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June 28, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

Ep. 151 “Guam Filipinos in Support of Chamorro Self-Determination”

Ep. 151 “Guam Filipinos in Support of Chamorro Self-Determination:  The Twenty-Something Halo-Halo Generation

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Joy White) was recorded 6/11/12 and airs 6/14/13.

In commemoration of Philippine Independence Day (June 12), this episode features an interview with two Guam born Filipinos, representing the twenty-something generation,  who do not qualify to register for the Guam Decolonization Registry yet support the inalienable right of Chamorros, as a people, to political self-determination. The Guam  Decolonization Registry, established by P.L. 25-106,  defines ‘native inhabitants’ as those who became U.S. citizens by virtue of the 1950 Organic Act of Guam and their descendants.   Both program guests are US citizens by virtue of being born on Guam after the island became a US unincorporated territory in 1950.

Araw ng Kasarinlan (“Day of Freedom”) commemorates the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain in 1898. However, Philippine independence was not recognized either by the United States or by Spain. The Spanish government later ceded the Philippine archipelago, together with Guam, to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris. But the Philippine Revolutionary Government did not recognize the treaty.  When the Americans sought to execute the terms of the treaty, a three year conflict, now called the Philippine-American War, ensued. The US finally granted independence to the Philippines on July 4 1946.  In 1962, President Macapagal declared June 12 as a national holiday , “in commemoration of our people’s declaration of their inherent and inalienable right to freedom and independence.”  This national “Day of Freedom” is also celebrated on Guam with events throughout the month, providing occasions for local Filipinos to take pride in this history and to reflect on their role in relation to the decolonization and self-determination struggle of the Chamorro people.

Program guests are two University of Guam graduates and third generation Guam Filipinos in their 20s:

Tabitha Caser Espina (tabithaespina@gmail.com), a former Miss Teen Philippines-Guam,   graduated as the University of Guam Fall 2011 valedictorian with a B.A. Elementary Education. She is now pursuing a Master of Arts in English and writing a thesis on Filipina identity on Guam.  In her work, Ms. Espina uses the names for Filipino sweets (ube, sapin-sapin and halo-halo) as metaphors for conceptualizing identity formation across three generations of Filipinas on Guam.

John “Metaforce” Sarmiento (jmetaforce@gmail.com), has a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and is a local performance poet and hip-hop artist who believes spoken word and music can be tools to “educate and uplift the masses”. He has been sharing his work in the local community since 2009.

Music/poetry selections: Lupang Hinirang (Philippines National Anthem);  Tabitha Espina (recorded in 1993 at age 5),  Island Girl by Alpha C. Espina, CD produced by Trax Studios, 1995; Blind Tongue, poem composed and performed in studio by John “Metaforce” Sarmiento; and Down with the Movement by Meta-Dakota-Willa [for this and other samples of Meta’s work, go to: www.arkiology.tv or www.youtube.com/defynow]

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June 21, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

Ep. 150 “A Renewal of Faith: The 2013 Congressional Address”

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Joy White) was recorded 5/30/13 and airs 6/7/13.

The first segment of this episode features excerpts from the 2013 State of Congress Address “A Renewal of Faith” presented by Congresswoman Madeleine ZBordallo on May 30, 2013 at the Speaker Antonio R. Unpingco Legislative Session Hall in Hagatna.  Congresswoman Bordallo, a Democrat, is serving her sixth term.  She will continue to serve on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources. She was re-appointed the Ranking Democrat of the Subcommittee on Readiness in the House Armed Services Committee for the 113th Congress, and is also a member of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel. In the House Committee on Natural Resources, Ms. Bordallo sits on the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs as well as the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation.

These excerpts focus on Guam’s political status and the ongoing project of decolonization, the military buildup and US defense strategy, veterans and the renewal of the fight for war claims. [For the complete text, go to:http://bordallo.house.gov/congressional-address-2013]

In the second segment, commentary on the Congressional Address in provided by (in order of presentation): Mr. Mark Calvo, Special Assistant to the Governor and Guam Buildup Office Director,  Mr. Frank F. Blas, Jr., Minority Leader of the 31st Guam Legislature who created the Guam War Survivor Story Website [http://guamwarsurvivorstory.com/]and attempted to unseat Congresswoman Bordallo in the 2012 election; Senator Frank B. Aguon, Jr. Chair of the Committee on the Guam US Military  Relocation, Homeland Security, Veteran’s Affairs, and Judiciary; Mr. Victor Rodgers, Co-Host for the K-57 radio program Vet Talk;  Mr. Ed Alvarez,  Executive Director, Commission on Decolonization; and WeAreGuahan.

