The Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation has passed a bill that allocates funds for a temporary typhoon shelter on Saipan.
Twenty delegation members voted to pass House Local Bill 20-3, D2 on Friday.
Rep. Blas Jonathan T. Attao (Ind-Saipan) introduced the bill. It appropriates $340,234.49 to build the temporary shelter. The money comes from Public Law 18-30, the Tourism Entertainment and Destination Enhancement Act of 2013.
Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan), the delegation’s Ways and Means Committee chairman, reduced to $2,500 the allocation for this year’s Saipan International Fishing Tournament.
The fishing tournament already gets $5,000 a year. Demapan’s amendment would give $7,500 to this year’s edition of the tournament.
His other amendment appropriates $5,000 to the Telehealth Demonstration Project of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.
Sen. Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan) commended the delegation for acting on the bill, and for Attao and others who supported having a typhoon shelter built on Saipan.
He said that HLB 20-3, D2 is timely after Typhoon Soudelor devastated Saipan in 2015. “We have to scramble help from the government and nongovernmental organizations and a lot of people were displaced.”
“The issue [Soudelor] is still within us. I think the delegation and the whole Legislature should consider this type of program, perhaps in collaboration with the Northern Marians Housing Corp. and the Department of Homeland Security,” said Palacios.
“We can’t always use public school facilities, since we all know classes have to occur. A lot of this folks had to move out of temporary shelters once the school year started. This facility is ideally what we need to invest on.”