol has released the names of the 8th and 9th Traffic related deaths.

*Rt.16 by Seven Day Supermarket - Auto / Pedestrian, April 16, 2014 at about 12:00am (Wednesday Morning), ELIAS AUNA, m/Chuuk/35/Dededo
* Rt.8 Fidelity Enterprise - Auto / Auto Collision, April 20, 2014 at about 2:16pm (Easter Sunday), DANIEL SANTOS, m/47/Chamorro/Dededo

Both cases remain under investigation.

A J Balajadia
Guam Police Department Spokesperson

2014 Traffic Related Fatalities:

1. Saturday, January 18:  A  man was pronounced dead at Guam Memorial Hospital after an early this morning auto-pedestrian accident. Guam Fire Spokesman Lt. Ed Artero says medics responded to an Auto-Pedestrian accident with serious injuries at Harmon Loop Road. The 911 call was received at 1:36am. GMH Nursing Supervisory Marie Mafnas told PNC News that the male pedestrian victim was pronounced dead at 2:17am. The man's identity has not been released.

2. Friday February 14: GMH Nursing Supervisor Bill Toves says the pedestrian victim of a hit and run driver died at GMH at 5:45 this afternoon. He is the second traffic fatality of the year on Guam.  His identify has not yet been released. Earlier, Nursing Supervisor Cely Mangrobang said the pedestrian was on life support, in "very critical" condition. The man was hit by a vehicle on Route 1 near Ypaopao Estates in Dededo. GFD Spokesman Lt. Ed Artero says the 911 call came in at 6:08am. He said CPR was conducted on the man at the scene, and en-route to GMH.

3. Saturday, April 5th: 73 year old woman injured in  auto accident in Tamuning in front of the old Blockbuster building. She passed away Thursday April 10th at 4:03am

Sunday, April 13th: 911 call received at 1:13pm reporting serious 2 car collision in Yigo on Route 15 near the Yigo Raceway.  4 dead. 1 injured. 1 dead at the scene. 2 taken to GMH, CPR en-route, both later pronounced dead. 1 taken to Naval Hospital, later pronounced dead. 1 person was pronounced dead at the scene.


4.  Sunday, April 13th: ... 64 year old Damiano Neth of Yigo pronounced dead at GMH at 2:15pm.

5. Sunday, April 13th: ...  63 year old wife Markarita Neth pronounced dead at GMH at 2:07pm.

6. Sunday, April 13th:     10 year old grand daughter Mya Ann Neth

7. Sunday, April 13th: ... Ruhney Hadley of Mangilao pronounced dead at Naval Hospital, later transported to GMH.

8. Tuesday April 15th: Auto/Pedestrian .. pedestrian struck and killed by 2006 Nissan Frontier on Route 16 in Harmon. Accident reported to GPD at 12:06 am.   Rt.16 by Seven Day Supermarket - Auto / Pedestrian, April 16, at about 12:00am (Wednesday Morning), ELIAS AUNA, m/Chuuk/35/Dededo

9.  47-year-old Daniel Santos of Dededo died at Guam Memorial Hospital this afternoon following a vehicle accident in Barrigada.  GMH Nursing Supervisor Bill Toves says that the man was pronounced dead at 5:19pm. A 67 year old woman was also injured in the accident and she is in stable condition says Toves.  Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola said Santos died from a crushed chest and abdomen.

]]> (Kevin Kerrigan) frontpage Tue, 22 Apr 2014 21:24:03 +0000