Pohnpei, FSM-President Mori gave his inaugural address on July 29, 2011, a sweltering day in Pohnpei. Most of the guests were on the floor of the China Friendship gym in Palikir as dignitaries, representatives of the private sector or as family members of the 17th Congress of the FSM, President Emanuel Mori, or Vice President Alik Alik. The crowd in the stands was a bit disappointing.
An unprecedented number of Pacific Island leaders were in attendance as the inauguration followed on the day after the Micronesia Chief Executives Summit, and the Chief Executive Conference concluded.
President Mori's speech delivery has improved since his inauguration four years ago and the audience listened attentively.
The full text of President Mori's speech follows:
I want to begin by thanking God the Almighty for His many blessings and guidance over the past years.
Allow me to pay my respect to the paramount chiefs and traditional leaders of the State of Pohnpei. "Ei chungol sakaratan keipweni oh wahu'.
In the same spirit, I would also like to pay respect to the traditional leaders from the sister States of Yap, Kosrae and Chuuk.
My wife Emma who is unable to be with us today, join me in extending greetings to you my fellow citizens who are here with us and those around the Federation and abroad, including our brave young men and women who are serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Vice President and Mrs. Alik, Speaker and Mrs. Figir, Members of the 17th Congress and their spouses, President Haglelgam, President Falcam, President Urusemal, Speaker Henry and Speaker Christian, Governor Ehsa, Governor Anefal, Governor Jackson, and Acting Governor Elimo; Special Envoy Kikuta of Japan and Special Envoy Wang of the Peorple's Republic of China, Dean and members of the Diplomatic Corps and Foreign Dignitaries, state, national and municipal leaders, members of the clergy, representatives of civil society and the private sector, members of my family, friends, ladies and gentlemen.
I am pleased to extend a special welcome to our Micronesian brothers: President Toribiong of the Republic of Palau; President Zedkaia of the Republic of the Marshall Islands; Governor and Mrs. Fitial of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, and Governor Calvo of Guam.
I also welcome the Honorable Speaker Judith Won-Pat, Senator Respicio, and Senator Barnes of the Guam Legislature.
And I would also like to welcome Senator English and Senator Hee of the Hawaii State Legislature.
My fellow citizens,
I stand here once again, as I did four years ago, with profound gratitude for the opportunity you have accorded me to lead our Nation; I am humbled by the trust you have placed in me once again. With renewed dedication and commitment, I accept this call of duty to serve as your President for the next four years.
Vice President Alik and I want to thank the members of the 17th Congress for their vote of Confidence which accorded us a second term in office. And equally important for me is the support of my family and constituents in my Home State of Chuuk. Kinisou ngeni kemi ami mut ngeni kich ei oruwen fansoun ach sipwe sopeieno ach angang fen itemi, fen iten fonuwach me fen iten ach ei muunap. Kinisou ngeni Kot pwan kinisou ngeni kemi meinisin.
This year marks the nation's 32nd year of Constitutional Government. It also marks the 25th anniversary of the termination of the United Nations Trusteeship, and the 25th anniversary of the Compact of Free Association with the United States America. On this special occasion, we must remember and be grateful to our Founding Fathers whose determination and love of country continue to be our source of inspiration.
My fellow citizens,
Reflecting back, we recall the pursuit of self government more than forty years ago as a defining moment in our journey for independence. The march for independence was led by the sheer determination of our Founding Fathers, who chose to forge a common destiny for our people. Like any people aspiring to take their rightful place among the community of nations, we were faced with the difficult task of nation-building.
In those days, basic necessities such as schools and hospitals were anything but available; transportation by air to the outside world or even by sea to the outlying islands was anything but conceivable. Opportunities for our citizens to pursue a better education at home and abroad were anything but accessible. Subsistence agriculture and fisheries were predominantly the primary economic activities of most of our citizens.
The challenge then of our young nation was to safeguard the rights of its people to be economically self-reliant and politically free, so that our citizens can be proud guardians of these islands.
My fellow citizens,
We were once isolated, remote, and untouched; today, we stand at another defining moment in our history with new challenges; thus, in order for our Nation and our people to compete in an ever globalized world we must demand and be part of an accelerated change.
