Joint Task Force meeting with National COVID-19 Task Force – On April 20, 2020, members of the Pohnpei State COVID-19 Task Force met with the National COVID-Task Force at the DECEM conference room in Palikir. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss FSM Congressional resolution 21-38 and how Pohnpei State can support this resolution. The resolution extends President Panuelo’s Public Health Emergency Declaration and introduces new measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in FSM. Among the issues discussed were social distancing, returning Micare referral residents, fishing vessels, cargo ships, and interstate travel. The State Task Force presented their concerns around these issues, with accompanying solutions to ensure harmony with the Congressional resolution and the National Task Force.
National Task Force Chairman and Secretary of Health and Social Affairs, Dr. Livinson Taulung thanked the Pohnpei State Task Force for bringing their concerns up and started the meeting by saying “we’ll do the listening”. He reassured the Pohnpei State Task Force that the National Government is committed to working with the states for the good of all our people.
Representing the State National Task Force was Task Force Chair, Dr. Marcelle Gallen, Governor’s Chief of Staff, Mrs. Suzanne L. Gallen, Environmental Protection Agency Executive Director, Mr. Henry Susaia, Pohnpei Port Authority (PPA) Seaport Manager, Mr. Baron Mendiola, and Human Resource Manager, Mr. Zorro Donre, Department of Health and Social Services Director, Mr. Wincener David, Task Force Medical Adviser, Dr. Rodney Itaki and Dr. Padwick Gallen.
Joint Leadership meeting with 10th Pohnpei State Legislature – On April 21, Senators from the 10th Pohnpei State Legislature (PSL) met with Governor Oliver, his cabinet, and the Pohnpei COVID-19 Task Force at the Governor’s conference room. The purpose of the meeting was to update the 10th PSL on Pohnpei’s COVID-19 response efforts, answer any questions the Senators may have on our efforts and to seek Legislature’s continued support. The Task Force and Governor Oliver provided the Senators an overview of all the actions taken since Constitutional Emergency Order 20-01 was signed on March 11, 2020, placing Pohnpei in a state of emergency and each amendment made. The third and latest amendment was discussed in detail. Governor Oliver explained that due to a shark bite injury in Oroluk and because Pohnpeian Observers on ships were in danger of being returned to COVID19 infected countries, the third amendment was signed to address these unique situations. Governor Oliver wanted the Senators to understand that as we hold the line for Pohnpei with precautionary measures, we are buying time until the global situation calms or a vaccine is developed. While we buy time, we will strengthen our infrastructure and build our capacity with the legislature’s continued support. The State Task Force members also shared the concerns presented the previous day at the Joint Task Force meeting in Palikir. Everyone agreed that the state, national, and municipal governments must continue to coordinate and align their efforts to protect our people.
IT (Information Technology) Steering Committee meeting: On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, IT specialists from the State and National Governments met at the Governor’s conference room the first Pohnpei State IT Steering Committee meeting during the Oliver/Perman administration. The IT experts used this first session to brainstorm ideas on networking, fiber optic cable, emails, and faster internet speeds. The IT Steering Committee will be working with the Governor’s Chief of Staff and Budget Consultant, Mr. Kelly Keller, to draft and implement a state IT policy that will ensure uniformity. Chairing the committee is Mr. Kanoberson Asher, IT Manager for Pohnpei Community Health Clinic (Kolonia Dispensary).
Zoom Teleconference with President Panuelo and State Governors: On Wednesday, April 22, Lieutenant Governor Perman participated in a zoom teleconference with President Panuelo, and the Governors of Yap, Chuuk, and Kosrae. The leaders discussed Congressional resolution 21-138, the President’s recent extension of the national Public Health Emergency and social distancing. Pohnpei State will submit per the President’s request health advisories, precautions and plans in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in their respective state. The zoom conference was a great opportunity to share information and harmonize with the national and state governments.
Pohnpei Consumer Organization (PCO) meeting with Governor: On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, Governor Oliver met with Mr. Henry Phillip from the Pohnpei Consumer’s Organization (PCO). Phillip is the President of the organization and wanted to share his concerns about persons with disabilities during the COVID19 crisis. Mr. Phillip noted that persons with disabilities are at higher risk of contracting COVID19 due to barriers accessing information, reliance on physical contact, and respiratory conditions caused by certain impairments.
The Pohnpei Consumer Organization protects and promotes the human, civil and legal rights of individuals with disabilities through the provision of information and advocacy. The Pohnpei Consumer Organization supports people and Disabled People’s Organizations through all four sister States of Micronesia (Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk, and Yap).