The Transition Report released last week by President Surangel Whipps Jr.’s administration proposes more changes to the Executive Branch, including moving bureaus to other ministries and the creation of the Ministry of Human Resources, Tourism & Economic Development (MHRTED).
The report, compiled by the President’s Transition Committee, was released to the public last week. It has been followed by a new legislation signed into law last week changing the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce (MPIIC) to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Industries (MPII), moving the functions of the Bureau of Commerce to the new MHRTED.
The new ministry, MHRTED, according to the report, will focus on employment and labor. Recommended goals for the new ministry highlighted in the report include reforming the pension system, reviewing and updating labor and employment laws for the public and private sectors, and creating a PalauJobs virtual job board.
The report suggests that the MHRTED will be made up of four Bureaus: a Bureau of Human Resources with a Division of Public Service System and a Division of Employment, a Bureau of Youth & Career Development with a Division of Youth Policy & Planning and a Division of Youth Development, a Bureau of Tourism with an Advisory Board made up of the Division of Tourism and the Palau Visitors Authority as its marketing arm, and a Bureau of Entrepreneurship Development with a Division of Enterprise Development and a Small Business Development Center.
Announcing the new ministry at his inauguration, President Whipps said, “It’s time to strengthen Palau’s workforce and foster a new generation of entrepreneurs to seize the economic opportunities Palau has to offer . . . The Government’s role should not be to provide a handout, but a hand-up!”
Meanwhile MCCA will be absorbed into various ministries and will not exist as MCCA under the realignment.
The Bureau of Aging, Disability and Gender is moved to the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Gender Division is to move to the Bureau of Domestic Affairs under the Ministry of State (MOS). The Bureau of Youth, Applied Arts and Career will be realigned with Youth Career falling under the MHRTED. The Sports Facilities Maintenance Program and National Housing Commission responsibilities will move to the MPII, while the Bureau of Archives and Research will move under the Bureau of Domestic Affairs.
The Bureau of Cultural and Historical Preservation of the MCCA is moved under the Council of Chiefs. The Transition Reports states, “Our Palauan culture, heritage, and values should be embedded within our government services, and as the cultural advisors to the President, it is only fitting that [the Council of Chiefs] help ensure culture remains an integral part of our nation-building.”
The Council of Chiefs is an advisory body under the Executive Branch. It is not clear how this bureau would fit under the advisory body, but as these changes will require amendments to the law, this may be addressed in further detail in a legislation.
The report includes other recommendations for ministries under the Executive Branch.
Recommendations for the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), for example, merges the Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection with the State Protected Area Network (PAN). This too will require changes to the PAN Act.
In addition to absorbing the Division of Gender, Archives and Research, and the law publication office, the report recommends the MOS to create a new bureau focused on international dealings between Palau and outside governments and agencies.
The report also recommends that the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment & Tourism (MNRET) be renamed the Ministry of Natural Resources, Agriculture, Fisheries & Environment to account for shifting roles and functions, and the movement of the Bureau of Tourism to the MHRTED.

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