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Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. You did not support the process because non-Chamorros also participated in the process?
Ms. QUINATA. Yes, sir. Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. OK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. PETERSON. Any further questions for the panel? Mr. Underwood? Or, Ms. Green? Mr. Underwood? Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you very much. And, President Moses, please also relay my greetings to Resio and I'd also like to recognize and welcome Alfred Cappelle, my colleague for a long time and “Yokwe yok”—long time. In language issues out in Micronesia, and to Mario Katosang, "ali" to you and to all my friends in Palau.
I don't have any questions. I just want to make some observations and also note that we are now coming upon 6 o'clock in the morning tomorrow in Guam, and actually, even though this particular panel might have felt all along that they would have been slighted, they're probably more people listening to this panel than there were to the earlier panel, so maybe the timing of it is very good. Along with feeding the chickens, they were listening to this panel as people on Guam wake up.
The issues that are before us are long and complicated and weighty. And, I can't help but reflect upon the meaning of this exercise and the meaning of the people who have participated in this exercise, including Ron Rivera, and myself, and Hope Cristobal, and Chris Howard, and Debby Quinata, the Archbishop; all of us have been intertwined in our lives in very curious and interesting ways; former Congressman Ben Blaz, Governor Gutierrez. There is a lot of energy. And there is a lot of energy in the room. And, there's a lot of energy, it reflects accurately, I think, the energy of the people of Guam.
I made a special effort, and I'm glad to acknowledge the agreement of the committee to make sure that the panel that is now before actually had a chance to speak. We wanted to make sure that people who may be opposed to H.R. 100, and there are some, be allowed the opportunity to state their concerns and state the origins of their concerns.
But, as we look upon this morning in Guam, and we've been at this hearing now for some 5 hours, I feel very strongly that it's been a very successful hearing, not because, necessarily, it moved the legislation in-my good friend from American Samoa's—terms, maybe 1 inch, but it certainly has increased our understanding, both, not only of the obstacles ahead of us, but certainly the understanding of the people of Guam, what they have before them, and what brought them to this point.
I asked the chairman if I could just say a few remarks in Chamorro, and I will:
(Speaks in Chamorro.]
Mr. UNDERWOOD. I want to express my gratitude to the formerly English-only Committee on Resources for this opportunity.
I would like to thank the witnesses for their valuable testimony and for the distance that you came-all of those that are here that have come from such a great distance.
For the Members: I have no doubt that the Members after today, will be far more knowledgeable on this issue and have a clearer understanding. The members of the committee may have some additional questions for the witnesses. We will ask you to respond in writing. The hearing record will be held open for these responses as well as any other
statements by Members for 2 weeks. And, we have high hopes that the administration will be inspired by this hearing and will follow through in a timely manner on providing the committee with numerous updating of references or changes identified in their testimony for this proposal. And, hopefully, they will seriously engage in appropriate process to bring a conclusion to this issue that has been out there for a long time. We urge them to take it seriously and to work at it. We think they can bring it home if they choose to, and we would urge them to get busy and start the dialog and the exchange that is so vitally necessary.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I would be remiss if I did not also express my deepest appreciation to you, Mr. Chairman, and the majority party for allowing this hearing to take place in the first place. And, I would also like to congratulate my good friend and colleague from Guam, Dr. Underwood-Congressman Underwood—for such an outstanding job that he has done in bringing out the issues affecting the good citizens and the people of Guam.
We go through this exercise, Mr. Chairman, over the years, and always trying to figure where the sometimes we're not even on the map, sometimes we're not even on the radar screen. It's always been one of my basic criticisms is that the territories never seem to get the proper attention that they should get from the Members as well as from this institution. But I think today's hearing bears quite well what we've accomplished, not only the legislation affecting the good people of Guam, but certainly the Senate Bill 210, that also has some things in it that affects other territories. And, I sincerely hope that with the proper amendments that I will be offering at the appropriate time we will resolve the concerns that Mrs. Moses had raised earlier, and that other provisions of Senate Bill 210 that will be helpful to the other insular areas.
And with that, Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for your patience, thank the good leaders of the people of Guam, and as they say in Samoa, “In sus ma'ase.”