When we took Office four years ago, Vice President Alik and I laid out our vision of a socio-economic development plan, based on the pragmatic principle of balancing hopes and dreams against the realities and limitations of our resources. This would require improving the infrastructure and putting in place an environment conducive to growing our economy and improving the delivery of our social services, while conserving our environment for long-term sustainable use.
In setting the stage, the immediate challenge is to put in place the necessary infrastructure. The accelerated implementation of the Compact Infrastructures is progressing well. More than $130 million has been allocated for schools, hospitals, water, sewer, drainage, road, power, and solid waste systems. As these projects are completed, the challenge remains for the State governments to assume full responsibility for their operation and maintenance.
Looking ahead, we must accelerate the implementation of our infrastructure development program in order to maintain the momentum of the modest economic growth achieved in 2009 and 2010. Timely and efficient expenditure of the infrastructure funds provide a vital boost to our economy that translates into more jobs and additional incomes for our citizens.
But we must also recognize that job creation and income generation from these infrastructure projects are temporary. The challenge is to foster sustainable sources of income for our citizens in the long run.
For the past years, we have been slowly transitioning from a subsistence to a cash economy. While we have increased consumption, we have yet to realize returns on our investments in any of our priority sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, and tourism. In the absence of such productive sectors, we will remain dependent on cash transfers from outside to support essential public services and to develop a strong private sector.
In February of this year, we held the National Economic Symposium in the State of Chuuk, during which we identified key constraints to economic growth. We developed strategies to overcome these economic obstacles in line with our Strategic Development Plan.
Our short-term objective, therefore, is to maintain our recovery from the global financial crisis of 2008 while the long-term goal is to sustain economic growth. Today, I call on the leadership to come together to pursue this as our common goal, keeping in mind that the role of the National Government, in this endeavor, is to facilitate and coordinate socioeconomic activities of the states' governments.
My Administration has initiated and supported the formation of a National Association of Chamber of Commerce in order to encourage the participation of the private sector in formulating economic policy of this Nation.
In this regard, foreign investors must fully participate in our economic development, in order for us to succeed. Let this be our challenge that we must reform our laws and regulations needed to attract foreign investment. Let us be realistic, we cannot have a sustained growth in our economy without the participation of foreign investors. I appeal to all the State Governments to foster an open-door policy towards foreign investment.
When we assumed office four years ago, we saw the critical need for the governments to increase domestic revenues for their operations. For this reason we called for accelerated action on a unified tax regime. I thank Vice President Alik, as Chairman, and members of the Committee on Tax Reform for successfully leading this initiative. I also thank our Congress for passing the enabling legislation for the Unified Revenue Authority. And urge passage of the remaining and concurrent legislations by Congress and legislatures before the end of the year.
Furthermore, I support the efforts undertaken by the Micronesian Registration Advisors, Incorporated, to diversify our revenue sources through a Captive Insurance Regime and a Corporate Registry program.
We have made great strides in solidifying our political independence over the past 32 years; however, we will not be true masters of our own destiny until our economy is developed and sustained. I therefore challenge each and every one of us, to take it as our personal responsibility, to do what we can for our country.
My fellow citizens,
For some of us, this might mean cultivating more lands to grow more produce for home consumption and for sale. For others, it may mean pursuing higher education so that they can become doctors, lawyers, engineers and economists to serve our country.
Achieving our long-term economic goals is difficult, as clearing farmland is hard; studying for exams is hard; starting a new business is hard and risky. Nevertheless, we chose the difficult road because we wanted to make the decisions ourselves that will affect our lives.
Reform in Government Efficiency
Immediately upon taking office, we put in place the necessary structure by creating needed agencies and eliminating redundant and inefficient ones. And with the support of
Congress, we were able to launch the reforms which we intend to continue until we achieve a higher level of efficiency.
I want to thank the former governors of Chuuk and Kosrae, together with their respective legislatures for having taken bold and decisive steps in their own fiscal reforms. I also commend the State of Pohnpei and the State of Yap for maintaining fiscal discipline. The challenge in the days ahead for all our governments is to continue the necessary reforms.
