Independent Guåhan Hosts Teach-In on the impact of the MITT on Guam’s environment and quest for self-determination

As part of their ongoing series of monthly Teach-Ins that provide insight into important issues affecting Guam, Independent Guåhan will be holding its next meeting on August 17 from 6:00 – 7:30 P.M. in UOG HSS 106 to discuss the Mariana Islands Training and Testing study area or MITT.

The Teach-In will discuss the specific threats these actions by DOD will affect our environment and natural resources, but also in general how it will affect issues of indigenous rights and political status change.

The community will have until September 15, 2017 to provide comments on the MITT and this Teach-In is organized to help inform the public on the issue and how to provide comments. It is free and open to the public.


Vice Speaker Terlaje Urges Colleagues to Unite for Peace

Listen to Vice Speaker Terlaje’s motion for senators to stand in solidarity with residents of Guam to promote peace and justice.  See video at 12:40- 14:40.


“Mister Speaker, while we sit in the historic halls of the Guam Legislature discussing the future revenues and expenditures of the Government of Guam, our economy, taxes, and which services the government will provide, I cannot stop thinking that we do this as a territory of the United State under the threat of a nuclear missile attack by a nation that is at odds with the U.S..  These world powers are talking about our children and our families, and our home of 4,000 years.

International media is here to find out how the leaders and people of Guam are reacting to the threat of war.  I have stayed abreast of all the preparation tips from our executive branch: the “stay calm” suggestions, the call for prayers, and the questioning and analysis of how we ended up in this position again. 

Some residents have organized a rally to call for peace.  I believe we as a community should come together, on this occasion where the cameras of international media and the eyes of citizens across the world are on us, regardless of party, regardless of status preference, regardless of our faith or lack of faith in world leaders, to draw attention to the only truly important fact: that it is our children and families that are at risk, and that we want peace in our homeland of 4000 years.

I would make a motion to recess at a certain time, at 4:30 today, in order to allow senators to stand in solidarity with residents of our island to promote peace and justice for Guam.

Si Yu’os Ma’åse’.

Vice Speaker Terlaje Submits Request for Permits and Reports of Military Activities in MIRC and MITT Areas

Vice Speaker Terlaje submitted a request to review permits and reports of military activities in MITT and MIRC permit areas.  Linked here is the response from the Regional Environmental Director of Joint Region Marianas:

Gmail – request for permits and reports of military activities in MIRC and MITT areas

The link below will take you to the Mariana Islands Training and Testing (MITT) Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement / Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS) website.  The MMPA Letter of Authorization, ESA Biological Opinion (NMFS), and Essential Fish Habitat Assessment can be found under the “documents” tab on the MITT-EIS website.

View the NMFS Letter of Authorization and Final Rule:
Notice of Final Rule

Letter of Authorization

A complete compilation of all Navy annual reports sent to NMFS can be found at this site, under the reporting tab: 

Senator Terlaje urges all residents to participate in the commenting period for the supplemental environmental impact statement for the Marianas Islands Testing and Training Area.

For more information, please email or call 472-3586.


Liberation Day 2017 – Biba Guåhan

Nihi ya ta onra
i animu, minetgot, yan inaguåntan
i manåmko’ yan ayu siha nu i chumachalåni kinahåya yan hostisia.
Let us honor the courage, strength, and resistance of our elders and those who have set the course for
freedom and justice.
Our paths are forever forged in their legacy.
Biba Guam!

A Message to All Graduates

In the past weeks, I have been very moved to read about the World War II survivors who, in their twilight years, have received honorary diplomas because their education was disrupted by the wages of war. I’m moved because this is another chance for us to honor our manamko’, to remember their tireless efforts to be involved in our community, to learn about issues that matter and to teach us along the way…

Recently, I witnessed my oldest daughter graduate from college. This was truly a proud moment for me as a mom and I share in the pride all parents must feel as they commemorate the milestones in their children’s lives.

As we celebrate graduates of all ages, we should be reminded that such highpoints are a testament of our ability to work hard and see the successes of that hard work. A diploma is just the next step in one’s journey, a step toward greater things ahead.  Congratulations Graduates!

I commend you all on your accomplishments and extend my best wishes for a bright future!

BIBA Class of 2017!

Senator Therese M. Terlaje
Vice-Speaker, 34th Guam Legislature



Community Announcement: Shriners’ Outreach Clinic – July 20, & 24-28, 2017

The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) would like to announce that a Medical Team from Shriners Hospitals for Children® from Honolulu, Hawaii will be conducting a Medical Outreach Clinic at the Central Public Health Medical Clinic in Mangilao, July 20, 2017 and July 24-28, 2017.  The Medical Team will be providing free consultative services for children up to age 17 with orthopedic conditions, burns, and spinal cord injuries. Children with diseases and/or injuries involving the bones, joints and muscles, as well as “healed burns,” including loss of any part of the child’s body, should make an appointment at DPHSS for an evaluation.  A referral from a physician is not required.  Patients will be seen by appointment only.  We cannot accept walk in patients.

Parents or legal guardians of new patients are required to complete a Shriners Hospital application and Medical Records form at Medical Social Services (MSS) at Central Public Health, Room 152. Required documents include a copy of the child’s birth certificate, immunization record, and medical insurance card; photo ID of parent or legal guardian, and if applicable, proof of legal guardianship papers.  Returning patients are reminded to provide x-ray films and/or laboratory results, as previously instructed.  Returning patients may call MSS to inquire if an x-ray order has to be picked up.

For an appointment and/or additional information, please contact Cherisse Santiago at 735-7351 or Diana Santos at 735-7356 or

Vice Speaker Terlaje on the Override of Bill 58-34: Session Remarks, June 7, 2017

Buenas, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of the override on Bill 58-34 (COR).

