Govt ‘tab’ could reach millions of dollars


The CNMI government’s share in the ongoing relief and recovery efforts in the wake of Typhoon Soudelor could reach millions of dollars.

Lt. Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, in a discussion with lawmakers on Capital Hill, said that for last week alone, the tab has already reached $1 million.

Torres told lawmakers that items being brought in by the Federal Emergency Management Agency into the CNMI are all being paid for by the CNMI government.

Torres said generators being used to power water wells are “being rented” by the government.

“Most items, including those being distributed by American Red Cross, were bought by the CNMI government,” Torres said, adding that “all requests and all supplies are coursed through FEMA.”

Even subcontractors, specifically for generators, will be charged to the CNMI government.

Torres said the usual scenario is that if the CNMI government needs 10 generators, FEMA will coordinate with the U.S. Army on the supply. The U.S. Army will then subcontract engineers to run the generators, and the cost is shared by FEMA and the CNMI government.

FEMA and the CNMI government have a 75 percent/25 percent cost-sharing partnership.

“So for example, if the total cost reaches $100 million, the CNMI government will need to shoulder $25 million,” Torres said.

He said this is just an example, and that after the total cost has been determined, “then the government has to pay.”

Torres said the CNMI Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Finance “will work on the cost.”

He said he is merely making it clear that the CNMI government is continuing its efforts for the recovery of Saipan.

Joel D. Pinaroc | Reporter
Joel Pinaroc worked for a number of newspapers in the Philippines before joining the editorial team of Saipan Tribune. His published articles include stories on information technology, travel and lifestyle, and motoring, among others. Contact him at

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