National Fuel Corporation & Energy
My fellow citizens,
The rising cost of fuel had crippled our economy for the past years. For this reason, my administration had accelerated the establishment of the FSM Petroleum Corporation. The primary objective of creating the corporation was to economize and stabilize fuel costs within our nation. But despite our best efforts, the challenge of rising fuel costs will continue to confront us in the years to come. We must, therefore, invest more in clean and renewable energy.
To this end, we will seek additional funding for solar energy targeting public facilities such as schools and dispensaries. We will continue to work for other clean energy generation, such as hydropower for the State of Pohnpei and wind and solar energy for all the four States.
In order to improve public services and facilitate private sector growth, my Administration also assigned priority to telecommunications improvement and expansion, thus the completion of the marine fiber optic cables, connecting Pohnpei to the world. This has brought about real time communication, high speed and large-volume data transmission, on par with international standards. I commend FSM Telecommunications Corporation for this important accomplishment. We will intensify the ongoing effort to bring fi ber optic cable connectivity to all the states.
Any scale of development will always require an educated workforce. For this reason, education must always remain the long-term solution to sustained economic development. Education, is the gateway to the wider world, the new global society in which we and other peoples find ourselves today.
Our Education system is constantly being improved as schools are renovated, teachers receive certification, and new curriculum materials are introduced. This is a start, BUT IT IS NOT ENOUGH!! Our educational goals will not be met by simply increasing our numbers-of students graduating from high school, or of teachers receiving certification.
The aim of our education system is nothing less than to prepare our young people to learn all they can so that they can take their place in an increasingly competitive world. In the end, what counts is the quality of education we provide for our young people.
I call on all government leaders, parents, teachers and school administrators, civic, church and community leaders to work together toward achieving this monumental challenge of providing quality education to our young men and women upon whom the future of this nation depends.
We must also improve our vocational education; agriculture and trade skills should be taught in high schools and the College of Micronesia. The agriculture program with the College of Micronesia should be enhanced to attract more student enrollment.
At this juncture, I would like to thank the Government of Guam and the Center for Micronesian Empowerment for according FSM citizens the required skills needed to participate in the US military build-up in Guam, and for our own nation-building.
We will continue to pursue the agenda we set forth with the College of Micronesia, to diversify and accelerate its programs to meet the demands of nation-building. We applaud the innovative approach in collaborating with the University of Guam on a four-year degree program and the post-graduate program with the San Diego State University.
At the same time we should encourage our more capable young people to enroll in colleges abroad and acquire the education they need to become professionals and to provide the future leadership that our nation depends upon. In this regard, I would like to recognize the educational opportunities that the University of Guam and University of Hawaii have provided our citizens since the 1950s. My daughter Janelle and I are proud to be UOG alumnae.
The health of our nation is our wealth. Therefore, we must create opportunities for our people to stay healthy. The saying and I quote, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", end of quote, echoes my Administration's challenge to the people: as individuals, you can improve your health, the health of your family, and the health of our nation by "Going Local" with your diet. We must reduce consumption of imported food, especially food high in salt, fat and sugar that has increased the rate of diabetes, heart and other diseases by EATING MORE LOCAL FOOD.
It is alarming that 70% of all deaths in the FSM are attributed to life-style diseases, which can actually be prevented. We are spending more of our meager resources treating such diseases, and referring patients overseas, instead of improving our local health facilities to benefit everyone. I have, therefore, directed the Department of Health and Social Affairs, to collaborate with the State governments and the Health Insurance Plans to address this critical issue.
FSM has joined other Pacific Island countries in declaring these life-style diseases a crisis in the Pacific.
My fellow citizens,
As a Nation with vastly scattered islands, transportation will continue to be a challenge. Renovations and expansions of airport terminals have been completed, and extension of the Pohnpei runway will soon be completed. We thank the Government of the United States and the Government of Japan for providing the necessary funding for these projects.
In addition, my Administration is exploring the expansion of airlines and shipping services throughout the outer islands. As such, serious consideration should be given to improving services through privatization of inter-island shipping and air-transport services.
Four years ago this month, I reaffirmed our marching order as enshrined in the Preamble of our Constitution in respect to our foreign policy and our conduct of diplomacy. Clearly stated, "...we extend to all nations what we seek from each - peace, friendship, cooperation, and love for our common humanity".