I have been a senator for exactly 5 months today. In these 5 months, the news regarding the procurement protests on the procurement process for Simon Sanchez has appeared in the PDN approximately 10 times. We have had hearings on several new ideas to redo the Simon Sanchez procurement that according to the bills, will save money and save time. The following facts should be highlighted today:

Simon Sanchez has been in the news for unsafe conditions since 2010 – I commend the courageous advocacy of teachers, principals, students and parents for bringing this to public attention. The law authorizing the rebuilding of Simon Sanchez was passed in 2013 authorizing up to $101M for Simon Sanchez and the repair of other schools. This law delegated the Superintendent of DOE, the DPW Director, DLM, GEPA, and GEDA to be the decision making authority as to how the contractor would be selected, the time period that would be demanded of the contractor, the specifications that the new school would contain, and the cost of the new school.

In 2013, the Governor authorized new offices be built for DOE at the cost of $126.3M. $126.3M is more than the $101M reserved for rebuilding Simon Sanchez, planning, repairs and completion to all the schools combined. That office building is completed and is beautiful. I invite all public school teachers to drive past that building, and then to drive further and see Tiyan High School down the street. And then to look at your own schools, be it Southern High, Simon Sanchez, GW, or Tiyan or any of the numerous middle schools that were built in the 70s or 80s or even the 90s. I am a parent, and that simple visual and the millions of dollars involved makes me furious. Yesterday a teacher from Simon Sanchez testified that she had not had textbooks for 14 years. That her classroom size exceeded the authorized limits.

Well, I would like to send a message to every teacher in the public schools on Guam: the current system of waiting, of playing along, of believing that it cannot get better or that it is not up to you, must stop. It IS up to you. The system of leaving decisions that are affecting your classrooms and your students to the administration at GDOE must end. The government has not been able to alter that political balance between the needs of teachers and politics of administration despite years of revolving superintendents, law after law changing the composition of the boards or modifying the authority of the governor over education. Do not any longer be distracted or lulled into abdicating the power you as parents and principals and teachers wield.

In the case of the rebuilding of Simon Sanchez, I have implored the GDOE management to take a stand on the rebuilding of Simon Sanchez by a faster and more cost effective means, but have been told they will not look or comment on any other proposal. They will not take ownership of the current method either, have not yet given full input as to how the new school should function, claiming they do not have sole authority over the matter or the time is not right. This is exactly the response the community received when the million dollars for Tiyan DOE offices were agreed to. No one representing you at GDOE argued that the money should go instead to remedy your classroom safety issues, or go toward books, or go toward teacher salaries.   You teachers and principals must insist that you represent yourselves and insist that your input is heard by your own management team.

And I say to you parents that if the teachers are too overwhelmed to do this for you, then please do it for your children. Tell DOE enough is enough. We are having a budget hearing on GDOE on Friday, at 10 am. Everyone is welcome. I particularly invite all the principals and parents to get copies of the GDOE budgets and ask how much is going to be allocated to remedy what you have seen first hand is wrong with your child’s school. Why were the repairs to Simon Sanchez not begun yet when the citations were in the news since 2010, and the GDOE management estimates 18 more months of construction for the new school? Do not let the only voices in attendance at GDOE meetings or legislative budget hearings represent that new offices for GDOE central staff are the priority above safe schools.

You have rightfully criticized the legislature and governor for salary raises while school conditions remain unsafe. Do not accept that the government of Guam is incompetent at fixing your school or building a new school; that the DOE, DPW and other agencies learned nothing for the building of Adacao, Liguan, Okkodo, and JFK. Help us to overcome the politics involved in this multimillion dollar procurement. Together, we can speed up the completion of the new school, we can save millions and use that instead on books, the repair of other schools, bussing, or in the creation of college scholarships. We can force GDOE to focus on hard decisions and schools first. I support the solution provided in Bill 58 for the timely and cost efficient construction of Simon Sanchez, notwithstanding the governor’s veto. Thank you.



Vice Speaker Terlaje Seeks Just Compensation for Route 4 Families

FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE (June 6, 2017 – Hagåtña) –  Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje (D-Yoña), Chairperson for the Committee on Culture and Justice, is convening an Informational Briefing with the Office of the Attorney General this Thursday in order to determine the status of land condemnation and inverse condemnation cases, to include property taken by the government for Route 4.  Vice Speaker Terlaje is requesting that the Attorney General provide information as to the government’s compliance with Guam laws, which require for the relocation or repayment to landowners for properties taken for public use without compensation.

“For decades, many Guam residents have traveled Route 4 and benefited from the roadway access through the south of the island, but several families had to sacrifice their properties or have had their land occupied, damaged, or devalued for the roadway and bridges to exist. While only a fraction of those families has been able to receive reimbursements through legislative measures, the rest have been forced to take the government to court, or risk forfeiting their lands without just compensation,” the Vice Speaker stated.

Of particular concern, is a law passed in 1994 that gave landowners four (4) years to take action for inverse condemnation, including the taking of property for Route 4, thus diminishing the opportunities for families to pursue what is owed to them.

Expanding on the objective of these mandates, Senator Terlaje says, “We need to reconcile this long-standing conflict between the exercise of local governmental powers for the public benefit and the private property rights of our residents.”

The Informational Briefing with the Department of the Attorney General will take place on Thursday, June 8, 2017, beginning at 2:00 PM in I Liheslaturan Guåhan’s Public Hearing Room (Guam Congress Building, Hagåtña).

For more information, please call the Office of Vice Speaker Therese M. Terlaje at (671) 472-3586.