By Joyce McClure
Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo will travel to Yap on Thursday for a one-week visit to discuss a range of issues with the state leadership.
Visiting Yap for the first time since his inauguration in May 2019, Panuelo will lead a delegation consisting of his Cabinet officials.
The president is expected to brief state leaders on the status of Yap projects under his administration’s Priority Road Improvement & Management Enhancements (PRIME) project funded by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
The PRIME project is a key component of the FSM government’s Pave the Nation program, comprising road and bridge repairs, school replacement projects and construction of renewable energy plants in all four states of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae.
Panuelo previously discussed this initiative with Kosrae and Chuuk officials during his visits to the states last year.
For Yap, one of the major projects is the replacement of the Donoch and Tagaaniyal bridges in Colonia.
Another major undertaking in the state is the Yap International Airport Runway Rehabilitation Project.
In November, Yap received $37 million from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for the airport project.
In a statement last year, Panuelo said the rehabilitation project will include the removal and resurfacing of the airport’s runway pavement, taxiway, and removal of an earth mound that is obstructing the view between the runway and taxiway.
The presidential delegation will meet with Yap’s leadership on Friday.
Among the many items on the agenda will be an update on the Low Income Household Assistance program, according to Richard Clark, spokesman for the president.
Clark said the Department of Finance and Administration will provide the president with the latest information on the LIHA program.
As of January, a total of $7.89 million had been paid out to 7,896 households in FSM.
There are 17,142 applications for the program which are considered to be eligible households.
Of the 2,174 eligible households in Yap, 747 have received the assistance, thus bringing up questions from the remaining households about why they have not yet received their checks.
The president is also expected to brief Yap leaders on the status of the negotiation of the Compact of Free Association with the United States.
Normally scheduled for March 1 every year, Yap Day is not taking place this year due to the closed border. However, some of the villages are preparing entertainment activities for the president’s delegation, including traditional dances that the island is known for.
The U.S. and Australian embassies also plan to send delegations and will attend the events with the president and his entourage. (With additional reports from Mar-Vic Cagurangan)