Vice Speaker Tina Rose Muña Barnes and Minority Leader James “Jim” Moylan on Wednesday introduced Bill 130-36 which establishes the process for the local payment of war claims.
Under the measure, qualified war survivors and their descendants as defined by U.S. Public Law 144-328, who have not been compensated by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission may receive a locally funded payment consistent with US Federal Law.
Expanding on the effort spurred by Vice Speaker Muña Barnes in the 35th Guam Legislature, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero will have 30 calendar days to transmit an implementable plan for the payment of locally adjudicated claims to the Speaker of I Liheslaturan Guahan.
Like the Vice Speaker’s previous measure, which resulted in the payment of more than 1100 War Claims, this measure authorizes the Governor to transfer such funds as necessary to pay these claims.
Should Congress act favorably on Muña Barnes’ Resolution 54-36, to reopen the filing period for the Guam Loyalty Recognition Act, local funds expended for this purpose may then be reimbursed as outlined in Subsection (e) of Article 13.1 of Chapter 1, Title 5 Guam Code Annotated.
Currently, over 700 claimants or their descendants signed Vice Speaker Muña Barnes’ petition to reopen the filing period. With the average individual claim being approximately $10,000, this measure should cost less than $10 million.
“Our Greatest Generation should not be victimized twice, this is why I introduced this bill. The sacrifices of our Manamko’ should not be devalued because they missed a deadline or misfiled the document with the wrong person. I know that we have urgent priorities for which every dollar can be used. But so long as we owe this debt to Guam’s Greatest Generation, we can’t give up” stated Vice Speaker Muña Barnes.
“I am proud of Congressman San Nicolas’ work to deliver on a 30-year struggle for the People of Guam, but it cannot stop there. So long as one member of Guam’s Greatest Generation is disenfranchised by the process, we have more work to do. This is not a Democrat thing or a Republican thing – it’s just the right thing. I appreciate the Vice Speakers’ efforts in reaching across the aisle to assure that the structure is in place to finalize this long-standing issue,” Senator Moylan said.
(Vice-Speaker Tina Rose Muña Barnes)