Updated: May 7
By Troy Torres
(Tumon, Guam) Governor's economic advisor Dr. Ricky Hernandez told Kandit News today he is not aware of any planning over the last two months, since the public health emergency began, to provide food for hungry and struggling families outside existing federal programs.
"Nothing that I'm aware of," Mr. Hernandez said.
He also qualified his statement by saying he is not involved in all of the planning that has happened since the public health emergency began, so he is unaware if others in the Leon Guerrero administration have started any plans to get food to people who don't qualify or haven't yet received public assistance.
So Kandit called the Joint Information Center and spoke with Nic Rupley, who relayed our questions on the matter to governor's director of communications Janela Carrera and staff assistant Carlo Branch:
Why are Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps) benefits taking so long to process?
Why hasn’t the governor’s office transferred any additional staff to DPHSS to assist with processing SNAP benefit applications?
Will there be an increase in the poverty level threshold to allow more people to qualify for food assistance?
Within the last six weeks, have either the governor or lieutenant governor personally donated food to any hungry families?
Within the last six weeks, has there been any pen to paper action to develop a plan to get food to hungry people?
After hours without a response, Kandit replied to the email and included Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio, and chief of staff Jon Junior Calvo, asking whether anyone would respond to even one of the questions.
"I've asked our Comms (communications) team to provide the responses," Mr. Calvo replied. "Let me also follow up with the JIC inquiries. Thanks!"
No such response has yet been provided by the governor's communications office, neither from Mr. Branch, Ms. Carrera, nor spokeswoman Krystal Paco.
Meanwhile, the numbers of people shedding their pride and coming forward to get food for themselves and their families is growing as more residents and businesses anonymously donate food, hygiene products, baby supplies, and money for relief for these residents. Kandit is rationing the donations by screening people to ensure they don't already have public assistance that provides them the resources to buy food already.