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Hawaii based foundation delivers 13 used PCs

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, June 17, 2008) - The Fono has received 13 PC computers donated by the Honolulu-based Reach Out Pacific Foundation (REPAC), which has been made possible with the assistance of Hawai'i state lawmakers, Sen. Kalani English and Rep. Glen Wakai.

The computers, which arrived on-island May 29, were revealed during a press conference on Thursday, June 12, when Senate President Lolo M. Moliga and House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale made the announcement.

Wakai is president of REPAC, a charitable foundation committed to working with Pacific island countries, including U.S Pacific jurisdictions who are members of the Association of the Pacific Island Legislatures (APIL).

American Samoa hosted the APIL conference last year and among the attending delegations were English and Wakai.

"During their visit they witnessed the disadvantaged state of the Fono in terms of its operating computer systems," Lolo told reporters. "As a result Senator English and Representative Wakai pledged their assistance in providing computers for the Fono to improve its operations."

Wakai and English worked with Manny Lagafuaina, the Fono's Information Technology officer in securing the 13 computers which are about two years old. Lagafuaina, along with Fono staffer Tau Amoa, were dispatched to Honolulu last month to accept the donation from English and Wakai.

"Our goal is to have sufficient computer equipment to carry out the Fono's tasks," said Lolo

The donated computers are Dell brand PCs, which have a different operating system from the Macintosh computers they are replacing. According to the Fono leadership the old Macs were more than 15 years old and often required service.

(No mention was made of the system changeover from Mac to PC.)

"A portion of the [donated] computers will be designated for the Fono's new database initiative which is currently undergoing development," said Lolo and Savali. "It is the Fono's objective to achieve 'paperless' operations. All proposed bills, resolutions and approved legislation will be accessed electronically and available to the public. This will indeed be a boost to the level of productivity and efficiency within the operations of the Fono."

Savali said this is not the first time REPAC has provided computer donations for the government, adding that a similar donation was made by Wakai last year during the APIL conference for the local Department of Education.

Lolo and Savali extend their "sincerest gratitude and thanks" to English and Wakai "for their thoughtfulness and consideration to the technical needs of the Fono." They also thanked REPAC for the generous contribution.

Early this year REPAC provided a donation to LBJ which included scrubs, bed sheets, blankets and children's clothing.

Lolo said the computers were shipped to the territory free-of-charge by Hawaiian Airlines, whose vice president of corporate communications Keoni Wagner gave the quick approval.

According to the Senate President, this is not the first time that Hawaiian has stepped forward in providing free air freight in the name of community effort as well as being a good corporate citizen.

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