During their first general membership meeting for fiscal year 2014 on Feb. 6, 2014, at the Pacific Islands Club, officers and members of the CNMI Statewide Independent Living Council, together with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, held a brief ceremony to recognize and extend sincere appreciation to former SILC officers Stephen Dutro (chairperson) and Jimmy G. Sablan (secretary) for having served with distinction on the SILC for two full terms, or six years. Both Dutro and Sablan thanked the SILC membership for the honor and privilege to have been part of a dynamic organization and urged the SILC to continue their advocacy efforts of promoting and advancing the independent living agenda of people with disabilities in the CNMI so that they are fully included and integrated in all aspects of life.
Dutro is currently employed at Hawaiian Rock Products, while Sablan is program manager for the Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems, Inc.
The 1992 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act greatly expanded the role and responsibilities of the statewide independent living councils, in effect making them full partners with vocational rehabilitation in the independent living process. Primary among the new responsibilities of the councils is collaborating with the state vocational rehabilitation agency to develop the state independent living plan—including determining use of independent living funds and monitoring, reviewing, and evaluating implementation of this state plan.
SILC officers for fiscal year 2014 include Consolacion “Connie” Atalig, chairperson; Gernadine Camacho, vice chairperson; Emeterio Fitial, secretary; and Lydia Igitol, executive director of the Center for Living Independently.
The mission of OVR is to increase employment and promote independence among eligible individuals with disabilities throughout the CNMI. It is headed by Arlene Kay A. Yamagata, M.S., C.R.C. (OVR)