Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider will be the CNMI’s acting governor starting today until Gov. Eloy S. Inos’ Feb. 28 return from a series of meetings in Washington, D.C., press secretary Angel Demapan said yesterday.
Inos leaves Saipan today, along with Demapan. The governor’s trip comes four days after the governor declared on Friday a 30-day state of significant emergency for Rota over a shortage of food and other commodities because the sea conditions are preventing a barge from entering the Rota harbor to deliver the goods it usually brings to the southern island.
The governor will be going to the nation’s capital to attend the 2014 National Governors Association’s Winter Meeting and the White House’s Interagency Group on Insular Affairs Meeting, among other things.
As of yesterday, it’s not known whether Inos could have a meeting with U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, who is the main decision maker on whether to grant the CNMI’s request to extend the Commonwealth-only worker program.
Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), meanwhile, said he recently met with Perez at the White House “and impressed upon him how important it is to make this decision soon rather than waiting until the last minute.”
“We have been pushing and pushing. All the analysis and agency comment is complete, I believe. The question is on the Secretary’s desk,” Sablan told Saipan Tribune.
Without a CW program extension, the CNMI loses immediate access to some 10,000 skilled and professional foreign workers that the Commonwealth economy has relied upon for decades.