By: L.N. Reklai
October 7, 2016 (Airai) A ceremony to celebrate completion of capital improvement projects in Palau was held at Palau International Airport in Airai State yesterday.
The projects completed cost well over $30 million dollars and the new projects to break ground cost approximately $1.490 million dollars.
Out of the 12 projects, 5 had ribbon cuttings to mark completion including a $29 million Secondary Apron at the Palau International Airport, funded by Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) of the United States of America.
The apron project was awarded to Surangel & Sons Construction Co. in 2008 and was divided into 4 phases. The total construction project cost $29 million dollars. According to Mr. Brian Melairei, Managing Director of Capital Improvement Projects, the apron can accommodate four 767 Boeing aircrafts at one time.
“We planned ahead for future growth of the airport. Palau is the only other country beside Guam and CNMI in Micronesia, that has an active 24/7 airport, meaning that we operate 24/7. We have direct flights from Guam, Philippines, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan almost daily,” stated Minister Charles Obichang of MPIIC.
Ambassador Amy Hyatt of the United States of America stated in her remarks that safety and security of the travelling public is paramount interest and United States has been working very closely with Palau for many years to ensure this end.
“United States had invested over $64 million dollars into airport security and safety, including AARF building, perimeter fence to meet TSA requirements and training, including the new apron,” stated Ambassador Hyatt.
Ambassador Hyatt stated that travelling by plane is not just for the rich man but an important link for everyone, for tourism, for transfer of goods and for health among others.
The four other completed capital improvement projects were funded by the Republic of China (Taiwan) costing approximately $1.075 million dollars. These include projects in Ngiwal, Ngchesar and Airai States.
Seven (7) new capital improvement projects breaking ground worth $1.490 million dollars include roads, bridges and public parks.
These are just some of the Republic of China stimulus grants completed and started within this year. Others broke ground and had ribbon cutting ceremonies these past months. Republic of China (Taiwan) awards $11 million dollars to Palau every year for “stimulus” funds that are used to build infrastructures, such as roads, bridges, parks, docks, buildings and other important public facilities that support better quality of life.
Ambassador Michael Tseng of the Republic of China stated that he was very pleased to see these projects started and completed. “At the end of the day, all these projects are for the people, they are aimed at improving peoples’ daily lives,” asserted Tseng.
In his remarks, ROP President Remengesau Jr. said that our Republic has just reached its 22nd birthday and like any 22 year old, still need guidance and support in its development. “We need to have a clear blue print on how we want our country to develop. Many of these projects are very important to our development, but as you can see by the cost, Palau cannot afford to do this based on our small population. We need our friends and developing partners to assist us build these important infrastructures.”
President Tommy Remengesau Jr. expressed his appreciation to the United States of America and the Republic of China for their friendship and support to Palau. [/restrict]