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July 8, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

Episode 192, “The Pursuit of Independence: Two Conversations with Three Artists.”

(hosted by Tali Ariav with production assistance of Marlon Molinos and Robert Wang) was recorded 6/11/14 in Iowa City, Iowa and 6/22/14 in Tel Aviv, Israel and aired 7/4/14.  

July 4 is U.S. Independence Day which celebrates not only the end of colonial rule and the Declaration of Independence in 1776, but also individual and cultural independence around the world. This commemorative episode features two conversations with three artists in Iowa City, Iowa, and in Tel Aviv, Israel about the meaning and pursuit of independence.  

The introduction entitled  “The Next Generation,” is an excerpt from Amir Orian’s play “User Name: General.” This play was originally written in Tel Aviv, Israel, and was translated to English by program host Tali Ariav.  Guam residents and members of the performing arts community, Jefferson Cronin and Diane Isis Thurber,  provide theatrical reading and singing for this short piece.

 

Following this reading, we hear an inspiring conversation with Amir Orian (conducted in Hebrew with English voice-over).  He is an actor, director, theatre critic, teacher and the founder of The Room Theatre-Theatre Laboratory. Born in 1944 in Tel Aviv, Israel, Orian established his Room Theatre, and the Orian Method, in Tel-Aviv in 1985. The Room Theatre is dedicated to research, study and performance of  alternative behaviors for actors who are in the environment of the artistic event.

Following the interview with Amir Orian, we hear the insights of Jen Fawcett and Sean Lewis, co-founders of the Working Group Theater in Iowa City, Iowa.  Founded in 2009, Working Group Theatre promotes independence in audiences and communities of diverse backgrounds through engagement and sharing their untold stories with the public. Sean is WGT’s Artistic Director, while Jennifer is the Associate Artistic Director.

The musical selections for this episode include “The Kreutzer Sonata” by Ludwig von Beethoven, and the inspiration for the original play, “The Kreutzer Sonata: A Play in Three Tiny Movements,” written by Jen Fawcett.

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July 8, 2014 @ 5:17 pm

Ep. 191, “DSEIS Public Hearing in Mangilao, Part 2 of 2

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua, Dr. Elizabeth Bowman, Samantha Marquez-Dauglash,  Marlon Molinos and Robert Wang) was recorded 5/19/14 at Father Duenas Memorial School and aired 6/27/14.   

From May 17-20, the Department of the Navy (DON) conducted three public hearings in northern, central, and southern villages of Guam on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) on the Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Relocation which was released April 18.  The public comment period has been extended 15 days to July 2.  Comments may be submitted  online at http://guambuildupeis.us or by mail to Joint Guam Program Office Forward, P.O. Box 153246, Santa Rita, Guam 96915. 

This SEIS process addresses two aspects of the buildup for which decisions have been deferred in light of changes in the size and composition of the US Marine units that may be relocated to Guam--- the main cantonment area and the location of the Live Fire Training Range Complex (LFTRC).  These adjustments would reduce the originally planned relocation of approximately 8,600 Marines and  9,000 dependents, first announced in 2005,  to a force of approximately 5,000 Marines and 1,300 dependents.

This episode is the second in a two part series featuring the oral testimonies at the May 19  public hearing held at Father Duenas Memorial School in the central village of Mangilao.  The Mangilao district of Pågat,  once an ancient Chamorro village, was the preferred location for the Live Fire Training Range Complex in the Final EIS.  However, a lawsuit filed in 2010 by the Guam Preservation Trust, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and We Are Guahan forced the U.S. Navy to conduct the SEIS, now undergoing public review.  The Pågat site is still among the five alternatives identified for the LFTRC in the DSEIS.  

In the first half of this episode we present the testimonies of Martha L.G. Toves, Lourdes Flores Bejado, Chris Flores Bejado, Barbara S.N. Benavente, Emily Sablan, Hope Alvarez Cristobal, Anna Lee Camacho Villagomez, and Jessica Nangauta.  [The testimonies of Cristobal and Villagomez were not  included in the original broadcast.] 

In the second half, we hear the testimonies of  Moneka De Oro, Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, Fanai Castro, Cara May Flores, Patricia L. G. Taimanglo, Maria Baza, Jonathan Frank Blas Diaz, Art De Oro, Shannon Siguenza, and Michael Lujan Bevacqua.   

These oral testimonies, limited at the public hearing to three minutes, have been edited to fit the format of the program.

