“It is our responsibility to reach out and take care of our own people. Yes, you are the governor, but the Chuukese community must take the lead. That is the responsibility of the Chuukese people here. And I challenge every one of us, let us rise to that occasion. Change is not easy, it takes time but it can be done…”
Prompted by the Machete attack in Mangilao, another public safety meeting was held Wednesday night in Yigo where leaders from the Federated States of Micronesia asked their community to step up and to take responsibility for their actions.
FSM Consul General Teresa Filepin said in the Dededo meeting she shared the concerns of her fellow FSM citizens regarding the generalization and the negative stigma attributed to citizens from the FSM.
This time, she said she wants to speak directly to the FSM community to ask them come together as a nation.
“Whatever we are doing outside the FSM is reflecting on all of us citizens that have moved abroad. So I am imploring humbly and respectfully imploring all of our FSM citizens who are on Guam, whether you are here for education or employment, or for medical reasons or just visiting family … we need to be considerate and be thankful for the welcome that the community of Guam has shown us and the hospitality that they have been showing us,” she said.
Former Chuuk Governor and UOG professor Ansito Walter also spoke about the need for the community to take responsibility. Walter also commended Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero for promoting diversity among the communities living on Guam.
“It is our responsibility to reach out and take care of our own people. Yes, you are the governor, but the Chuukese community must take the lead. That is the responsibility of the Chuukese people here. And I challenge every one of us, let us rise to that occasion. Change is not easy, it takes time but it can be done,” Walter said.
During the Yigo meeting, the Guam Police Department also updated the community on the progress of the action points identified in the previous public safety meetings.
The Mangilao machete incident in June triggered a discriminatory backlash felt by the Federated States of Micronesia community, according to Filepin during a prior public safety meeting at the Dededo community center.
Filepin expressed concerns over the treatment of some members of the FSM community following the incident last month.
She said: “Violence and crimes don’t have any race and ethnicity attached to it. It doesn’t know if you are from Yap, or Chuuk or Chamorro, or from Hawaii or somewhere else, Palauan or African-American. Crime is a crime. Violence is violence, and there are victims.”
In the aftermath of the machete attacks, the court charged brothers Emmanuel Reselap and Jordan Rachulap, both from the FSM, for their involvement in the attacks. One of them, Reselap, was charged with attempted murder as a first-degree felony.
The last public safety meeting will be held next week, Wednesday, at the Agana Heights Community Center.