PALIKIR, POHNPEI. July 20, 2021 – The Committee to Wait on the President met with President David W. Panuelo, virtually, on July 19, 2021, where his agenda was detailed with the Committee and summarized in Special Committee Report (SCR) 22-02.
On Day 2 of the First Special Session of the 22nd Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia, the summarized report of the President’s agenda was adopted with the following details shared with the Committee:
1. Amendments to the National Health Emergency Declaration
2. Nominations for congressional confirmation
3. Proposed legislation for extension of passport expiration
4. Proposed legislation on Cypercrimes
5. Proposed supplemental budget
Discussions on the amendments to the National Health Emergency Declaration began with President Panuelo commending on the current health and safety protocols in place and its effectiveness. He noted that amendments to the Emergency Declaration would “further facilitate the repatriation of our citizens from abroad.” The discussions continued to current repatriation efforts and it was conveyed to the Committee that Pohnpei State’s next flight is scheduled for July 29th, while Kosrae State is to welcome its first repatriation flight on July 19, 2021. The state of Yap had cancelled its first repatriation flight planned for the end of July and now joins the state of Chuuk awaiting its first repatriation green light.
Chairman Ferny S. Perman of the Committee on Health and Social Affairs has scheduled an oversight hearing with the National Task Force to review the amendments to the Emergency Declaration and the repatriation plans for the two states.
On the issue of nominations, the President shared with the Committee that in addition to nominations already pending before the Body, he would be transmitting the remaining nominations for his Cabinet, critical posts along with various board vacancies for entities of the FSM Government.
President Panuelo discussed the proposed extension of passport expiration date with the Committee sharing various concerns raised by citizens, among which included the complications with the I-94 process, especially with the issuance of new passport numbers during renewal. The Committee questioned the validity of dated photos with a 10-year passport and the President responded that certain provisions in the proposed legislation would allow the President to issue regulations periodically to address the problem.
A proposed legislation on Cybercrimes was raised with the Committee to which the President underscored the need for countries to keep up with the advances in technology and maintain laws parallel to the advancements. The discussions continued into the ever-expanding area of unregulated social crimes online and the importance of online security.
The final agenda from the President was a supplemental budget request of $1.5 million to address various outstanding issues and pressing items for the national government.
All agenda items and discussions between the President and the Committee to Wait on the President were summarized and compiled as Special Committee Report 22-02 and adopted by the Congress on Day 2 of the First Special Session of the 22nd Congress.
The First Special Session is for 10 days from July 19 thru 28, 2021. In keeping with its current virtual schedules, the sessions start at 10am – Chuuk, Guam and Yap time; and 11am Pohnpei and Kosrae time.
Also in keeping with the current practices of social distancing and mandates by states and national government, the Frist Special Session is not open to the general public. The public is however invited to follow the daily sessions, which are streamed live through the website of the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia at: www.cfsm.org.fm
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