Presidential Proclamation conveys the nation’s appreciation for his contributions to the Republic

A state funeral in honor of the late Honorable Senator Regis Akitaya, who passed away on September 22, 2022, will be held today, October 14, 2022, at the Old OEK in Koror. 

Recognizing the late Senator Akitaya’s contributions to the nation, flags were ordered hoisted half-staff for five days, from October 10 to October 14. 

Presidential Proclamation No. 22-330, issued by President Surangel Whipps Jr., honors and recognizes the late Senator Regis Akitaya’s numerous accomplishments and contributions to his country, a nation he served diligently until his untimely passing.

Late Senator Regis Akitaya had a distinguished career at a very young age, becoming the youngest person to serve as a Minister of Natural Resources in the Republic of Palau, a cabinet post he was appointed to at 31 years of age by late President Ngiratkel Etpison.

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Seattle University in Washington State, USA, the late Senator Akitaya came home and began his distinguished career as Junior Engineer for the Downer-Fletcher Joint Venture Ltd. 

In 1985 he became the Energy Program Manager for the Ministry of Natural Resources, moving up in 1990 to the Chief of the Utilities Division of the Bureau of Public Works, a precursor to Palau Public Utilities Corporation.

In 1990, he was appointed to President Etpison’s cabinet as the Minister of Resources & Development.  During his term as a Minister of Resources & Development, the IPSECO Power Plant transferred to the Bureau of Public Works.

In 1995, after Palau Public Utilities Corporation was established, he served as the Manager of the Engineering and Construction Division of PPUC and Technical Advisor to the Board of PPUC.

In 2009, the late Senator Akitaya was elected Senator of the 8th Olbiil Era Kelulau.  He went on to win a seat in the Senate of the 9th, 10th, and 11th Olbiil Era Kelulau.

The Presidential Proclamation recognized late Senator Akitaya’s active community engagement and contributions.  In addition to serving in Youth Affairs, Social Welfare, and Culture Committees of the Senate in the 8th, 9th, and 10th OEK, he served as a member of the Palau National Olympics Committee, President of Palau Track & Field Association. He served as Team Palau Chef de Mission of the 2010 Micronesian Games.

He was an active sports fisherman, serving on the Board of the Palau Sports Fishing Association as Vice President until his passing. 

He was actively involved in community programs, events, and organizations.

“The late Senator Regis Akitaya will forever be remembered as a true inspiration and example of the upstanding citizenry, with all the qualities and characteristics of a citizen dedicated to making a positive impact on his community,” stated the Presidential Proclamation.

The late Senator Akitaya is survived by his wife, Maria Leena Basilius Akitaya, and his children Takami “Taka” Mekaeb, Matthias Kelbesang, Noelle Ngirungai, and Ayana. 

He is survived by his siblings Lidwina A. Kumangai, Mathias Akitaya, Jolene A. Oneal and preceded in death by his brother Timothy Akitaya.

The Presidential Proclamation expresses “Deep sadness on the passing of the late Senator Regis Akitaya and conveys the appreciation of a Grateful Nation for his Contributions to the people of the Republic of Palau.”

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