Aug. 7, 2000
CPA cuts harbor departure fee to $2.25
The Commonwealth Ports Authority Board has approved the implementation of Seaport Incentive Program which lowers the passenger departure fee at Saipan Harbor from $5.85 to $2.25 for one year, in a move to help the tourism industry cope with the decline in the economy. CPA Seaport Committee Chair Francisco Q. Guerrero said the board made sure that such incentive will not hamper its debt service to the $33 million seaport bond. Despite the slowdown in the island's tourism economy, seaport operation has slightly shown improvement with the increase in visits by commercial vessels at Saipan Harbor. There are currently 12 commercial boat operators using Saipan Harbor, with the Tinian Shipping & Transportation Inc. the biggest client as CPA earns $280,000 annually from their operation.
PBACD wants tight monitoring of pesticides
The 14th Pacific Basin Association of Conservation Districts conference concluded Friday after participants agreed to support 14 resolutions all aimed at addressing the region's environmental woes. The initiatives partly embodied efforts at enforcing stricter regulations pertaining to pesticides and other chemicals that pose potential hazards to the environment. The Tinian and Aguiguan Soil and Water Conservation District, in a form of a resolution, has called on the CNMI Customs Services to be vigilant in the seizure of pesticides and other potentially hazardous cargoes that are not in compliance with the Commonwealth or federal regulations.
Aug. 7, 2001
OPA staffing dilemma Like looking for needle in haystack
Of the more than 100 local applicants who have already applied for audit professional positions and for the internship program at the Office of the Public Auditor, only 50 met the minimum qualifications. This was explained yesterday by Public Auditor Michael S. Sablan, as he pointed out that the OPA has not hired more than 50 new interns, as was reported earlier. “Of the 50 who met the minimum qualifications, we are still sifting through them to find the most qualified,” Sablan said. He said that, at the moment, the OPA has only hired three full-time employees and two summer interns, stressing that his office is aware of the need to be fiscally prudent in these times when the CNMI economy is not exactly rosy.
CPA woos legislators on gaming machines
The Commonwealth Ports Authority is courting the Legislature to sponsor a bill that would waive the imposition of license fees for amusement machines that will be installed at the islands' air and sea transport facilities. Board Chair Roman S. Palacios explained that the CPA has been toying with the idea of installing amusement machines at the airports and seaports to boost the agency's revenue-generating capability. "We have agreed that this measure will enhance our ability to generate additional revenues, thus, fund needed improvements in our airports and harbors," Palacios said.
Aug. 7, 2002
Reyes: Waiver bill to DOA at lower chamber
Sen. Pete Reyes said that, although he voted for the passage of Senate Bill 13-84, he believes that it is an appropriation act and should have been initiated at the House. At the same time, aware of the position that has already been taken by the lower chamber on the waiver issue, he said he was already expecting the bill to die upon reaching the House. “I went ahead, however, and voted to pass the bill simply because it was already before the Senate and was being entertained. But it doesn’t change the fact that I felt it was a bill that should have been initiated at the House because I feel it appropriates funds since it changes the funding level for the administration,” Reyes said.
MVA unfazed by economist’s appraisal of Chinese market
The number of Chinese travelers visiting the CNMI is increasing, and the Marianas Visitors Authority believes that the market is bound to become one of the Commonwealth’s strongest. MVA Deputy Managing Director Vicky Benavente said recent developments showed an increase in Chinese visitor arrivals, as the number of Japanese visitors-the Commonwealth’s top market-continuously shrinks. “I believe that once the CNMI does become an approved destination, that’s an incredible market to tap. It’s 20 million estimated travelers coming from China to all parts of the world, and they’re looking for destinations,” she said.