GUAM RESIDENTS HOPE FOR BETTER LEADERSHIP

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 6) - Today is the first day in office for Felix Camacho and Kaleo Moylan -- Guam's new governor and lieutenant governor -- and some residents hope a change for the better is here.

"Anything other than the previous administration -- with the way they handled government matters -- would be an improvement," said 53-year-old Vicente Champaco of Merizo.

Champaco, a retired postal worker and an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, said hiring qualified people, based on merit and not political or familial affiliations should be the new administration's first step.

"Now is not the time for doing favors," he said. "We've got to stop politicking."

Champaco said once qualified directors and agency leaders are in place, Camacho will have the support he needs to make changes.

Champaco suggested officials cut the number of government employees, many of which, he said, were hired through the "pare' system," a system that promotes or hires based on who you know and not what candidates for those positions know.

"There are a lot -- too many -- nonessential employees working," he said. "And the government is bigger than we can afford."

Prom Cejoco said the new administration and Legislature need to focus on education.

"I want them to stick to their promises that education is the priority," said the 44-year-old mother of five.

Cejoco, whose husband is a teacher for the Guam Community College vocational satellite program, said support must be given to the teachers and students.

"The students need more books, the teachers need their supplies. ... And they need to build safe facilities," she said.

Cejoco is a 1976 graduate of John F. Kennedy High School, where one of her children is now a sophomore.

Education officials have recommended a portion of JFK’s main building be condemned after the school suffered a beating Dec. 8 by Supertyphoon Pongsona.

"They need to sell that property and use the money to build a new school," Cejoco said. "That's prime real estate property that the school is sitting on."

Rose Iriarte agreed education is a "definite priority" but said Guam's new leaders need to focus on improving the utilities.

"I've heard people complaining about their water problems and I haven't complained, but the situation can be frustrating," said Iriarte, who lives in Mangilao near Ladera Towers.

Iriarte and her family moved into a second-floor apartment in 1997.

"Since I've been here, we haven't had good water pressure," she said. Iriarte added she has considered moving to an area that has consistent water pressure.

"I like the area I'm at; it's a nice and safe place, so other than the water issue, I'm fine," she said.

All three residents agreed the new administration and the new Legislature have a lot of work ahead.

"They don't have much to work with financially, but it starts with putting people to work who are qualified to do the job," Cejoco said.

"Good utilities, quality education and good government service -- that's all we really want."

January 6, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

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