Mr. UNDERWOOD. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your diligence in this effort as well as all the Members who did take some time to come before the committee.
I also want to enter into the record the statements of Frank San Nicholas, Ron Rivera, and Darrell Doss, who is standing here before us. And, I want to recognize that Mr. Doss, has a very special relationship to Guam, along with many other men of his age and participated in the liberation of Guam from the hands of the Japanese, and I wanted a chance to recognize Mr. Doss.
[The prepared statement of Mr. San Nicholas may be found at end of hearing.)
[The prepared statement of Mr. Rivera may be found at end of hearing.)
[The prepared statement of Mr. Doss may be found at end of hearing.)
Mr. PETERSON. The Chair thanks the gentleman.
Again, I would like to thank all of you for participating, for the fine job you did, and how well prepared you were.
Adios. There is no further business.
[Whereupon, at 3:12 p.m., the committee was adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.]
[Additional material submitted for the record follows.]
STATEMENT OF JOSE GUEVARA, VICE PRESIDENT, THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY OF GUAM
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Resources Committee,
I am Jose Guevara, Vice President of the Filipino Community of Guam, representing some 60 Filipino-American organizations. I am proud to say, Mr. Chairman, that about 30 percent of Guam's population today is of Filipino origin or descent and the Filipino community is an integral part of the wonderful island of Guam.
The Guam Commonwealth Act is a matter of considerable interest to the Filipino Community of Guam. For those of us who have permanently made Guam our home as opposed to those who eventually move to other parts of the United States—the issues raised in the Commonwealth Act cause us to come to terms with our history as Filipinos and our status as Americans.
Given the history of the political relations between our mother country, the Philippines, and our adopted home, the United States, Filipino Americans understand the difficulties of colonial relationships. Our history as Filipinos also illustrates, like the American experience itself, that colonialism is not a legitimate form of government.
There is a natural affinity amongst Filipinos to appreciate and understand the Commonwealth Act's proposal to establish an autonomous and internally self-governing entity called the “Commonwealth of Guam.” For those of us who make Guam our home, self-government for us has even more meaning. The various ways in which the Commonwealth Act provides for the devolution of powers from the Congress to the people of Guam, will have an inescapable impact to our economic potential, stable economic patterns, the enactment of laws that make sense for Guam and the maximization of our economic role in the Asia-Pacific region. These things would be done with no threat to the U.S. military's needs.
Commonwealth is clearly not independence which our mother country fought for, negotiated and achieved. Nor is “Commonwealth” Statehood as is being pursued by Puerto Rico. One of the three (3) entities taken by the U.S. during the SpanishAmerican War of 1898, the Philippines was encouraged to pursue independence, Puerto Rico is now being encouraged to pursue Statehood, and Guam is being offered neither. Recognizing this, the people of Guam have sought a middle road off an autonomous Commonwealth status on the road to decolonization. Because of Guam's uniqueness—and because no one is suggesting Guam should be a State we believe a special dispensation is necessary.
STATEMENT OF RON RIVERA
I am honored to submit this statement in support of H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act as a Chamorro, as a concerned citizen ... and a father who has great hopes for the future of his children and grandchildren, a future rooted in their homeland of Guam.
The draft Guam Commonwealth Act embodies a process for the decolonization of Guam. This is the heart of the Commonwealth Act, and it is what makes this Act both unique and acceptable to the Chamorro people. Decolonization is not something that can not be watered down or compromised-no matter what legislative language is finally agreed upon, the process of decolonization must be explicit and it must meet international standards.
We, the Chamorro people who have been colonized by military conquest, cannot risk our future self-determination in a bill that is equivocal on this point. We hope that Congress agrees with us on the absolute necessity to approach this issue with sensitivity and clarity. While there may be some new approaches to the legislative language, it must meet the basic criteria of the decolonization process that the United States has accepted in international definitions applied to other colonies.
There are fundamental principles that must be contained in an interim Commonwealth status in order for true decolonization to occur. First, a decolonization process must be initiated by a legitimate process of Chamorro self determination. Second, Guam must be granted control of immigration. Third, the Commonwealth Act must contain a mutual consent provision. These fundamental principles must be included in whatever Commonwealth Act Congress adopts.
