One of the most beautiful aspects of our Chamorro and Carolinian cultures is our respect for our elders. Parents continue this aspect of our culture by teaching their children to “fan ngegi'” all elders, call them “nan' and “tun” out of respect and to love and care for them.
The Retirement Fund is faced with a $300 million shortfall in government contributions, which will result in the collapse of the Retirement Fund in about two years. Today we learn that Medicaid owes medical providers over $15 million in unpaid bills, which has resulted in medical providers no longer accepting Medicaid as a form of payment.
Also today we learn that the 2013 budget will include an expected increase in government revenue of $10 million to $12 million. And how do our government officials propose to spend these additional dollars?
The additional government revenue will be spent to “primarily restore 80 work hours biweekly.” To look at this from the other point of view, this means to primarily NOT respect our elderly by properly funding their NMI Retirement Fund. Would our government officials prefer to see our elderly die from starvation rather than properly fund the Retirement Fund with these newfound dollars?
In addition it means to primarily NOT properly caring for sick and dying family members who depend on Medicaid insurance to pay for their treatment and medication. Would our government officials prefer to see our sick and dying simply die as soon as possible in order to reduce the cost of Medicaid?
Ask our citizens how they would like to see additional government revenue spent: by first restoring payroll or by first showing proper respect for our elderly, sick, and dying. The answer should come from the people, not officials seeking re-election.
Let's do our best to preserve our Chamorro and Carolinian culture by emphasizing respect for our elders and by caring for the medical needs of our sick and dying family members.
Lucy Norita Shilling
Capital Hill, Saipan