Speaker Tina Muna Barnes has sent a letter to her colleagues informing them that 21 war survivors have already died since August without getting any war claims.
“Below you can find a list of survivors — members of our greatest generation — who have passed away since we last discussed Bill 181-35. Our Saina’s are fighting against time and it is imperative we do right by them,” the Speaker wrote.
She added: “We as a body continue to put the bill on pause because we want to discuss continued issues and concerns. But I want to say that our elders, our Sainas, our World War Two survivors; the greatest generation to ever live … do not have the time and as each day goes by, we’re going to see more and more of the greatest generation pass before us without getting what they rightfully deserve.”
The list provided by the Speaker shows 21 war survivors have died: 9 who passed in August and 11 passing just this month, while one remains undisclosed. The eldest war survivor passed at the age of 101 years old. The youngest war survivors named to have passed are 75 years old.
“I just want to say that it is very heart-wrenching and its very, very hard to say that each day that goes by is time that our elders do not have,” the Speaker said.
Speaker Barnes is hopeful that there will be an opportunity to discuss Bill 181 at the next session. Bill 181 seeks to compensate adjudicated war claims through the establishment of the 75th Guam War Claims Fund that will be administered by the Department of Administration — a fund that anticipates a $7.5 million transfer for war claims out of the general fund as authorized by Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
Meanwhile, on the national level, Congressman Michael San Nicolas’ H.R. 1365 is trying to address the language technicalities which prevents Guam’s manamko’ from accessing more than $20 million in the Guam World War II claims account.