Senate President Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) said yesterday that the Senate’s “initial sentiment” is that a House bill allowing non-retired members of the NMI Retirement Fund to withdraw their contributions without severance of employment or penalties “will hurt the Fund.”
House Bill 17-226, introduced by House Speaker Eli Cabrera (R-Saipan), passed the House on Thursday by a vote of 11-7.
Manglona said a Special Committee on Retirement Fund issues chaired by Sen. Jovita Taimanao (Ind-Rota) will review this bill and make recommendations to the full Senate.
He said the committee may call witnesses, including Fund officials and retirees.
“As I said, our initial sentiment is that this bill will hurt the Fund, that we should not pass the bill at a time when we’re trying to save the Fund,” Manglona told Saipan Tribune in a phone interview yesterday.
Manglona echoes the sentiment of the Fund that HB 17-226 will hasten the demise of the pension agency.
Rep. Frank Dela Cruz (R-Saipan) vehemently opposed the bill’s passage during the House session on Thursday, and hopes that the Senate will vote down the bill.
But Joseph M. Pangelinan, a government employee, said there are at least 823 signatures in support of the bill. Some 400 more signatures mostly from Public School System employees are expected, bringing the total signatures to over 1,200.