Hotel tax will be tapped for law enforcement manpower needs


The administration of Gov. Eloy S. Inos is promising to provide 50 FTEs for law enforcement agencies.

According to Rep. Antonio P. Sablan (Ind-Saipan), the government is “assuring” that there will be 50 FTEs available for law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Public Safety and the Division of Customs.

Sablan said another source of funding for law enforcement agencies is a portion of the CNMI’s hotel occupancy tax.

He said a law was put in place during the 18th Legislature where the allocation has been determined.

“I cannot give the exact amount, but that fund might already be substantial and can help law enforcement departments to hire more personnel,” Sablan said.

DPS has repeatedly called for more funding.

At a Senate budget hearing, DPS Commissioner James C. Deleon Guerrero said his department needs a $7.2-million budget and that he “cannot work with just $4.5 million” as proposed by the government.

DPS is earmarking a big chunk of the budget, about $5.1 million, for personnel, and $1.6 million for operations. Deleon Guerrero said he has also requested a budget for 20 more police officers.

He also cited the need for a certified counselor to provide psychological intervention, confidential counseling, dealing with traumatic incidents, and reintegrating officers after active military service, among others.

Customs director Joe Mafnas said his division is supporting legislation including House Bill 19-83, which mandates the fines and penalties to remain with Customs and not remitted to government.

The bill was introduced by Rep. John Paul Sablan (R-Saipan).

Mafnas said the division needs more personnel, as tourism continues to grow in the CNMI. He said the rising number of cases of illegal drugs coming in through the ports also warrants more manpower for Customs.

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

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.