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July 6, 2014 @ 6:06 pm

Ep. 190, “DSEIS Public Hearing in Mangilao, Part 1of 2

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Dr. Michael Bevacqua and Samantha Marquez-Dauglash ) was recorded 5/19/14 at Father Duenas Memorial School and aired 6/20/14.   

From May 17-20, the Department of the Navy (DON) conducted three public hearings in northern, central, and southern villages of Guam on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) on the Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Relocation which was released April 18.  The public comment period has been extended 15 days to July 2.  Comments may be submitted  online at http://guambuildupeis.us or by mail to Joint Guam Program Office Forward, P.O. Box 153246, Santa Rita, Guam 96915. 

This SEIS process addresses two aspects of the buildup for which decisions have been deferred in light of changes in the size and composition of the US Marine units that may be relocated to Guam--- the main cantonment area and the location of the Live Fire Training Range Complex (LFTRC).  These adjustments would reduce the originally planned relocation of approximately 8,600 Marines and  9,000 dependents, first announced in 2005,  to a force of approximately 5,000 Marines and 1,300 dependents.

This episode is the second in a two part series featuring the oral testimonies at the May 19  public hearing held at Father Duenas Memorial High School in the central village of Mangilao.  The Mangilao district of Pågat,  once an ancient Chamorro village, was the preferred location for the Live Fire Training Range Complex in the Final EIS.  However, a lawsuit filed in 2010 by the Guam Preservation Trust, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and We Are Guahan forced the U.S. Navy to conduct the SEIS, now undergoing public review.  The Pågat site is still among the five alternatives identified for the LFTRC in the DSEIS. 

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July 6, 2014 @ 4:05 pm

Ep. 189, “Guam National Wildlife Refuge: What is at Stake?”

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Marlon Molinos) airs 6//13/14.

The Guam National Wildlife Refuge (GNWLR) was established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1993, to protect and recover endangered and threatened species, protect habitat, control non-native species with emphasis on the brown tree snake, protect cultural resources, and provide recreational and educational opportunities to the public when possible. 

In this episode we examine what is at stake with the introduction by Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo of H.R.  4402, the Guam Military Readiness Act of 2014, to authorize the Secretary of the Navy to establish a surface danger zone over the GNWLR to support the operation of a live fire range training complex (LRTRC) on Anderson Air Force Base (AAFB) as proposed in the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) on the Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Relocation. This would limit public access to the refuge for as many as 39 weeks a year.  The DSEIS was released April 18 and is now undergoing public review and comment 

H.R.  4402 is not only a linchpin for the establishment of the LFTRC at the preferred location at AAFB but has also brought various issues to the fore, from the ongoing issue of return of excess federal land to original landowners and their descendants, public access to the refuge for recreational, educational and research purposes, as well as a re-examination of the mission and value of the refuge itself. 

This episode features excerpts of interviews and a presentation recorded May 16 on a tour of the refuge for Guam senators and legislative staff requested by the office of the Speaker Judi Won Pat; also, subsequent interviews with former Guam Delegate Dr. Robert Underwood and archeologist, Dr. Mike Carlson.  

We begin with the interview (recorded  6/11/14) with Dr. Robert Underwood who served five terms (1993-2003) as Guam Delegate and is now President of the University of Guam. He talks about the historical background and political context of the transfer of land to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1993, his objection to this transfer as a ‘land grab‘ and a violation of indigenous Chamorro land rights, and the significance of the Guam Land Return Act which he authored.  

This is followed by an interview with Mr. Joseph Schwagerl who has been the refuge manager for the past four years. Prior to this, he worked for 13 years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Caribbean, based in Puerto Rico.  During this time he provided oversight for the establishment and management of the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge.  The eastern end of Vieques was used for live fire training exercises, ship-to-shore gunfire, air-to-ground bombing, and U.S. marine amphibious landings starting from the 1940s until local and international  protests forced the military to leave the island in 2003. 

In the second half of the program, we feature excerpts of a presentation on the Marianas fruit bat, or fanihi, by biology science technician and University of Guam student, Mariana  Sander.  

This is followed by an interview (recorded via Skype 6/9/14) with Dr. Mike Carlson, an archaeologist and research affiliate at the University of Guam who has worked for more than a dozen years throughout the Asia-Pacific region, with a special focus on the Marianas Islands. Among his projects, he has been working at Ritidian for the last several years, where he has documented a continuous sequence of 3500 years of changing natural and cultural history of this landscape.  Dr. Carson has published more than 20 scientific  journal articles and other works, including many related to his investigations at Ritidian. 

