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Farmers’ co-op, Probation plead for funding

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Representatives of the CNMI Farmers Cooperative Association and the CNMI Adult Probation Office pleaded with the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation yesterday to fund their respective projects to benefit the community.

Ramon B. Camacho, former chairman of the Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council, voiced the need to solidify and unify the farmers’ co-op.

Speaking in the vernacular, he stressed the necessity to promote the industry of farmers, noting the increase in non-communicable diseases and the many who suffer due to an unhealthy reliance on imported goods.

Despite the agreement between the Department of Lands and Natural Resources and the CNMI Farmers Cooperative Association in November for the co-op to operate at the Garapan Public Market building, Camacho said the agreement includes $300,000 in liability insurance that should have included the drawbacks created by the continued operation of the Sabalu Market and Tuesday Market.

“We are trying to centralize the farmer’s market. We really want to get all farmers together,” he said.

Camacho also asked for $50,000 that farmers could use to recultivate crops lost due to Typhoon Soudelor.

Crispin Deleon Guerrero, the newly elected president of the farmers’ co-op, said the market was already picking up when the process got interrupted by Soudelor and other succeeding storms.

“Our goal is to put farmers together to prosper and we are open to any suggestions to improve,” he said.

Former senator Maria Frica Pangelinan, who resigned as president and manager of the farmers’ co-op earlier this year, reported on the expenditure of the $60,000 earlier appropriated to the co-op under Saipan Local Law 18-23.

She said there is a remaining balance of over $44,000 as of the date of her resignation and noted the importance of accountability and transparency for the program.

Office of Probation

Probation officer Oscar Torres lamented the insufficient $45,000 made available to address the security concerns of the NMI Judiciary.

“We are asking for $113,000 in additional funding which should patch all the issues we have in holding cells, the relocation of control cameras, and the renovation of the substance abuse center,” among other needs, he said.

Chief probation officer and Saipan Higher Education Financial Assistance board member Ursula Aldan added in her address to the leadership the need for reconsideration and appropriation of $1 million to SHEFA, which were originally earmarked for students, but the delegation appropriated $1 million in unused SHEFA funds for the repair and renovation of Northern Marianas College facilities, that is on top of the $3 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency NMC received for typhoon relief assistance.

Daisy Demapan | Reporter

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