August 19, 2005
Veto override is defeated
With two votes short of the needed three-fourths approval, the attempt to override the governor’s veto of the proposed repeal of the fuel surcharge fee was defeated, 10-6, during a session at the House of Representatives yesterday. The motion to reverse the governor’s decision needed 12 “yes” votes to pass the chamber. Those who voted “yes” were political opposition lawmakers led by House Speaker Benigno R. Fitial, Vice Speaker Timothy P. Villagomez, Reps. Heinz S. Hofschneider, David Apatang, Jesus Attao, Oscar M. Babauta, Juan Lizama, Clyde Norita, Crispin Ogo, and Justo Quitugua.
Power bills remain on the balance
In an apparent attempt to be rid of an issue that could affect their chances in the November elections, lawmakers took turns yesterday pushing their own proposals on how to solve the fuel surcharge fee problem. Of at least five pending fuel surcharge-related measures, the House of Representatives approved one, defeated a veto override, and passed one on first reading. The House passed on first reading House Bill 14-362, authored by Vice Speaker Timothy P. Villagomez, which aims to increase CUC’s electricity rates, repeal the fuel surcharge, and defer the $45 million outstanding loan of CUC with the Commonwealth Development Authority.
August 19, 2006
Furlough notices cancelled
Government employees who received furlough notices can now breathe a sigh of relief after Gov. Benigno R. Fitial rescinded yesterday his previous directive authorizing a 30-day furlough of civil service personnel. Fitial made the cancellation of the planned furlough next month after he signed yesterday Senate Bill 15-51 into Public Law 15-24, which was amended by the Legislature to include a provision “requesting” the governor to rescind the furlough notices issued to government employees last month. Fitial signed Directive 257 yesterday, rescinding Directive 256, which he issued on July 14, notifying some government employees holding non-critical positions to go on a furlough for 30 days effective next month.
’Traditional healers should be part of public health’
Traditional healers in the CNMI should have a place in the Commonwealth Public Health Services, according to the organizers of the successfully held Traditional Healing and Medicine Symposium yesterday. Lino Olopai, a Carolinian author and one of the organizing members, said that traditional healers should be part of public health services as they also play a vital role in curing the sick in the community dating all the way back to ancient times in the Pacific. “Healers should be included and part of our public health services and work hand in hand so patients can have options,” said Olopai.
August 19, 2007
Tribune’s Donato chosen for Sasakawa fellowship
Three senior reporters have been chosen for the incoming class of the 2007 Sasakawa Pacific Islands Journalism Fellowship and one of them is Saipan Tribune’s Agnes Donato, who covers the political, aviation, and tourism beats for the paper. Donato follows in the footsteps of another Saipan Tribune reporter, Liberty Dones, who was chosen as last year’s fellow. The Fellowship gives regional journalists the opportunity to develop a series of stories focused on Japan while based in that country and working one-on-one with a senior professional.
NMI founding father opposes federalization
A CNMI founding father has spoken against the proposed federal takeover of local immigration, even as he acknowledged the right of the U.S. Congress to do so. Vicente N. Santos, vice chairman of the Northern Marianas Political Status Commission, said this is the “worst possible time” to impose the federal immigration system to the Commonwealth. He also raised strong opposition to the proposal to grant what he referred to as “permanent residency status” to long-term guest workers in the islands. “Because of the economic situation prevailing in the CNMI right now, I ask the U.S. Congress not to federalize the CNMI’s immigration system at this time,” Santos wrote in a statement submitted to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, which held the first congressional hearing in the CNMI on Wednesday.