While on the May 16 tour,  I was also able to talk briefly with Juan Martinez Flores, whose land, taken through eminent domain, is now part of the refuge. He was accompanied  by his niece, Lourdes Flores Bejado, who explained that this was the first time in 14 years her uncle had visited this site because the loss of this land was ‘too painful.”  They are among the Ritidian families seeking the return of ancestral lands.   

We conclude with brief comment from Ron Teehan, one of the legislative staff on the tour. He is a founding member of OPI-R (Organization of  People for Indigenous Rights) and former director of the Chamorro Land Trust.  

As an bonus, the recording of the May 16 tour provided by Emily G. Sablan, Park Ranger -Visitor Serves) will be appended to this podcast.  For more information or to schedule  a group tour, call (671) 355-5060 Ext. 101 or email emily_sablan@fws.gov

The deadline for public comment on the DSEIS has been extended 15 days to July 2.   Comments may be submitted on line at http://guambuildupeis.us or by mail to Joint Guam Program Office Forward, P.O. Box 153246, Santa Rita, Guam 96915. 

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June 17, 2014 @ 10:51 am

Ep. 187, “DSEIS Public Hearing in Dededo, Part 1 of 2

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Marlon Molinos) was recorded May 17, 2014 and aired 5/30/14.

From May 17-20, the Department of the Navy (DON) conducted three public hearings in northern, central, and southern villages of Guam on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) on the Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Relocation which was released April 18.  Although these DON hearings have been completed, the public may continue to submit written comment through June 17 either online at http://guambuildupeis.us or by mail at Joint Guam Program Office Forward, P.O. Box 153246, Santa Rita, Guam 96915. 

This SEIS process addresses two aspects of the buildup for which decisions have been deferred in light of changes in the size and composition of the US Marine units that may be relocated to Guam--- the main cantonment area and the location of the Live Fire Training Range Complex (LFTRC).  These adjustments would reduce the originally planned relocation of approximately 8,600 Marines and  9,000 dependents, first announced in 2005,  to a force of approximately 5,000 Marines and 1,300 dependents.

This episode is the first in a two part series featuring the oral testimonies at the first public hearing conducted May 17 at Okkodo High School in Dededo, in northern Guam, the most .  populated village on the island.  Department of Defense held land in the Finegayan area of Dededo, along Route 3A, is the preferred location for the proposed cantonment area which would provide ready access for Marines,  to the proposed LFTRC in the Talalo area near North West Field inside Anderson Air Force Base.  This preferred location for the LFTRC would require the creation of a surface danger zone to include an area over the Guam National Wildlife Refuge in Ritidian, which would limit public access to the refuge for as many as 39 weeks a year. 

In this episode we hear from three Guam senators, the director of the Department of Public Works, representatives of the Guam Chamber of Commerce, veterans, and several others. They are (in order of presentation):  Vice Speaker Benjamin J. Cruz, Senator Frank Aguon, Dr. Larry Kasperbauer, Carl Dominguez, David Leddy, Philipp Santos, Carl Peterson, Speaker Judith Won Pat,  Joe Alvarez, John Robertson, Talajero Fejeran, Wayne Brown, Bill Sablan, Robert Klitzkie, Rodney Cruz, David Lotz, Roque Blaz, and Art de Oro.  [These oral testimonies, limited at the public hearing to three  minutes, have been edited to fit the format of the program. 


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June 7, 2014 @ 11:13 pm

Ep. 188, “DSEIS Public Hearing in Dededo, Part 2 of 2

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Marlon Molinos) was recorded 5/17/14 at Okkodo High School and aired 6/6/14.   

From May 17-20, the Department of the Navy (DON) conducted three public hearings in northern, central, and southern villages of Guam on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) on the Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Relocation which was released April 18.  Although these hearings have been completed, the public may continue to submit written comment through June 17 online at http://guambuildupeis.us or by mail to Joint Guam Program Office Forward, P.O. Box 153246, Santa Rita, Guam 96915. 

