The federal government has reportedly pledged to set aside emergency funds to bail out the Commonwealth from the worsening economic situation, which came as a result of the recent terrorist attacks against the US.
The Covenant Party’s gubernatorial aspirant Benigno R. Fitial disclosed the "good news" yesterday to Northern Marianas College students, faculty and staff during a forum organized by the Associated Students.
Fitial said he learned from his friends in the US Congress that the CNMI will be receiving a substantial amount of financial assistance from certain departments in the federal government.
"I talked to my friend Cong. Bob Schaffer over the phone and he told me that this assistance will be coming very, very soon," said Fitial.
CNMI’s share of the bailout money is projected to be in the millions, he added.
The federal government recently disbursed billions of dollars in emergency bailout funds to industries and sectors hardly hit by the September 11 tragedies.
At the forum, Fitial also underscored the need for the CNMI to maintain a lobbyist in Washington DC despite growing community concerns of its hefty costs. "With $300,000 for a lobbyist, we can retain $38 million. We need the services of a lobbyist, it’s like an insurance."
Fitial, with running mate Dr. Rita H. Inos, spent the rest of the afternoon with their NMC constituents discussing a wide range of issues including the economy, health, education and environment.
Inos, who is running for lieutenant governor under the Covenant Party, was asked by a member of the audience to list down her accomplishments as commissioner of the Public School System.
During the past three years, Inos enumerated that she was able to increase student achievement through the institution of accountability tests, secure maximum accreditation for almost all public schools, build the necessary school facilities through Capital Improvement Project funds and maintain quality PSS personnel.
She added that in the three years that she served as COE, she was able to effectively collaborate with the Board of Education on policies affecting the CNMI children.
Furthermore, she said that the PSS was able to take on the rare chance of being on the top one percent of all US schools, with the capacity to electronically link with other institutions overseas, through Education-Rate funds from the US Schools and Libraries Division.
Moreover, the tandem also stressed that the economy is their number one platform, saying that all issues and concerns besetting the CNMI community can be best addressed if the islands’ economic health is at its peak.