United States Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to Palau through Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) will continue under the newly passed US coronavirus relief law, said President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. during yesterday press conference.

Details on how much the assistance would be or any additional conditions are still not known at this time.  The bill was just signed into law this past Sunday and contained over 500 pages. 

Remengesau also reported that the additional $5 million that WIOA had requested as part of the current program to cover the remaining month was also approved.  To date, WIOA has disbursed $14 million of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance within Palau.

In addition, information that has been shared that Federated States of Micronesia was able to disbursed Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funding under US CARES Act to all households were denied by WIOA Office in the FSM.  In an email message to the Office of the President, FSM government called information “fake news” saying that only 1,000 people who qualified are receiving the PUA/FPUC in the FSM.

Attempts to obtain information on the new US coronavirus relief act with WIOA Director in Palau  , Josephine Ulengchong were unsuccessful before this publication went to print.

Meanwhile, Office of the President has submitted a bill to extend the Palau’s CROSS Act, the coronavirus relief act to September 30, 2021.  The bill was supported by the incoming president-elect Surangel Whipps Jr. who said that it is unrealistic to believe that the new government would be able to resolve the economic downturn immediately upon taking office.  The CROSS Act will continue to help Palauans until economy recovers.

Minister Elbuchel Sadang of the Ministry of Finance reported that of the $20 million budgeted for CROSS Act in FY 2020, $14 million balance still remain unspent.  This will remain as source of CROSS Act extension into 2021.

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