Hocog vetoes bill earmarking funds for Tinian


Acting governor Victor B. Hocog had vetoed House Local Bill 20-8, D1 that aims to appropriate funds to the Second Senatorial District under Public Law 18-30 or the Tourism Entertainment and Destination Enhancement Act of 2013.

PL 18-30 provides additional gaming entertainment for tourists by amending the definition of gambling device to exclude electronic gaming machines. Former representative Antonio P. Sablan introduced the bill.

Hocog, in a letter to Tinian and Aguiguan Legislative Delegation chair Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian), said while he understands the funds would help the Tinian community there is no funding available.

“While I understand the bill appropriates funds for several public events for the Tinian community and provides for subsistence allowances for qualified patients for dialysis, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other illnesses, there is currently no funding from e-gaming fees is received by the Department of Finance.

“I respectfully advice the delegation that it is not feasible to appropriate funds for public services when there is no money in the account. The better approach would be for the delegation to recall the bill in its current form until such time that funding from e-gaming fees is received by the [DoF].”

Hocog said he vetoed the bill in its entirety due to lack of funding from the e-gaming fee account. “While I’m exercising my constitutional authority, I want to make it clear that both the administration and Legislature believe in providing for our dialysis, cancer, and critically ill patients with subsistence allowance and care they rightfully need.”

“I ask the delegation go back into the legislative process in order to effectively achieve the intent of this appropriation bill in a manner consistent with the timely collection of e-gaming fees.”

“Due consideration must be made in future legislation to ensure that funding is readily available for appropriation to properly provide for our patients and for community events that serve a public purpose,” Hocog added.

Rep. Edwin P. Aldan (R-Tinian) introduced HLB 20-8, D1 on Feb. 21 and was transmitted to the delegation for action on March 1. Appropriating $85,657 of funds allotted to the Second Senatorial District is the purpose of the local bill.

The fund would have allocated $65,657 to fund subsistence allowances for qualified patients for dialysis, cancer, multiple sclerosis, debilitating epilepsy seizure disorder, dermatomyositis, arrhythmia, hemophiliac, and post cerebral vascular accident patients from Tinian.

The Tinian Little League and Tinian Premier Football Club would have received $5,000 each while the Office of the Mayor of Tinian was allotted $10,000 for the use of expenses by Department of Public Safety-Tinian in sending their cadets to the Police Academy.

A portion of the $10,000 would have also funded the Chamorro Language competition in Guam, the San Jose and San Isidro Fiesta expenses, and Department of Fire and Emergency Management Services-Tinian’s operations.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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