The United States has a moral problem in justifying its continued colonial administration of Guam. The people of Guam have proposed, in the Guam Commonwealth Act, a political solution to this moral problem that meets their fundamental concerns and is consistent with international standards. The Guam proposal lays out quite clearly a solution that resolves Guam's colonial status. As a political solution, we are willing to engage the political processes of the U.S. govermnent, such as this
Congress, but what we are not willing to do is allow these political processes to dictate solutions that are weighted only to Federal concerns.
Guam has been on its quest for Commonwealth for over 10 years. A political solution along the lines that we propose is within the realm of reality if only Congress and the President would exercise the will and courage to resolve Guam's status. This courage means an acceptance of the stark reality of Guam's present colonial status, and a determination to work with Guam on a solution. The people of Guam have shown our own political will in this process, and we have shown the courage to challenge the colonial status quo.
We seek the common ground with the U.S. on many contentious issues, and we seek a new relationship that is suited for our island. We have offered political solutions that are neither radical nor unrealistic. We seek to break down barriers that separate us from other Americans. If these barriers were physical, it may be easier to understand. If we had a Brandenburg gate, a Berlin Wall, or a Demilitarized zone, perhaps then we would be able to point to the barriers. Instead, we have Supreme Court opinions and Federal laws that create institutional barriers to freedom.
The U.S. Constitution, revered worldwide as a crucible of freedom and justice, is wielded against territories as a tool of repression. This is not how things ought to be. We are here to challenge old thinking, to change the colonial relationship, and to tear down the barriers to our freedom.
STATEMENT OF DARRELL O. Doss It is an honor to be here today to represent all the veterans who fought to free Guam from enemy occupation 53 years ago. The 7,000 marines, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Coast Guard who were killed or wounded in action during the battle that raged for three weeks in the summer of 1944 are joined today by the living World War II veterans in calling on Congress to grant a new status to Guam.
At the time of our battle in 1944, we were honored to be called “the liberators” by our fellow Americans, the Chamorros of Guam. But did we really liberate Guam? It is sad to say that we did not. To this day, our fellow Americans in the western Pacific are one of the last colonies in the world. However, you, as Members of Congress, have the power to accomplish today that which we were unable to—to liberate Guam and grant the people of Guam the same freedom of self government as we have in our fifty states.
Guam has been a possession of the United States since 1898, with the exception of 31 months when they suffered under the cruel treatment of our then enemy. During that period, they were enslaved, tortured and executed. Of the 20,000 Ġuamanians at that time, over 1,500 died during the harsh occupation. Yet the people of Guam never lost faith with America. Even though it meant beatings, torture and even death for many of them, they never abandoned America. They helped feed, shelter, and hide George Tweed, the single surviving American sailor who hid out during the Japanese occupation. To them, this sailor was a symbol of the country they loved-America.
Guam fist applied for American citizenship in 1902, but it wasn't granted until 48 years later in 1950. In 1936, B.J. Bordallo and Francisco Leon Guerrero came to our nation's capitol to again ask for citizenship. Mr. Leon Guerrero stated "the people of Guam know but one ‘ism' and that is Americanism.” That statement is as true today as it was 61 years ago.
Because of Guam's loyalty to America, they have the highest per capita enlistments in our military services than any state in the Union. During the Vietnam War, (not a conflict), they had the highest per capita casualties than of any of our states.
I wish time would permit me to tell the story of a few of these brave people and what they endured because of their love for the United States, a love which I feel has not been returned in the policies of our government. I would tell you the stories of Beatrice Emsley, Antonio and Josefa Artero, Father Duenas (the martyred catholic priest, who was beheaded), B.J. Bordallo, the mother of Guam's current First Lady (Geri Gutierrez), Francisco Leon Guerrero, Mrs. Agueda Johnston, Joaquin Limtiaco and the eight Merizo co-liberators. I am sure that some of you would have tears in your eyes, just as we liberators had tears in our eyes when we liberated the concentration camps. These are the people I am asking you to support and allow them to have a closer and more democratic relationship with America. Is that too much to ask? For the people of Guam and we veterans of World War II, I hope you can find it in your heart to do what is right and give justice to our fellow Americans on Guam.