Santos underscores transparency; calls for unity
Drawing on her experience as a former Labor secretary, Sen. Edith E. Deleon Guerrero (D-Saipan) said that, as of the Dec. 16, 2020, the CNMI has $6,697,539 in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation funds available for disbursement, and that these funds are supposed to be disbursed on a weekly basis.
At the inauguration of the 22nd Legislature last Monday, Deleon Guerrero said that thousands of individuals are still waiting for their weekly PUA and PFUC benefits. Deleon Guerrero is a former CNMI Department of Labor secretary.
In addition to PUA and PFUC, the CNMI also applied for the Lost Wages Assistance funds, Deleon Guerrero said, yet not much is known whether the CNMI’s request for a waiver on the matching requirement for the LWA has been approved and when these funds will reach the suffering families in the community.
Deleon Guerrero said many families need these funds badly. If they already have it, their spending will help the CNMI business community stay afloat and the government will get its share of these funds through Business Gross Receipts Tax revenues, she added.
She said these funds intended to help people affected by the COVID-19 virus calls for an oversight and that she looks forward to working with the Senate on addressing this issue and many more affecting the Commonwealth.
The former Labor secretary assured that, despite her three-year absence from government work, she has never lost concern for the many issues facing the Commonwealth and its people, citing the mounting deficit, unpaid wages, worker protests, furloughs, retiree pensions, lack of accountability and transparency of their government, and the use and misuse of public funds
Deleon Guerrero said that people never surrendered their right to accountability and transparency of their government. “These are non-negotiable, for it is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” she said.
Meanwhile, in her speech during the inauguration, Sen. Teresita A. Santos (Ind-Rota) underscored the need for transparency “to build and foster trust and to ensure accountability.”
Santos said leaders must also stand steadfast to promote unity to assure continuity of vital public services and programs and to alleviate many adversities brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As an adage says, no leader can accomplish one alone,” Santos said. “We should also welcome new visions and ideas from members or our chambers and our general public as, a saying says, two heads are better than one.”