This SEIS process addresses two aspects of the buildup for which decisions have been deferred in light of changes in the size and composition of the US Marine units that may be relocated to Guam--- the main cantonment area and the location of the Live Fire Training Range Complex (LFTRC).  These adjustments would reduce the originally planned relocation of approximately 8,600 Marines and  9,000 dependents, first announced in 2005,  to a force of approximately 5,000 Marines and 1,300 dependents.

This episode is the second in a two part series featuring the oral testimonies at the May 17  public hearing at Okkodo High School in Dededo, in northern Guam. Dededo is the most populated village with an estimated 45,000 residents.  Department of Defense held land in the Finegayan area of Dededo, along Route 3A, is the preferred location for the proposed cantonment area.  This location would provide ready access for the Marines to the preferred location for the LFTRC, in the Talalo area of Northwest Field on Anderson Air Force Base.  This location for the LFTRC would require the creation of a surface danger zone, as proposed in HR 4402 introduced by Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, to include an area over the Guam National Wildlife Refuge in Ritidian, which would limit public access to the refuge for as many as 39 weeks a year. 

In the first half of this episode we present the testimonies of one of the key individuals behind the online petition campaign opposing HR 4402 (Barbara S. N. Benavente) and of several descendants of original landowners of Urunao and Ritidian (Matthew Artero, Jesse P. Castro, Melvia Artero Caffkey, Christopher Flores Bejajdo, and Lourdes Flores Bejado). The testimony of PJ San Nicolas was presented at this public hearing in the form of a song (“Give Us Back Our Land) which was re-recorded in studio for this program.    

In the second half, we present the testimonies of cultural preservationists (Moneka de Oro,  Sabina Perez and Fanai Castro), Chair of the Task Force  on Independence (Trinie Torres), Chair of the Task Force on Free Association (Jose ‘Joe’ Garrido),  Hope Alvarez Cristobal, Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, U.S. veteran/I Magalahi of I Nasion Chamoru (Vicente Garrido, speaking in Chamorro), and Shannon Siguenza.     

These oral testimonies, limited at the public hearing to three minutes, have been edited to fit the format of the program.

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June 4, 2014 @ 8:25 pm

Episode 186, “Mis/representing Our Roots: Three Looks at Poetic Expression”

 (hosted by Tali Ariav with production assistance of Chris Hartig, Marlon Molinos, and Robert Wang) was recorded April-May 2014 and aired 5/23/14.  
This episode focuses on the theme of cultural misrepresentation and our identity—how it changes over time; how we can reach back into history and change the meaning of the past to make a political statement about our present and future.
The first program guest is Arielle Taitano Lowe,  a student at the University of Guam, majoring in Chamoru Studies and English Literature with a minor in Sociology.  Arielle is passionate about writing short prose and performing slam poetry.  Since August 2011, she has been training as a youth poet with the Sinangan-ta Youth Movement, Guam’s Official Spoken Word Arts Organization.  
She talks about her approach to poetry and to revealing the misrepresentation of important aspects of Chamoru culture and the decline in authenticity as the culture is presented and passed on to successive generations.  Arielle also performs  her spoken word poem: “Trongkon Nunu (Banyan Tree)” that was written for SYM’s annual competition.  This  poem was inspired by her love for learning the Chamoru language and desire to use her voice in order to resist colonization.  She also performs the poem “Dance.” 
The second guest is Dr. David Garcia-Ramos, a visiting theatre practitioner,  playwright and professor of philosophy and theatre at the Catholic University of Valencia, Spain.  David’s work often addresses sacred themes and pushes theatre beyond the confines of old-world traditions. By representing the past in a different manner, he evokes political statements about ideas that might otherwise be considered “sacred cows,” and blindly accepted as truth by the people who grew up in a culture steeped in these same ideas.
A reading of David’s play “Un Balde de Agua,” or “Bucket of Water,” is included in his interview. Translated from its original Spanish to English through a collaboration of the author and Tali Ariav, “Un Balde de Agua” is dramatically read by Michelle Blas and Richard Stump.
The third guest is Jim Holmes, a visiting scholar and actor from Hollywood, California who traveled to Guam to critically review the play “Pågat” for possible inclusion in the Kennedy Center American Collegiate Theatre Festival.  Jim is the Region 8 National Playwriting Chairman for the Kennedy Center American Collegiate Theatre Festival. In addition to this role, he is a professional theatrical, film and television actor, as well as an adjunct professor at the University of Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles.  Jim discusses his approach to the craft of acting and directing in film and theatre, including the ways Hollywood productions differ from other forms of artistic expression—to include the different ways of representation of its stories and tales for entertainment and profit.

