August 26, 2005
Two more weeks to go
Two more weeks to go before the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. will end load shedding and hopefully start providing uninterrupted power service on Saipan, Gov. Juan N. Babauta announced yesterday. In a public briefing at the Multi-Purpose Center, Babauta said that CUC should have enough power generation capacity to accommodate consumer demand by Sept. 6, 2005, when the repair of Engine No. 8 at Power Plant 1 is expected to be completed. “CUC is on schedule to end load shedding in the first week of September,” Babauta said. The utility firm started load shedding on July 28, 2005 due to under-generation. As a result, affected Saipan villages have been experiencing at least two hours of power outage a day.
Govt’s utility payments short by $4.4M
The government’s payments for utility expenses from fiscal year 2002 to date are short by $4.4 million, Gov. Juan N. Babauta disclosed yesterday. According to the governor, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has billed his administration a total of $40.5 million since fiscal year 2002. During this period, the government has paid CUC only $36.1 million. The $4.4-million difference occurred even with the administration paying CUC $2.1 million in excess since the beginning of FY 2005. Babauta reported that the government’s utility bills amounted to $9 million since October 2004, but the government has already paid CUC $11.1 million.
August 26, 2006
Borja is new Education Commissioner
After a long discussion and heated arguments yesterday, the CNMI State Board of Education finally chose Dr. David M. Borja as the new Education Commissioner for the Public School System. Borja was chosen for the post on a three-to-two vote. Marja Lee Taitano, Dino Jones and board chair Roman C. Benavente voted in favor of Borja, while Lucy Blanco-Maratita and Herman T. Guerrero voted for former Associate Commissioner for Curriculum and Instruction Rita Sablan. Right before the voting began, Blanco-Maratita and Guerrero questioned the board and its legal counsel why they were going ahead with the selection when they still had a “certified question” for submission to the Supreme Court. The question centers on the qualifications of the Commissioner of Education, particularly the phrase “master’s degree in some field of education.”
Northwest extends extra Tokyo flights
Northwest Airlines has decided to offer its three extra flights between Tokyo and Saipan for six more months, the Marianas Visitors Authority announced yesterday. Northwest started the three weekly flights from Narita last April. It initially planned to provide the service up to October 2006 only. But the success of MVA and Northwest’s summer campaign prompted the airline to extend the service for another six months at least, MVA chair Jerry Tan said. By December, Northwest will further increase the number of extra flights to five per week.
August 26, 2007
Independent bets for November polls soar
The number of independent candidates running this election has more than tripled, compared to the last midterm election. Of the 74 candidates certified by the Board of Election on Thursday, 20 are independents. In the 2003 midterm election, only six of the 78 candidates were independents. These figures exclude candidates in non-partisan races such as the municipal councils and the Board of Education, which total 18 this election.
Saipan loses NCLEX takers from RP
More bad news for the CNMI’s tourism industry. Starting this week, Filipino nurses seeking jobs in the United States began taking the National Council Licensure Examination in their own country. Instead of the past practice of coming to Saipan or going to Hong Kong and other Asian countries for the NCLEX, Filipino nurses now have the option of taking the licensure exam at the Pearson Professional Center in Makati City. It is estimated that some 4,000 Filipino nurses will take the NCLEX until December this year. "The nursing shortage is still significant and research still indicates that there is a future anticipated shortfall of more than a million nurses in the U.S.," said Casey Marks, associate executive director for business operations of Pearsonvue, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.