Aldan: Marpo Heights project to push through

Posted on Apr 30 2019

Tinian Mayor Edwin P. Aldan explains to House members the urgent need to pass House Bill 21-37, House Draft 1 during a House session early this month. (Jon Perez)

Tinian Mayor Edwin P. Aldan assured that the project to improve and pave the roads at Marpo Heights II subdivision in his municipality would push through, once a bill that would re-appropriate those funds is enacted by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.

Rep. Antonio SN Borja’s (R-Tinian) House Bill 21-37 would re-appropriate $1.09 million for Tinian to help fund the payroll of the municipality’s employees.

H.B. 21-37 already passed the House and awaits action at the Senate.

The $1 million was originally allocated for the improvement and pavement of roads at Marpo Heights II while $90,000 was to be used for 10 FTEs for the Tinian office of the Department of Public Safety.

Under Borja’s H.B.21-37, the money would be used for the personnel and operations of municipality of Tinian, the Tinian Municipal Treasury employees, the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission personnel and operations, and the Tinian Mayor’s Office.

Aldan assured that the re-appropriation would not affect the Marpo Heights project. “It is not that we’re going to abandon the project at all. The project will continue to move on and Marpo Heights will be paved,” said Aldan, who added that CIP funds would be the source of the money. “The intent of those [CIP] funds are to build power, water, roads, and sewer. This funding is not restricted to CIP; it could be used for personnel, programs, and infrastructure.”

“But now, this is the only way that we can secure a big amount of funds that would last all the way to the end of fiscal year 2019 or more, if we do some austerity measures and cuts.”

Aldan said that even during his last term at the Legislature, the Tinian leadership was looking for ways to appropriate the money. “Before my last term at the House, we passed a $1 million appropriation that was supposed to carry whatever burden that we are going through in the municipality.”

“That did not happen. Funds were not yet available at that time, so then we started doing smaller appropriations.”

He said that H.B. 21-37 would address the lack of funding the municipality is experiencing right now. “We are running out of [funds] and I’m just worried that funds would not be available when the time comes for their paycheck. The payroll would last within the month of May. So, with the passage and if the governor would sign it into law, it would be enough to bring them to the end of fiscal year 2019.”

Aldan added that acting Finance secretary David Atalig assured him that the money is still there. “There was a certification of funds that was produced by the Finance acting secretary, showing that the funds are still there and certified by him. I’m not going to get the whole $1 million check; it will be drawn down weekly or biweekly, based on the municipal’s needs.”

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.
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