Just a few weeks after the signing of House Bill 19-212 into Public Law 19-75 by Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres to make supplemental appropriations for the operations and activities of the government for fiscal year 2017, the Department of Finance remitted yesterday $7 million to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. to assist in the hospital’s ability to pay its past due and outstanding balance to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. and allow for the steady improvement of utility service and infrastructure for the hospital’s longevity.
According to Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson, CHCC immediately remitted this funding to CUC.
“This funding will address a longstanding issue of past due utility bills owed by CHCC to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. This appropriation was a joint effort of the Torres-Hocog administration, the Legislature, CHCC, and CUC and is one of the many steps taken by all parties involved to address longstanding issues and debt that has accumulated from prior administrations,” Larson said.
Torres said the funding will benefit Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
“As the economy improves from the new investments and from the greater enforcement of our CNMI laws and regulations, we look forward to addressing and resolving even more of the longstanding issues and improving our financial picture for future generations to come,” Torres said.
CHCC CEO Esther Muña expressed her appreciation for the funding yesterday and noted CUC’s collaboration and prioritization of hospital services over the years.
“We appreciate the assistance of the Legislature, Gov. Torres, and CUC for helping us and prioritizing the hospital. It is absolutely appreciated that the legislature and Gov. Torres have provided funding for this. Every time we reduce our liabilities, we can focus on improving our services at the hospital,” Muña said, adding that another $11 million in obligations are left to pay.
CUC executive director Gary Camacho reiterated that the funding will assist CUC in improving its services and infrastructure.
“It has been a productive working relationship and everyone in the community will benefit from this. It is wonderful that this administration is proactive in addressing these arrears and it goes to show how critical these services are to the community. They were true to their word and we greatly appreciate it. This is truly a testament of everyone understanding that the operation of the hospital and utilities are essential,” he said. (PR)