Our partnership agreement with the United States through the Compact of Free Association will continue to command our attention at all levels of government.
I want to thank Australia, the Peoples' Republic of China and Japan. I also want to thank the Asian Development Bank, the European Union, the United Nations agencies and other international and regional agencies, for their assistance and support.
Our own needs and unique circumstances should determine and drive overseas development assistance, while we harmonize the use of every penny we receive from outside.
My fellow citizens,
To say that climate change is a serious threat to our nation is an understatement. Global warming is bleaching corals, threatening costal fisheries, causing land erosions, and adversely impacting food and water supplies. Science predicts that global sea level would rise by approximately three feet by 2100. This means our coastal areas and our atoll islands may disappear along with our culture, history, and inheritance.
It is imperative for us, therefore, to remain engaged in the international climate change negotiations. We have taken initiatives in calling for fast actions to address greenhouse gas emissions. Such initiatives under the Montreal and the Kyoto Protocols are attempts to delay global warming for decades to allow new technologies to come on stream. On this occasion, I reiterate our call on developed countries and all high emitters to commit to ambitious cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions. I want to thank Ambassador Nakayama and our national negotiation team for their commendable efforts in these negotiations.
To you my fellow brothers from around the Micronesian Region, I pledge to work closely with you in areas of mutual interest including climate change, fisheries, environment, air transport, trade and migration of FSM citizens into your jurisdictions. In this respect, I reiterate my heartfelt gratitude to Guam, CNMI, the State of Hawaii, as well as other States in the United States mainland for hosting our FSM citizens.
My fellow citizens,
I have high hopes for the future of this Federation, one in which our unity is paramount. As we look across these beautiful islands of ours, we recall with pride the long years we have traveled, the obstacles we have overcome, and the barriers we have removed on the difficult road to nationhood. Let us recommit ourselves to the principles and ideals of our Founding Fathers, upon which our Nation was founded.
It is encouraging when we look across the Nation, and we see ordinary citizens making a difference in the lives of our people; like the SHIP/HOOPS Society and Outreach Program in Chuuk that provides awakening opportunities to the youth. We look to the Island Food Community of Pohnpei that advocates the consumption of healthy local food. We note the effort of the landowners in Kosrae who decided to sacrifice portions of their land so that the Yela Forest can be preserved.
And we also witness the dedicated efforts of the Okaw and Kadai communities in Yap, setting aside areas for marine conservation to ensure sustainable use of marine resources.
These are ordinary citizens making extraordinary contributions. It's the Micronesian spirit that can connect islands, bridge cultural differences, defy odds, and bring our hopes and aspirations to reality.
My fellow citizens,
One of the most significant occurrences taking place in our Nation today is the migration of our citizens and the increased participation of our brave young men and women in the United States Armed Forces.
And to our citizens who are living abroad, thank you for your contributions to our overall development, through your remittances, which have helped improve family dwellings, starting up small businesses, paying for education, medications, food and many more. I am grateful and proud that you are still holding that special bond that binds you as a Micronesian to your loved ones and to your island communities.
I urge you to be good citizens, by paying your fair share of taxes to your communities, and to lead productive and exemplary lives, and be goodwill ambassadors for our beloved country.
To the parents of our brave young men and women in the United States Armed Forces, I want to thank you for yours and your sons' and daughters' personal sacrifices for world peace, some of whom have paid the ultimate price.
And finally a friendly word to us, the leaders, Our aspirations in moving this country forward must be led by us as true public servants. We must lead therefore by good example. We must spare no efforts in carrying out our duties as there can be no nobler deed than to respond to the call of duty, to honorably serve our nation.
Our challenge as leaders is to always do what is right, irrespective of the consequences to our own political careers. Let us resolve to always perform to the best of our abilities. And above all, we must always lead with a greater sense of moral duty and ethical conduct.
Just as we find unity among ourselves despite our differences, we also find strength among ourselves despite our shortcomings. With the support of one another, we can continue to safeguard the trust and confidence of our people. Let us rededicate ourselves to the greater cause for the success and prosperity of our Nation.
This is our challenge! This is our pledge! This is our moment!
God bless us all and God bless the Federated States of Micronesia.
Kulo, Kalahngan, Kammagar, Kinisou chapur, and Thank you.