By: L.N. Reklai

(Koror, Palau) President Remengesau issued a Presidential Proclamation No. 17-202 on February 17, 2017, honoring the memory of and expressing appreciation of the nation to, former Minister of Commerce & Trade Otoichi Besebes, and ordering nation’s flags to fly half-mast in his honor.


According to the proclamation, late Otoichi Besebes attended Ngarchelong Elementary School and Palau Intermediate School in Koror before he went on to attend Tumon High School in Guam, where he graduated in 1964.  In 1968 he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with Minor in Economics from the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

Late  Otoichi Besebes’s  career in public service began as an Accountant for Koror Wholesalers in 1968 before being hired as Business Adviser for the Trust Territory Government in Saipan from 1969 to 1972.

1972, Besebes returned back home and began his long career serving the people of Palau as the Manager of the Palau Federation of Fishing Associations later became the Manager of the Belau Modekngei Company, where he served with pride and passion from 1975 to 1983.

In 1982 when the National Development Bank of Palau was established, late Otoichi Besebes was hired as the Vice President of the bank, a job he held for thirteen years from 1983 to 1996.

Late Otoichi Besebes also became the first Palauan to serve as the President of the Pacific Islands Development Bank in Guam 1996 to March of 2001

In 2001, late Otoichi Besebes was appointed by His Excellency Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau as Minister of Commerce and Trade, a position he held for eight years until his retirement in 2008.

Late Otoichi Besebes continues to be active after his retirement serving as a member and Director of Janss Foundation’s Board of Trustees, a member of Compact of Free Association Board of Trustees; the Chairman of the Board of Palau Community Action Agency; the Chairman of the Board of Social Security Administration; and the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Development Bank of Palau.

Furthermore, with the reestablishment of Compact of Free Association (COFA) Board of Trustees through RPPL 9-20, the late Otoichi Besebes was once again reappointed by His Excellency Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau, to serve as a member of this Board as its Chairman beginning in early 2014 until his passing.

Late Otoichi Besebes was not only active in his employment in the private and public sectors, but a respected leader of his clans, as he held chiefly titles of – Ongelolem ra Btelulachang, Klobak ra Ngara Sechedui of Choll County of Ngaraard State, and Iechad ra Ebsang, the third ranking Chief of Ngara Oteloii, Ngriil County of Ngarchelong State.

Proclamation states that Otoichi Besebes’ life-long motto was, “Always Keep Palau for the Palauans – Politically, Economically, Culturally, and Socially”.

Late Otoichi Besebes, a devoted family man is survived by his wife Ebil ra Teblang Ferista Ngirailild; his daughters Merii Besebes and Meked Besebes; his son Michener Besebes, and his two grandsons, Tekoi and Ongos Rdiall.

The proclamation states that after a long and illustrious career serving the Republic in many capacities, late Otoichi Besebes was called to his eternal rest on February 9, 2017 at the age of seventy-two (72). [/restrict]