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Lolo expects “better” Senior Citizen Christmas Program this year

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga
Last year’s was poorly organized and the entertainment was bad, he says

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — It’s Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s personal opinion that last year’s Senior Citizen Christmas Program was poorly organized and the “entertainment was bad”.

And this is why he is calling for a better one, next month.

Lolo shared his opinion at last Friday’s cabinet meeting.

Some of the annual ASG programs that have already been put on the government's calendar of events for the month of December were discussed briefly.

According to the calendar, it's going to be a very busy month.

The governor’s annual Senior Citizen Christmas program is spearheaded by the Territorial Administration on Aging (TAOA) and supported by the Governor’s Office and all ASG agencies.

During the cabinet meeting, TAOA director Evelyn Lili’o Satele announced that this year’s program is set for Dec. 19th but the venue will be confirmed at a later time. The venue will be either the Pago Pago Youth Center or Su’igaula o le Atuvasa Beach Park in Utulei.

In planning for next month’s program, Lolo requested the TAOA director work with the Governor’s Office in an effort “to put more meaning into this day.”

“Let me be frank and honest,” Lolo told the cabinet meeting. “Last year, it was something that we just… to get it done and leave. It really didn’t have that much meaning to it. Not only was the entertainment bad, [but] it was poorly organized.”

“But that’s my own personal experience,” said Lolo, who added that he is “expecting something much, much better this year than what we had last year."

He asked his cabinet to give the support that TAOA needs. “This is the only time that we honor and respect our parents. So let's get the best out of it and make sure they — seniors — enjoy that day,” he said.

Early last week, the Governor’s Office informed cabinet members that each agency will provide 10 gift bags for the program, which runs from 7a.m to 12noon.

“One of the signature programs of our Administration since its inception is honoring our senior citizens for their contributions, which facilitate our enjoyment of the fruits of their labor inherent in the social, economic, and political environment they fashioned,” the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Fiu J. Saelua wrote in a Nov. 19th letter to cabinet members.

According to Fiu, ever since 2013, cabinet members “have responded splendidly with lavishness exceeding expectation” and he knows the governor and lieutenant governor “are filled with gratitude and appreciation for your demonstrated commitment to this very important project to our administration.”

“There is no doubt as well, that our seniors are extremely grateful for the attention our Administration continues to shower upon them,” he added, noting that his letter expresses the governor and lieutenant governor’s request for assistance in making sure that this year’s program “will be more memorable than the last one.”

For the last four years, Fiu said the average attendance of seniors has been 900. And for this year, the government anticipates that the number will reach 1,000 or more attendees.

Dec. 14th is the deadline to provide the gift baskets.


Other usual major programs set for next month include:

•     Dec. 14th — American Samoa Community College winter graduation, starting at 10a.m at the ASCC Auditorium;

•     Dec. 17 — at 8a.m is the Hope House Christmas Gift presentation followed at 11a.m with the governor’s visit, along with cabinet members to the Territorial Correctional Facility, which includes the Christmas luncheon

•     Dec. 16-18 — the Arts Council and the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs 41st annual Holiday Music Festival at Su’igaula o le Atuvasa at Utulei Beach. The program runs for three hours starting at 6p.m and the governor usually delivers his annual Christmas message on the first night of the event.

•     Dec. 18 — LBJ Medical Center visit to the wards and gift presentation starting at 9a.m.

Based on the ASG calendar of events, Tuesday, Dec. 25th, Christmas 2018, is the only public holiday declared for December followed by Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 — New Year’s Day, which is also a public holiday.