PARS gives update on radiation compensation

PARS president Robert Celestial (PNC file photo)

Members of the Pacific Association for Radiation Survivors (PARS) met at Government House in Agana Heights over the weekend to get an update from PARS president Robert Celestial on the status of efforts to get Guam included in the 2019 Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

Celestial is the founder of the organization.

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For years, he has fought to get Guam included in the act which provides compensation to cancer victims who might have been exposed to radiation during U.S. nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands following World War II.

There are two bills in Congress, one in the House and the other in the Senate. The Senate bill has already had a hearing. Celestial is hopeful the House measure will be heard next year.

“They’re anticipating probably March or April to go before the House and present our case and hopefully they’ll pass both bills in the Senate and the House,” Celestial said.

Celestial said members of Congress always ask “How many cancers are there on Guam?” and “How much will it cost?”

He said he can’t answer those questions until Guam is included in the act and cancer victims who qualify for compensation come forward.