State Minister Faustina Rehuher-Marugg speaking before the media at a press conference. (File Photo)

State Minister Faustina Rehuher-Marugg during a press conference on February 13 at the Presidential Satellite Office in Meyuns.

State Minister Faustina Rehuher-Marugg said that while the government did not receive any official information about homeless Palauans overseas, it is not for the government to dictate where the locals should move or stay.

Minister Rehuher-Marugg was responding to the media’s inquiry during a press conference on February 13 whether or not the government had extended any form of assistance to homeless Palauans abroad following a report that there were homeless Palauans overseas.

“We haven’t been informed or [have received] official information about homeless Palauans overseas whether Guam, or Hawaii or anywhere,” the minister said.

“It hasn’t come to our attention but in any case, let me just say that Palauans who moved overseas are of their own accord. The government is not telling them to move or telling them to come back because as you know it is freedom of an individual to decide where they are going to stay,” she added.

The Minister pointed out that Palauans, under the Compact of Free Association (COFA), are free to move to any United States domains and that it is their own responsibilities to work hard in order to not become homeless.

Rehuher-Marugg, however, was quick to add that if the reported homeless Palauans choose to come back to Palau, the country welcomes them.

“If they choose to come back to Palau, of course, Palau welcomes them because they’re from here…so it is really their prerogative to make that decision, not the government, or my ministry,” the minister emphasized.

Island Times previously reported that the 2018 Guam Homeless Point-In-Time Count Report by the Guam Homeless Coalition (GHC) and the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (GHURA) identified that there are currently 19 homeless Palauans in Guam. This number is lesser compared to the 2017 report which revealed 25 Palauans were homeless in the US territory. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)