Governor confident war claims checks out by Jan. 31

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero (PNC file photo)
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Governor Lou Leon Guerrero says that the Memorandum of Understanding between GovGuam and the U.S. Department of Treasury to pay war claims to the island’s survivors is in the final stages of being drafted.

She says that she is confident that the first checks will be issued by Jan. 31.

Almost two weeks after Bill 181-35 became Public Law 35-61, the governor says that the final draft of the MOU needed to allow the process of paying war reparations to more than a thousand of the island’s claimants is being done and will be sent to the U.S. Department of Treasury today.

According to Leon Guerrero, following approval of the MOU, the document will be presented to the Legislature and claimants will be asked for their information so that their claims can be processed by Treasury.

“U.S. Treasury will verify it and they’ll issue a check. I’m very confident that we’ll meet the January 31st deadline for issuing the first check to our manamko’ and to our survivors,” Leon Guerrero said.

The governor stressed the importance of getting the checks distributed as soon as possible as the number of the island’s war survivors decline day by day.

She also addressed the reported objections made to Congressman Michael San Nicolas’ H.R. 1365, the federal measure amending the World War 2 Loyalty Recognition Act.

“It was put on hold by the Republicans during committee. And the reason why they put it on hold has nothing to do with Public Law 35-61. They put it on hold because they’re not educated about this piece of legislation. So yes, the Congressman was right to get on the plane to educate them,” the governor said.

She added that the congressman would have to work hard to lobby for the federal measure but she is confident that H.R. 1365 will be passed this month.

During the Jan. 3 signing ceremony of the local war claims bill, the governor said about $14 million in local funds is available to pay war claims under the local war claims bill.

Treasury has another $23 million in Guam’s own Section 30 funds tied up waiting to be released.