Senator Respicio: Testimony in Support of Resolution Against Using Section 30 Funds for War Reps

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Guam – Senator Rory Respicio issued the following copy of his testimony in support of  his Resolution #4 which opposes the use of Section 30 funds to pay War Reparations to the survivors, and the descendants of survivors of the Japanese occupation of Guam during World War II.

Section 30 funds are the Federal Government’s reimbursement of the income taxes military service members and federal employees stationed on Guam pay to the IRS, rather than GovGuam, because they are not considered Guam residents.

READ Resolution #4 HERE  

Respicio’s resolution is co-sponsored by Senators Mike San Nicolas, Tom Ada and B.J. Cruz.

READ Senator Respicio’s testimony below:

Remarks by Senator Rory Respicio
January 31, 2013
Public Hearing on Resolution 4-32

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Committee and of course Congresswoman Bordallo. Thank you all for your attendance. This hearing is being called on Resolution 4-32 which was prompted by Congresswoman Bordallo’s recent efforts to secure War Reparations through HR 44. That sole item is before us tonight and we all look forward to receiving Congresswoman Bordallo’s testimony outlining her intentions and goals with respect to this measure.

Before we begin, I just want to ask everyone here to join me in a moment of  silence in honor of our manamko – the greatest generation our people have ever  known. Tonight we remember our war survivors – those we are blessed to still  have with us and those who have since passed on. I also want to take a moment to honor the late former Governor Ricky Bordallo… whose death anniversary is being remembered on this day.

Thank you all.

Although Guam Resolution 4-32 and Congresswoman Bordallo’s HR 44 were both introduced this month, it has actually been a long journey for the victims of the Japanese occupation during World War II and for this community which has championed the cause of these victims as matter, not just of compensation, but of justice — justice that was denied our people when the U-S Government signed away our rights to seek restitution from Japan as a part of the peace treaty formally ending hostilities between our two nations.

Throughout this long journey, our Guam’s Delegate’s to the House of Representatives have tirelessly pursued War Reparations beginning with A.B. Won Pat and his successors Ben Blaz, Robert Underwood, and now Congresswoman Bordallo.

Throughout this journey progress has been made toward reaching the goal of securing War Reparations including the convening of a federal commission,  of which Vice-Speaker Cruz was a member, which validated the claims of those seeking war reparations and concluded that it was indeed an obligation of the federal government.

In an effort to continue the work on this critical matter, Congresswoman Bordallo this month introduced HR 44 which identifies Section 30 funds as a source of financing for War Reparations.  With this new legislation – has come questions regarding its rationale and future prospects. There are also questions regarding the  possible precedent to be established in using revenues that were already reserved for Guam to  pay for federal obligations whether they be War Reparations,  compact impact, or the infrastructure cost of the military buildup.  There is also the question of what impact the diversion of $100 million in GovGuam revenues will have on public services, vendor payments, the ability of this government to pay tax refunds on time and so much more.

Nevertheless every member of this Legislature is committed –  as I am sure you are Congresswoman – to moving this process forward, and to actually achieve real progress in  securing War Reparations once and for all.   We have all traveled this journey together and we all share the goal of securing justice for the victims of the Japanese Occupation and for this community.  And with that I would like to call on our Congresswoman,  the Honorable Madeleine Z. Bordallo to present her testimony.