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May 12, 2014 @ 3:04 pm

Ep. 184, “From Pågat to Ritidian: The Live-Fire Training Range Complex (LFTRC) Controversy Continues”

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Marlon Molinos) was recorded 4/28/14 at the Guam Legislature and airs 5/9/14.   

 

This episode features excerpts of several statements presented at a April 28 roundtable convened by Senator Frank B. Aguon, Chair of the Guam US Military Relocation, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs and Judiciary Committee.  [These statements were edited to fit the format of this  program.] This roundtable was convened to afford an opportunity for representatives of non-governmental organizations and other concerned individuals to provide preliminary comment on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on the Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Relocation released April 18.  The 60 day public comment period on this Draft SEIS ends June 17

After opening comments by Senator Aguon and Mark Calvo, director of the Guam Military Buildup Office and special assistant to Governor Calvo, 18 representatives and individuals presented statements. Several urged elected leaders to seek an extension on the public comment period. Requests were also made for Government of Guam agencies to provide the community their preliminary review and comment before the series of US Navy open house/public hearings begin May 17.  

A focal controversy since the release of the 2009 Draft Environment Impact Study (DEIS) is the Department of Navy (DON) preferred location for the live-fire training range complex (LFTRC).  Officials, including Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, assert that the Guam buildup cannot happen without a LFTRC for the marines. 

Included here are the statements of several speakers at this roundtable who specifically addressed this issue. We begin with the statement of Leevin Camacho, representing We Are Guahan, who was invited to present a brief overview of the key changes and similarities from the 2009 DEIS. Attorney Camacho is a member of the legal team which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Guam Preservation Trust, and We Are Guahan, arguing that the DON did not comply with the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) by not considering all potential sites for the LFTRC.  There is no mention of this lawsuit in the Draft SEIS.   

A key change outlined by Camacho is the shift in the preferred location for the LFTRC from an area along Route 15 in the northeastern part of Guam (which includes the site of an ancient village in Pågat) that is outside the existing military footprint to Northwest Field which is located on Anderson Air Force Base.  Although this new preferred alternative is within the fence, it is not without controversy.  

Lisa Baza, who spoke on behalf of the Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice, focused on the environmental concerns and proposed mitigation measures related to locating the LFTRC in Northwest Field as well as the plan for a hand grenade range in Anderson (‘Andy’) South.   

Concerns were also presented by four individuals with ties to ancestral land in Ritidian and Urunao in northern Guam:  Catherine Flores McCollum, Chris Flores Bejado, Pascual Artero and Larry Kasperbauer. 

McCollum and Bejado are heirs to land in Ritidian which was taken by eminent domain by the U.S. federal government in 1963.  The Navy used this area as a high security communications station throughout the Cold War then donated the 1,203 acres to Fish and Wildlife Service in 1993. Guam Delegate at the time, Dr. Robert Underwood, objected to this transfer as a violation of indigenous Chamorro land rights, but to no avail. This land is now part of the 24,000 acre Guam National Wildlife Refuge.

Both McCollum and Bejado talked about the April 5 meeting they and other Ritidian land owners had with Guam Delegate Bordallo and their feelings when they later learned that she had introduced H.R. 4402. “The Guam Military Training and Readiness Act of 2014” the day before this meeting.  This legislation would authorize the Navy secretary to establish a Surface Danger Zone over the Guam National Wildlife Refuge when the LFTRC is in use.    

Following the statements by McCollum and Bejado, Senator Vicente ‘Ben’ Pangelinan expressed concern that Guam lawmakers were not informed of HR 4402 that would circumvent the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and restrict public access to Ritidian.  He is seeking an extension of the comment period on H.R 4402.  The Congressional hearing on HR 4402 was April 29 and the comment period ends May 13.  

Pascual Artero, a US veteran, is a representative of the Artero family who owns land in Urunao which they have been trying to get back from the military since World War II. Part of this land has been landlocked by AAFB for over 60 years.  Urunao includes several large cliffs and was used during World War II to dispose of debris from construction of Northwest Field and North Field.  Artero shared his concerns about environmental and other impacts of the proposed LFTRC, citing what happened in the islands of Kaho’olawe in Hawaii and in Vieques, Puerto Rico, which were used for similar purposes until local resistance efforts brought these practices to a halt. 

