Guam – Assistant Department of Interior Secretary Tony Babuata presented Governor Eddie Calvo and Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio with a $380-thousand dollar grant to help eradicate the Brown Tree snake.
A release quotes Governor Calvo as thanking Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo for “her diligent work to secure this and countless other grants for Guam.”
In addition, the release states that the Governor and Lt. Governor discussed a host of federal issues effecting Guam with the Assistent Interior Secretary.
Among the issues they discussed were:
* preparations for the Interagency Group on Insular Areas (IGIA) meeting to be held in March. The IGIA was created by Presidential Executive Order last year. It is co-chaired by Assistant Secretary Babauta and the White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Cecilia Munoz.
* the military buildup;
* a Guam/CNMI visa-waiver program for China, Russia, and the Philippines
* political status and decolonization efforts
* allowing the use of Medicare in the Philippines
* including Guam in important foreign treaties, such as the free trade agreement between the U.S. and Korea.
The release quotes Governor Calvo as saying “The Assistant Secretary has Guam’s best interests at heart. We need his advocacy in Washington to help residents get medical care in the Philippines, lower the cost of goods and increase tourism arrivals from China, Russia and the Philippines. I’m especially grateful for his assistance in securing federal funding and pushing for resolution on our political status.”
And Babauta is quoted as saying: that he “was pleased at the level of readiness of both Governor Calvo and Lt. Governor Tenorio to discuss issues which have been important to Guam and are currently being pursued. Every new Administration is given a honeymoon period where the new leaders are able to get their feet wet, however, from our meeting today it is clear to me that we can continue working on these issues without missing a step.”
Assistance with Federal Funds
Lt. Governor Tenorio led talks about federal funding opportunities, and asked for assistance for the Guam State Clearinghouse. Asst. Secretary Babauta’s senior staff provided a list of grants the island can apply for, grants that are pending, and contact information for Obama administration officials who can assist the clearinghouse in its efforts to recover important data. Lt. Governor Tenorio also suggested Guam, and other areas affected by the compacts of free association, be given preferential status for relevant grants.
“This meeting was informative and encouraging,” Lt. Governor Tenorio said. “It is good to know President Obama, Asst. Secretary Babauta, and the White House are open to helping our island and our families during these tough financial times. My office and the Guam State Clearinghouse will be in constant communication with the Obama administration to capture new and more effective grants.