Oct. 4, 2001
CPA rolls back seaport fees
The Commonwealth Ports Authority yesterday suspended the implementation of the new seaport rates, following concerns raised by major importers in light of the slowdown in shipping-related activities. CPA Board Chair Roman S. Palacios said the board voted to suspend the new seaport rates for the next six months. Rates implemented on October 1 are retroactive, he added. After March 2002, ports officials will convene to revisit and evaluate the agency's operational costs and expenditures. “Following a thorough deliberation, the board came to terms that this is not the right time to increase seaport rates. We don't want to burden the consumers,” said Palacios in an interview.
NMI losing 804 visitors a day
The Northern Marianas has been losing an average of 804 visitors everyday, or a daily average decline of 49 percent, since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Since the national air travel suspension was lifted on September 15 up until September 30, the CNMI lost 15,276 visitors than what the islands recorded on the average before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The Northern Marianas used to welcome an average of 1,368 visitors each day before September 11. The terrorist attacks and America's retaliation plans, which created a global aviation and tourism crisis, are expected to hurt the local economy deeper.
Oct. 4, 2003
Tinian picks new senator today
Tinian residents are urged to exercise their right to vote, as the island chooses in a special election today who would represent them in the CNMI Senate as replacement of convicted senator Jose M. Dela Cruz. Two prominent leaders are running for Dela Cruz's vacated position-CNMI Republican Party's Manuel Villagomez and Covenant Party's Joseph M. Mendiola, according to Commission on Election executive director Greg Sablan. Sablan said polling places at the Youth Center in the vicinity of the baseball field and the gymnasium will be open at exactly 7am. Polling places will be closed around 7pm.
Majority: Transmittal refusal a veto action
Despite the governor's refusal to acknowledge any Senate-concurred legislation transmittal since Aug. 28, the new Senate majority proceeded to pass bills yesterday, including, among others, the much-awaited anti-domestic violence legislation or House Bill 13-196. The four senators have also taken the position that Gov. Juan N. Babauta's decision to decline legislation transmittals from the Legislature was equivalent to a veto action on the bills that the administration has returned to the Legislature clerks' offices. “It is our position that returning, unsigned without indicating approval or disapproval, all legislation are deemed rejected. These bills approved by the Legislature, by virtue of the Governor's action returning them unsigned, have been rendered effective,” read a statement released by majority members. Press Secretary Peter A. Callaghan reiterated yesterday that the bills are not being vetoed as what the majority is suggesting.
Oct. 4, 2005
7 fishermen off the hook
After days of silence, the Department of Lands and Natural Resources declared that it would not press charges against seven persons who were reportedly caught fishing within the Bird Island Sanctuary. In a prepared statement given to the Saipan Tribune, the DLNR acquitted the seven persons, saying that its conservation officers lacked conclusive evidence to positively identify any of the fishermen and their boat at the time when they were fishing within the sanctuary, where the law prohibits the taking of marine life. The alleged failure to identify the culprits and their boat happened even as the DLNR also claimed that Fish and Wildlife conservation officers had observed the fishing activity at the sanctuary for about four hours-from 9pm until 1am the following morning two Sundays ago.
Continental starts layoff of Saipan employees
Some Continental Micronesia employees have already lost their jobs on Saipan in view of the pullout of Japan Airlines from the Marianas route effective today. Continental Micronesia staff vice president for sales and marketing Wally Dias confirmed yesterday that, as earlier announced, Saipan employees would lose their jobs beginning this week due to loss of service contracts with Japan Airlines and Northwest Airlines. He declined to specify, however, the number of employees who have already been let go. Currently, he said, Continental Micronesia has 150 staff on Saipan. By January 2006, the number of personnel will be down to 35. Continental Airlines would lose its ground-handling contract with Northwest effective Dec. 1.