By: L.N. Reklai

(Koror, Palau) Some Senators took to airwaves yesterday to explain their rejection of SB 9-149, SD1, particularly the proposed budget for the upcoming inauguration of the 10th government of the Republic of Palau.

With no budget for 2017 inauguration and with the government operating on a Continuing Budget resolution, House of Delegates during their special session inserted the budget for the 2017 Inauguration of $250,000 unto a Senate bill 9-149,SD1, a bill to regulate childcare and passed it on its 3rd reading. [restrict

Senate in their special session on Monday, December 19, voted to reject the bill and referred the bill to conference committee.

Chairman of Senate Ways & Means Surangel Whipps Jr. scheduled a hearing with Finance Minister Elbuchel Sadang and MCCA Minister Baklai Temengil, chairman of the inaugural committee,  to find out further details on the budget but both Ministers did not show up for the hearing.

“Senators are comparing this with the inauguration of the 9th government.  That was not an inauguration so much as an installation ceremony.  We agreed then that we had just got out of Typhoon Bopha so we will scale down but we also agreed that we will have a big ceremony and invite our allies during the October 1st celebration, which we did,” stated the President Remengesau Jr. regarding the budget for the 10th government inauguration.

President Remengesau added that this was agreed to during the leadership meeting earlier.  “We have discussed and agreed to this during the leadership meeting,” he asserted.

“This fund can be considered a mini-stimulus fund.  This money will be spent to buy local food, pay for local products, services and transportation such as the planned visitation of our guests and dignitaries to Peleliu and to Babeldaob.  Local people will be providing food and support and that money will go to the people,” added President Remengesau.

Senator Rukebai Inabo during a radio program yesterday stated that they were just doing their job and that they too want what’s best because they will be part of the inauguration ceremony.

Speaker Sabino Anastacio calls on Senate to recall their action of the bill and re-pass it. He indicated that if the budget is not passed, they will look for other means to fund the inauguration. [/restrict]