Jan. 31, 2000
New harbor fees lift seaport revenues
Revenues generated by the marine division of the Commonwealth Ports Authority jumped by 20 percent in November 1999 compared with the previous year record, as a result of the new schedule of harbor fees implemented last year. CPA's seaport operations generated $339,646, up from the previous year tally of $285,000, according to a financial report presented during the CPA Board of Directors meeting in Rota Friday. Ports Authority Board Chair Roman S. Palacios said the increase was primarily fueled by the implementation of the new seaport fee schedule in July last year.
Govt tightens entry of balut, salted eggs
If you're planning to import balut and salted eggs in large quantity from the Philippines, then you better think twice. The Department of Lands and Natural Resources has recently imposed a new regulation limiting the number of balut and salted eggs that can be brought from the Philippines or other Asian countries. Each passenger can bring in only 12 baluts and 12 salted eggs. According to Dr. Ignacio Dela Cruz, CNMI veterinarian, the restriction was primarily due to lack of manpower and equipment in the Quarantine Division to inspect huge quantities of these eggs which is meant to prevent the entry of hatching or viable eggs that may become the potential source of new diseases.
Jan. 31, 2001
OPA: Insurance firm padded bills
The NMI Retirement Fund lost an estimated $313,516 on fraudulent claims and over $500,000 in supported claims due to padded bills of physical therapy services rendered by Megaplus International CNMI, Inc. Based on the result of the audit investigation of health insurance payments to Megaplus International, the Office of the Public Auditor disclosed that NMIRF through its Group Health and Life Insurance Branch paid the company over $800,000 on fraudulent health insurance claims of physical therapy services. Public Auditor Mike S. Sablan asked Fund Administrator Juan S. Torres to expedite the hiring of the review utilization board to prevent possible recurrence of this type of problem and the immediate preparation of guidelines for the review and processing of claims.
DPH: Flexible terms for indigent patients
The Department of Public Health yesterday disclosed the implementation of its Medically Indigent Assistance Plan to ensure the delivery of essential medical and health services to patients who do not have the capability to pay for them on one-time basis. The program helps patients pay medical services through the sliding fee scale program. According to Public Health Secretary Kevin P. Villagomez, the program is a schedule of discounts that would allow patients to pay a percentage of their bill depending on their financial ability. Villagomez explained that MIAP is part of the mission of the health department to provide quality medical care to residents of Northern Marianas regardless of their financial capacity.
Jan. 31, 2002
Army Corps to shut down PCB-treatment machine
The indirect thermal desorption unit used in treating PCB-laced soil in Tanapag would be shut down indefinitely after the proof of performance tests, giving the US Army Corps of Engineers and its contractor time to attend to needed maintenance work and address the dust problem created by the machine. This, as the US Environmental Protection Agency assured its local counterpart, the Division of Environmental Quality, that it will not allow operations of the ITD unit to resume until the Army Corps and its contractor, Environmental Chemical Corp, would have installed dust control measures. The EPA and the DEQ have reached an agreement in monitoring the treatment operations.
US trust fund for Micronesians depleting
The Prior Service Trust Fund is going to run out of money in July this year and, with October being the earliest that the U.S. Congress can appropriate the money needed, its beneficiaries may have to endure getting postponed benefits every other month. Fund Administrator Jerry Facey said that, of the over $10 million that were appropriated by the U.S. Congress through the years for this purpose, less than $800,000 remain. “We're paying over a $100,000 a month, which means that, by this summer, we'll be out of money. The situation is “pretty scary,” he said. “We have over 2,000 beneficiaries, of which about 470 are from the Northern Marianas, who all depend on this money every month.”