Palau President’s Speech Emphasizes Progress While In Office

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Palau President’s Speech Emphasizes Progress While In Office Toribiong’s stresses ‘working together’ to find solutions

By Aurea Gerundio-Dizon

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, May 3, 2012) – President of Palau Johnson Toribiong Wednesday delivered his last State of the Republic Address in his first term of presidency, announcing significant progress has been made on almost all of the challenges his administration faced since the beginning.

As the president would repeatedly say from the beginning of his term, he inherited debts and problems from the previous regime.

Toribiong said the economy was indeed precarious when he took office. On his second year as president, although there were still rough times as the country still faced declining revenues and continuing problems with power situation, he said that the course of the nation had been steadied with the United States Government agreeing to review the Compact and the Trust Fund had stabilized. And on his third year, Toribiong said the nation continued to improve.

As he continued on his fourth year in term, Toribiong said highly trained experts of the International Monetary Fund recognized the progress of his administration and found that Palau’s economy is recovering strongly.

Toribiong took pride of the growing tourism under his regime. He believes that his declaration of Palau as shark sanctuary, which echoed around the world, further promoted the tourism industry of the nation.

The president also mentioned the Compact Review Agreement as among the progresses achieved under his administration. However, the matter is still before the U.S. Congress awaiting approval.

After reporting further on progresses in terms of agriculture, aquaculture, infrastructure, education, health, communications, cultural affairs, fisheries, safety and security, Toribiong expressed gratitude to Palau’s development partners such as the United States, Japan, Republic of China and other allies that now totaled to 60 nations. Fifteen of these nations have reportedly established diplomatic relations with Palau under his term.

Palau’s allies were repeatedly thanked by the president for helping the nation make progress through various financial and technical assistances.

He also thanked the Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK) for passing some of his proposals which he believes to be essential to the public and other leaders for working with him to achieve his goals for the Republic.

In closing, Toribiong emphasized the importance of working together to be able to find real solutions to the challenges. He said that criticizing a solution proposed by him or any other member of the OEK without proposing real alternative is a wasteful and counter-productive exercise.

The president reminded that leading the Republic is not a simple task, especially in his case when financial provisions of the Compact were expiring when he took office and the Republic was expected to rely on the Compact Trust Fund and its own local revenues.

Toribiong said his administration had no choice but to find other sources of funding and other ways of moving the nation forward. And he believes that he has done so successfully.

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