Guam – The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, their wives and the Dededo Mayor and Vice Mayor last night knocked on doors and spoke to residents of Sagan Linahyan, Astumbo about the problems these families face.
Many residents are living without utilities. Many have no income except for public assistance. Senior citizens struggle to pay for their medication. Most need their tax refunds to pay bills. The issues in the area ranged from vandalism at Astumbo Elementary School to rat infestation throughout the neighborhood.
“I’m most concerned about the children, who may be at-risk,” Governor Eddie Baza Calvo said. “Ray and I want to do everything possible to help the people here and, most especially, provide outlets and opportunities for children.”
“Working together, we can make this a safe and thriving neighborhood for children to grow up,” Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio said. “We have a lot of initial ideas. We want the residents to know this community cares about them.”
“All we need here is support to make things happen,” Mayor Melissa Savares said. “We can really break the cycle of poverty by working together. I’m very proud of this partnership we’ve established.”
The Governor and his wife, First Lady Christine Calvo, were joined by Lt. Governor Tenorio and his wife, Attorney Naoko Shimizu, Mayor Savares, Vice Mayor Andrew Benavente, and members of the Calvo Tenorio Cabinet as they talked to residents. The Cabinet members included:
* Benita Manglona, Director of BBMR and Acting Director of Administration
* Martin Benavente, President of Guam Housing Corporation
* Marcel Camacho, Executive Director of Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority
* Anisia Terlaje, Director of Land Management
* Frank Roberto, Director of the Agency for Human Resource Development
* Marie Benito, Deputy Director of Revenue and Taxation
* Leo Casil, Deputy Director of Public Health and Social Services
As the Governor listened to each resident’s concerns, he called upon certain Cabinet members to look into solutions given the services the agency offers. Roberto, for instance, was called upon to explain AHRD’s job placement programs and to offer assistance to find work for an electrician who was just laid off.
Condition of Homes; Refurbishment of Area
Camacho estimated more than half of the homes in the area were substandard, many of them inhabited by families. Many of these homes appear to be abandoned. The Governor instructed Terlaje to find out if probate issues exist with any of the homes. He directed her to work with Benavente and Camacho to rehabilitate these areas and explore the potential of new housing units.
Benavente also explored the run-down public park behind the housing subdivision. He and Camacho will be examining how the area can be rehabilitated.
What Happens Now?
After the walkaround, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor and the Mayor conducted an after-action assessment. The agency heads began discussing several programs and initiatives they are undertaking. The Governor’s Office is providing leadership to wrap these programs and services around residents most in need.
Jesse Alig, Governor’s Director of Constituent Services, will follow up and facilitate action on residents’ concerns with various agencies involved. He will be working with Mayor Savares and Vice Mayor Benavente to provide services, and to communicate effectively with residents.