Envoy says FSM citizens 'not prepared for migration'
Micronesian citizens who relocate to other countries need to know what to expect when migrating, according to Teresa M. Filepin, the Federated States of Micronesia’s new consul general in Guam.
“One of the main things, very prevalent, was the fact that we migrate without being prepared for the migration,” said Filepin, who replaced the retired Consul General Robert Ruecho. “Preparing for this new post, I was looking at things, possibilities, on how to improve for our citizens here on Guam.”
Prior to her consular appointment, Filepin served as the director of Education in Yap. “Education and awareness is something that I want to work with our leaders on,” she said. “Not like going to college, but what to expect when migrating, at the very least. “The education system in the FSM is on the upward trend, we have students that are graduating from the FSM that are getting ready to enroll into prestigious universities.”
During her meeting with Gov. Eddie Calvo in Adelup on Wednesday, Filepin discussed the histories between Guam and Yap, immigration, education, and her move to Guam.
The Compact of Free Association between the U.S. and FSM allows Micronesian citizens to travel visa-free and work in the United States and any of its jurisdictions. There are approximately 2,400 FSM citizens living on Guam. While they are eligible to receive social services, the assistance they can get have certain limitations.
“With the typhoons and storms that have come our way, we have seen that FSM citizens are not eligible to receive individual federal assistance as a result of a disaster. This is something I have brought up with both the Obama and Trump administrations, as well as Congress,” Calvo said.
Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio said the Calvo administration has called the federal government’s attention to the issue of federal aid the eligibility for FSM citizens, who live on Guam. ”I know that together, we can accomplish much by working in collaboration to address issues that impact our region," Tenorio said.
Calvo, who has two months left in office, offered to assist Filepin until the new governor is elected and installed in January. ““I’m glad to see a young and energetic person here and I feel confident that whomever the next governor is, will work very well with you,” the governor said.