[Additional Note: A public hearing on Resolution No. 127 relative to amending the US Radiation and Exposure CompensationAct (RECA) was  held at the Guam Legislature  Public Hearing Room on  June 7, at 5:30 p.m. This resolution requests the U.S. Congress to pass two bills that are currently up for consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives (introduced  by Congressman Ben Lujan (D-New Mexico) and the U.S. Senate (introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-Idaho) to extend the eligibility for compensation to include the people of Guam. Congresswoman Bordallo introduced a bill to this effect in the 109th Congress, which failed,  then joined eight co-sponsors to re-introduce such an amendment in the 112th Congress, which also failed.  She made no mention of this unresolved reparative justice issue for Guam in her 2013 Congressional Address.]

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June 1, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

Ep. 149 “Agent Orange in Guam, Part 1: Sprayed and Betrayed”

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Joy White) was recorded via Skype 11/17/12 and airs 5/31/13.

Since the 2006 announcement of the planned relocation of US marines from Okinawa to Guam, we have learned much about the commonalities between these two heavily militarized island communities with extended colonial histories.  Another commonality is the use in Guam and Okinawa of Agent Orange (AO) herbicides reported by US veterans and others which the US Department of Defense denies, despite mounting evidence. Since the release in 1994 of the first comprehensive report on Veterans and Agent Orange by the Institute of Medicine, an informal network has emerged seeking recognition and compensation for these veterans and their dependents.

Program guests are retired disabled US Air Force veterans MSgt. Leroy G. Foster (RetAirForceMan@aol.com) and Sgt. Ralph A. Stanton (rstanton@stjoelive.com) who are key figures in the struggle to uncover the extent of damage done to veterans, their dependents, and civil service employees stationed at Anderson Air Force Base-Guam during the Vietnam War period, as well local civilians affected by the legacy of this toxic contamination. [For more information about this network, go tohttp://www.guamagentorange.info]

For ten years, from 1969-78, Leroy Foster handled, mixed by hand, and sprayed Agent Orange herbicides on Guam. He sprayed often along the Air Force fuel pipelines and Marbo Barracks Complex and fuel tank farms at Tumon, Potts Junction, AAFB Andy I and II fuel tank farms and flight line areas, along with hydrant pump houses and perimeter/security fencing. He now lives in Westfield, New York and suffers a litany of AO related autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. He is convinced that the chronic health problems of his daughter and the multiple birth defects of his granddaughter are also related to his AO exposure.

Foster’s struggle with the Department of Veteran Affairs began in December 1987 and continues to this day. Although hundreds of veterans are claiming compensation for AO exposure on Guam, Foster is one of the few whose claim for direct exposure (but with no mention of Guam) has been approved. This weekend he is going to Washington DC to attend his Board of Veterans Affairs appeal hearing. He seeks to have Guam specifically indicated on his decision as the site of exposure to document the truth of what happened and to help other claimants and the people of Guam.  He anticipates this may be the last time he will be going to the nation’s capitol to challenge the “Delay and deny until they die” stance of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  He says, “The next time I go will be in a coffin to Arlington Cemetery.”

Ralph Stanton was stationed at AAFB in 1969-70. He performed maintenance and repairs daily on fuel storage and delivery systems which were sprayed often with herbicides. He now lives in Savannah, Missouri, and also suffers several debilitating AO related diseases but was denied his claim for direct exposure to Agent Orange. The official reasons for this denial are that “data from the Department of Defense does not show any use, testing or storage of tactical herbicides, including Agent Orange, at any location on Guam,” and that “The Joint Services Records Research Center does not document the spraying, testing or storage of Agent Orange Anderson Air Force Base, Guam”.  Stanton appealed this decision on 10/9/11. A hearing was held 15 months later on 3/5/13 which Sgt. Foster attended and provided testimony.  A decision on Sgt. Stanton’s appeal is still pending.

The testimonies of Leroy Foster and Ralph Stanton parallel what has happened in Okinawa where dozens of former service members and local civilians have spoken out about the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and its toxic legacy. While the U.S. government has approved several individual claims, it continues to deny that Agent Orange was ever kept, buried or used on Okinawa. As a result, hundreds of sick American veterans have been refused medical assistance and the Japanese government has been able to reject calls from citizen’s groups for health surveys and environmental testing and mitigation. [see the award winning film documentary entitled “Defoliated Island - Agent Orange, Okinawa and the Vietnam War” by Asia-Pacific Journal affiliate Jon Mitchell.]

Music selection: “Agent Orange Song’ by Country Joe McDonald

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