Captain Phillip Old, Director, Joint Guam Program Office (JGPO), responded briefly to concerns raised regarding Route 3A access to the Guam National Wildlife Refuge and private properties in nearby Urunao.   

Dr. Larry Kasperbauer is married to Carmen Artero Kasperbauer, a former Guam senator whose family owns land in the Urunao area near Ritidian. Dr. Kasperbauer, a University of Guam professor emeritus and former vice-speaker of the Guam Legislature, talks about the impacts of increased military and related activity, especially air and ground traffic, on the quality of life for those who live along Route 3 -- from Marine Drive to Potts Junction --- as well as concerns regarding Route 3A access to Urunao properties. He supported the earlier suggestion offered by Bejado that the golf course on AAFB be evaluated as an alternative for the LFTRC and reiterated the recommendation he made at a 2010 DEIS public meeting that Tarague Beach, a major recreation area on AAFB,  also be considered as a potential site. 

The LFTRC controversy heated up as an online petition campaign was launched this week opposing H.R. 4402. [see http://www.change.org/petitions/representative-madeleine-z-bordallo...]  Also, Speaker Judith Won Pat formally asked Delegate Bordallo to withdraw HR 4402 claiming it undermines the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and the power of the public comment period in which the community is currently engaged. Today, it was reported in the media that Bordallo has cancelled her plan to offer H.R. 4402 as an amendment to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. 

The US Navy will hold a series of open house/public hearings on Guam on the Draft SEIS.  These meetings are scheduled for May 17 at Okkodo High School in Dededo, May 19 at the Father Duenas Phoenix Center in Mangilao, and May 20 at the old McCool School in Santa Rita. For more information, go to http://guambuildupeis.us .

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May 6, 2014 @ 1:30 pm

Ep. 183, “US and the Philippines: How Strategic is the Partnership?”

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Marlon Molinos) was recorded 4/28, 4/30/14 and airs 5/2/14.   

 

President Obama concluded his seven day Asia tour (April 23-29) with a two day visit to the Philippines after brief visits to Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia.  The goals for this tour were ambitious: to reassure allies the United States remains committed to a "pivot to Asia," secure new deals to expand trade, and send a message to China that the United States has its allies' backs in territorial disputes.

However, his visit to the Philippines has galvanized growing opposition to the US-Philippine Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).  Hyped as a major advance in the strategic partnership between the US and the Philippines that was to  highlight the meeting of President Obama and Philippines President Benigno Aquino, this Agreement was instead signed in secrecy by the U.S. Philippines Ambassador and the Philippine Defense Secretary before Obama’s arrival and not released by the Philippine Government until after Obama’s departure.  

The US military bases were dismantled in 1992 after the Philippine Senate passed the 1991 resolution ending leases for the US military bases.  However, since then, the US has maneuvered to circumvent the ban and obtain the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in 1998 to cover the annual joint military exercises. The VFA allows the rotational presence of US military forces and their operations anywhere in the Philippines for any length of time to train and inter-operate with the Philippine armed forces. 

EDCA is now widely considered far worse than the VFA as it allows not only unlimited increase in the rotational presence of US military forces but also the building of US military bases and stations in areas of the Philippine armed forces, thus reducing Filipino troops to mere perimeter guards at the Philippines' expense. 

Program guest in the first segment is activist/musician Renato ‘Nato’ Reyes, Jr. (nato.reyes@gmail.com) Secretary-General of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan - New Patriotic Alliance (Bayan) [www.bayan.ph.] Bayan is a multi-sectoral formation struggling for national and social liberation against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism that has its roots in the struggle against the US-Marcos dictatorship. Bayan was also involved in the ouster of the US military bases in the Philippines in 1991 and in the ongoing struggle against the VFA. In solidarity with other Philippine and international organizations, it has issued statements denouncing the EDCA as a violation of Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity and calling for mass protests against Obama and the Aquino regime.  

Nato has been an activist since he was 16 and became a student at the University of the Philippines. He became the national Secretary-General of the League of Filipino Students and founding chair of the nationwide youth group Anakbayan.  He became part of Bayan in 2001and became its Secretary-General by 2004. This interview was conducted via Skype on April 28, a few hours before Obama’s arrival in Manila.  

First music selection is “VFA Blues” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xzZ9H2gcDU performed by Nato Reyes (on the guitar) and friends at a benefit gig for political detainee Ericson Acosta (now released). This protest song (in Tagalog/English mix) was written in 1999 by the cultural group Alay Sinig  which Nato helped to co-found. It is a critique of the US-RP VFA and its accompanying injustices. 

