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Thursday, April 17, 2014

4 lawmakers off to New Zealand for parliamentary forum
»3 recently returned from Marshall Islands

Four members of the 18th Legislature will be going to Wellington, New Zealand next week for a regional parliamentarians’ forum, while three from the CNMI including one lawmaker returned this week from Majuro in the Marshall Islands for a Pacific Islands Development Bank meeting.

Rep. Tony Benavente (IR-Saipan), Rep. John Paul Sablan (Cov-Saipan), Rep. Edmund Villagomez (Cov-Saipan), and Sen. Jovita Taimanao (Ind-Rota) will be attending the Pacific Parliamentary Forum from April 18 to 22.

The forum of Pacific parliamentarians and political leaders focuses on strengthening regional governance, building a stronger democracy across the Pacific, and addressing issues of concern to the Pacific.

Taimanao, Villagomez, and Sablan separately said yesterday that the Forum is shouldering all the expenses for this trip.

“No CNMI money will be spent on this trip. We were invited to this forum for leaders in the Pacific,” Sablan told Saipan Tribune.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero (IR-Saipan), special adviser for the lieutenant governor Paul Manglona, and former representative Diego Benavente returned this week from a PIDB meeting in the Marshall Islands.

Deleon Guerrero was elected chairman of the PIDB board of governors for 2013-2014. Manglona attended the PIDB board of governors’ meeting on behalf of Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider. Benavente, meanwhile, is a long-time member of the PIDB board of directors.

“It was my first time to attend this meeting, and I’m thankful for their confidence in selecting me as chairman of the board of governors. I am also chairman of the Capitalization/Funding Task Force. We also talked about the development of a five-year strategic plan for PIDB covering 2014-2019 and the 2012 audit report,” Deleon Guerrero told Saipan Tribune in an interview.

He said PIDB posted growth in its total assets, from $9.072 million in 2011 to more than $9.49 million in 2012.

Deleon Guerrero said one of the major topics discussed is opening up PIDB to “associate members,” which will not only strengthen regional cooperation but also help boost the bank’s portfolio.

He said the trip was funded by both PIDB and CNMI government.

PIDB is a regional development bank that finances the needs of the people and businesses in the CNMI, Guam, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia’s Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.

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