A bill appropriating $256,241 to fund a booster pump to finally give residents in As Falipe in Garapan access to water is in Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ desk waiting for his approval.
The Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation recently passed House Local Bill 19-43 and House Local Bill 19-30 to address As Falipe’s residents’ 20-year water shortage problem.
Reps. Blas Jonathan Attao (Ind.-Saipan) and Felicidad T. Ogumoro (R-Saipan) separately introduced HLB 19-43 and HLB 19-30 last year. HLB 19-43 appropriates $150,000 for the project, while another $106,241 is reserved from HLB 19-30.
Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar (R-Saipan) said he is hoping that Torres would finally sign both local bills after they had already sent it to his office for review. He added that HLBs 19-43 and 19-30 are part of the government’s effort of finding a permanent solution to the water problem.
“Although there are other areas on Saipan that are in need of water access, the effort within the bill is a response to families [living] in As Falpi who suffered for more than 20 years without water,” said Igisomar.
The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. told Igisomar that the reason behind the problem in As Falpi is that the water reservoir servicing the said area is lower than the homes of the families living there. CUC, which is plagued by problems, lacks the funds to complete the project.
“[It is] an unfortunate reasoning considering water is a basic necessity and every household must have access,” said Igisomar, the Senate Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation, and Communications chair.
He said that Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang has continued to delve water to people without access to the basic service. “The sooner we get everyone online directly to CUC, the sooner our mayor can focus his funds on other matters.”
“As Falpi residents cannot continue to suffer without water. Suffering for more than 20 years is far too long and unfathomable considering everyone else around the immediate vicinity has access to water,” added Igisomar.
Igisomar said the Legislature’s next agenda is to help solve the water crisis experienced by those living up in Mt. Tapochau. “The next funding that we will explore and fully support will be for the families up on the Mt. Tapochau Road area who are facing the same dilemma.”
All nine members of the Senate also signed Senate Resolution 19-48, requiring CUC and the Department of Public Works to transmit plans to the SNILD for the proper disbursement of the Developer Infrastructure Tax.
“I hope this will provide CUC and DPW the opportunity to re-align the priorities and get proper funding to accommodate the intention of Public Law 8-23 and lessen the stress or economic expansion opportunity cost burdened by our CNMI residents.”