Speaker launches petition to reopen war claims filing period

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Speaker Tina Muna Barnes

Speaker Tina Muna Barnes has launched a petition to convince the U.S. Congress to reopen the filing period for war claims.

The filing period for the survivors of the Japanese occupation of Guam during World War II closed on June 20, 2018, about a year after passage of the World War II Loyalty Recognition Act.

“Many of our people have settled throughout the United States and news of the claim period missed many of our elders,” states the Speaker in a release announcing the petition.

She notes that the one year filing period was significantly shorter than the amount given to other war claimants, many of whom got a second chance to file claims.

In response, Congressman Michael San Nicolas issued a release saying: “It wouldn’t make any sense to repeat any of this over again. The local government should establish a local process for new claimants and filers using the same funding source, otherwise, they are going to repeat all of this same confusion.”

“The Legislature can appropriate Section 30 money locally,” said San Nicolas, “it doesn’t require an Act of Congress.”

Anyone wanting to sign the petition can visit the war claims processing center at the old Hakubotan building and ask a staff member. Or you can go to the Speaker’s office at the Guam Congress Building.

READ Speaker Muna Barnes’ release in FULL below:

Muña Barnes, People of Guam to Congress: Re-open War Claims Filing Period

Hagåtña, Guam – Speaker Muña Barnes has initiated a petition drive requesting Congress to reopen the filing period for Guamanian survivors of World War II. As stipulated in the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act, the filing period for Compensable Guam Victims to file a claim is 1 (one) year after the date on which the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission publishes the notice of the opening of the filing period. Many of our people have settled throughout the United States and news of the claim period missed many of our elders.

This brief period is significantly shorter than other claims adjudicated by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission which on average held their claims program open for a decade.

Additionally, a majority of these programs had a second program opening to accept additional claims – including claims from Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia, Cuba, Libya, Italy, Yugoslavia, and Romania.

If these foreign claims were given an additional extended application period,
what more should that consideration be given by the U.S. federal government to the people of Guam, who are U.S. citizens themselves?

Individuals who wish to sign the petition may visit the War Claims Processing centers at the old Hakubotan building and see a staff member or the Speaker’s office at the Guam Congress Building.

“Over the last couple of days, we have received a couple of hundred signatures, and I am committed to leaving no stone unturned as we seek closure for ALL our Saina’s” stated Speaker Muña Barnes.

“Stronger Together – I am hoping that with all our elders fighting this
fight with me, our Congressman will finally hear our cry” concluded Speaker Muña Barnes.

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READ Congressman San Nicolas’ response in FULL below:

For Immediate Release

San Nicolas responds: don’t re-open federal window, let them file locally.

In response to Speaker Muna-Barnes and The Governors Office regarding re-opening the window to file for the federal war claims process, Congressman San Nicolas offers the following advice:

“It would be far easier and a lot faster to open a new process locally for new claimants, than to try to amend the federal law for a second time,” opened Congressman San Nicolas. “In fact, we are still working to pass our first amendment with HR 1365, with the local government willing to jeopardize it because they want to move faster,” opined Congressman San Nicolas.

“It wouldn’t make any sense to repeat any of this over again. The local government should establish a local process for new claimants and filers using the same funding source, otherwise, they are going to repeat all of this same confusion,” adds Congressman San Nicolas. “Why are they rushing to help some and passing the buck on helping others?” Congressman San Nicolas asked.

“If they need help to draft a local bill or constructing it in a way that would work we are more than happy to help,” Congressman San Nicolas closed.

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