In the second segment, my guest is Rey Claro Casambre (rey.casambre@gmail.com), Chairperson, International League of Peoples Struggles Philippine Chapter [www.ilps.info] and Executive Director of the Philippine Peace Center.  The ILPS, founded in 2001, is an anti-imperialist and democratic formation. Mr. Casambre has an academic background in physics, over four decades of experience as a peace and justice activist, and is a former political detainee.  This interview was conducted via Skype on April 30, the morning after Obama’s departure from the Philippines.  

This episode concludes with the popular kundiman, or folk song, Bayan Ko (My Country) by Constancio de Guzman, with lyrics penned by National Artist Jose Corazon de Jesus. Written in 1928 as a protest against American occupation, Bayan Ko has been used time and time again whenever the country finds the need to defend herself from oppressors – foreign or otherwise. The song was also used against the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, who immediately banned it when he declared martial law in 1972.  One risked incarceration simply by singing it.  It was not widely heard again until after the assassination of the revolutionary Benigno Aquino, Jr. in 1986.  This rendition is by contemporary folksinger Freddie Aguilar.

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April 28, 2014 @ 4:34 pm

Ep. 182, “Decolonizing the Marianas”

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Marlon Molinos) was recorded 4/3/14 and airs 4/25/14.  

 

On April 3-4, 2014 the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) in coordination with Payu-ta, Inc. (a regional umbrella organization of non-governmental organizations) co-hosted a Community Discussion and Island Tour and Regional Conference. Participants included officials from across a dozen federal agencies, leaders from national organizations and foundations, and local leaders.  This is the first time that WHIAAPI has convened a regional conference outside the continental United States affording an unprecedented opportunity for dialogue on island regarding U.S. federal-territorial issues. The regional summit built off momentum from the Micronesian Non Profit Congress, which convened from March 31 to April 2 with representatives focused on addressing environmental and social injustices.

The island tour for federal officials included meetings in various locations to discuss issues such as social services, homelessness and veterans, health disparities, workforce development and economic development, and self-determination and migration.  This episode provides coverage of the April 3 session on “Decolonizing the Marianas” held at the University of Guam featuring presentations by the Honorable Robert A. Underwood and the Honorable Felicidad T. Ogumoro. 

Dr.  Underwood, a Democrat, served five terms as Guam’s Congressional Delegate and is now President of the University of Guam. He discusses decolonization through the lens of his experience as an advocate of Chamorro self-determination (with reference to his role as co-organizer of the OPIR (Organization of People for Indigenous Rights), as an educator and historian, and as a member of Congress.   

Representative Ogumoro, a Republican, is a sitting member of the Northern Marianas Commonwealth Legislature. She provides an overview of CNMI political history and the intent of Bill 18-112, which she authored, creating a Second Marianas Political Status Commission that would examine whether the CNMI people still desire “continuing in a political union” with the United States under the Covenant.  This bill was sent to Governor Eloy S. Inos for action April 1 just days after the CNMI marked the 38th year since it became part of America.  Action on this bill is still pending.    

A brief question and answer segment, moderated by Dr. Lisa Linda Natividad, follows these two presentations.  This includes comment from Mr. Edward Alvarez, executive director of the Guam Commission on Decolonization.  These presentations and discussion were edited to fit the format of this program.  The podcast for this episode will include an introduction of the topic by Dr. Lisa Linda Natividad which is not included in today’s broadcast. 

Our poetry selection is an original piece written and performed by Arielle Taitano Lowe, a Chamaole writer, born and raised on Guam.  She is currently a student at the University of Guam majoring in Chamoru Studies and English Literature, with a minor in Sociology.  Her spoken word poem “Trongkon Nunu” was written for the annual competition of the Sinangan-ta Youth Movement (Guam’s Official Spoken Word Arts Organization), and placed Arielle as the 3rd top youth poet on the island.  The poem speaks to her love of the Chamorro language and desire to use her voice in the movement for decolonization

Please forward this announcement to your respective networks and encourage listeners to submit their comments on line.  Suggestions for future topics and guests or requests to be removed or added to this list may be sent to btf.kprg@gmail.com.  

Thank you for listening to and supporting public radio for the Marianas --- and for promoting Beyond the Fence, locally and abroad.

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