CNMI gets $2.5M in technical, maintenance assistance from OIA

Projects address key areas such as infrastructure, substance abuse and rehabilitation, healthcare, medical referral, agriculture, and the environment

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres announced Wednesday that a total of $2,526,006 in technical and maintenance assistance has been awarded to the CNMI for fiscal year 2018 from the Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs.

“This is welcome news for our community as these projects will provide even stronger support for many of our critical priorities. These projects address key areas such as infrastructure, substance abuse and rehabilitation, healthcare, medical referral, agriculture, and the environment. I thank Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Assistant Secretary Doug Domenech, our Grants Management team led by its administrator Epi Cabrera Jr., and all our departments that worked collaboratively to push these project proposals forward,” Torres said.

CNMI Office of Grants Management and State Clearinghouse administrator Epiphanio E. Cabrera Jr. said the grant awards address crucial programs that benefit the community as a whole.

“We are extremely grateful for the FY18 Technical Assistance Program/Maintenance Assistance Program grant awards. Altogether, the CNMI was generously awarded funding for several crucial programs. This grant cycle, we encompassed quite a few areas in need of funding—from environmental, healthcare, agriculture, transportation, substance abuse treatment, child support, and public works. I want to personally thank the various public offices and officials for collaborating diligently with the OGM Team to provide the necessary technical information, input, and support. I would also like to extend our sincere appreciation to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Douglas W. Domenech, and OIA Director Nikolao Pula,” Cabrera added.

Through the OIA Technical Assistance Program (TAP), Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas and International Affairs Douglas W. Domenech awarded for the following projects:

• $363,465 to the Department of Public Works (DPW) for the Zero Waste Initiative: An Island Composting Program. The composting program aims to reduce the burden placed on the Marpi Landfill by diverting green waste, yard waste, and food scraps into organic matter that will eventually be decomposed, recycled and eventually used as a fertilizer and soil amendment.

• $357,966 to DPW for the Recycling Redemption Facility Revitalization Program. The Recycling Redemption Facility Revitalization Program aims to streamline the capabilities of the government-run recycling facility to include the redemption of aluminum cans and the recycling of rubber tires off-island on all the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. With the funding assistance, the Department of Public Works will be able to receive recyclables, pay out for the recyclable materials, process them for shipping, and barge them to vendors that will accept and prepare them for further recycling, scrapping and/or manufacturing. The program will escalate the islands’ recycling capabilities and jumpstart further action for a more sustainable future.

• $297,077 to the Office of Substance Abuse and Drug Rehabilitation for a Rehabilitation Psychologist. The Rehabilitation Psychologist shall assist with the organization and management of rehabilitation programs, public-education campaigns, and therapy sessions for people struggling with substance abuse at the Hinemlu O’hala Para Enteramenti (HOPE) Recovery Center of the Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation Program under the Office of the Governor.

• $250,000 to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation to upgrade the CHCC Electronic Health Record software.

• $210,000 to CHCC to upgrade its medical equipment in the Labor and Delivery Ward.

• $172,949 to the Rota Mayor’s Office for the Rota Aquaponics Initiative – Phase II. An expansion to the already-running aquaponics program is long overdue. The project will include the introduction of additional vegetable varieties and varying aquatic life and program amenities to enhance the program’s sustainability.

• $79,921 to DPW for the Floodplain Software & System Acquisition. The Aeronautical Reconnaissance Coverage Geographic Information System (ArcGIS) program software is a program that can be used for the creation and management of geographic data. The funding assistance will also be used to provide training for personnel to familiar themselves with the specialized program.

• $77,685 to the CNMI Medical Referral Office for the acquisition of a Retrofitted Wheelchair Accessible Van. A retrofitted wheelchair accessible van to be used by the CNMI Guam Medical Referral Service Office for the transport of CNMI patients receiving medical treatment and care on Guam.

• $68,472 to the CNMI Medical Referral Office for a Utilization Review Nurse for CNMI Medical Referral Office. The CNMI has been paying excessive amounts in patient care services for some time. The services provided by the Utilization Review Nurse shall safeguard the CNMI from paying excessive charges for patient care services.

• $60,365 to the Office of the Public Auditor for its Continuing Professional Development Training.

• $49,699 for the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority (COTA) Bus Route for Team Professional Development.

• $26,050 to the Office of the Attorney General for Child Support Guidelines.

• $215,680 for the Automated Passport Control Units Acquisition project. Additional Automated Passport Control (APC) units will be procured and stationed at the Francisco C. Ada Saipan International Airport to ensure that travelers are able to clear United States Customs and Border Protection formalities quickly and securely. The addition of the APC units would greatly reduce the waiting times for in-coming passengers.

Through the OIA Maintenance Assistance Program (MAP), the following projects were awarded:

• $213,232 to DPW Roads & Grounds Division for the Heavy Equipment Motor Grader Acquisition. The addition of the heavy equipment unit will improve the division’s capacity to provide essential public services primarily in the maintenance of primary and secondary roads on the island Saipan.

• $83,445 to the Department of Lands and Natural Resources for the Ma’afala Breadfruit Initiative Tractor Acquisition. With approximately 40,000 square meters of agricultural space and over a thousand seedlings to nourish, CNMI Ma’afala Breadfruit Initiative Program will utilize the tractor in the cultivation and maintenance of the landscape located at Kagman—Saipan.

Several projects are still under review including the CNMI Invasive Species Coordination and the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle.

Cabrera added that the next step is to ensure that these projects achieve its goal effectively and efficiently.
“Now, we look forward to working with the agencies for the effective and efficient carrying out of the objectives laid out in the respective grants. Some of our office’s goals are to create economic opportunities, promote government efficiency, and improve the quality of life for the people of the CNMI. We believe that these grants will inevitably achieve these goals.” (PR)

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