Manglona calls for review on annual earmarks


Now that the CNMI economy is doing well, Sen. Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) wishes to review the annual earmarks, or funds set aside yearly, for specific purposes in the CNMI general appropriations bill.

Speaking before yesterday’s Senate session on Capitol Hill, the Rota senator said he wants these reviewed thoroughly because the earmarks were placed during the financial austerity measures of the early 2000s, back when the economy was on a downward trajectory.

Manglona commented during discussions of the House Concurrent Resolution 20-02, or the budget proposal of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres. The Senate later passed the resolution unanimously with a vote of 9-0.

He noted that starting fiscal year 2017, the Legislature deducted $44 million for the earmarks for the minimum annual payment for the Settlement Fund.

“We have earmarking from the past that we have to update,” said Manglona, adding that Attorney General Edward Manibusan previously opined that earmarks should first be adopted. “We need to update [the earmarks] and the duplicate [earmarks].”

“My concern is the Public School System’s 25 percent,” he said.

PSS is entitled to at least 25 percent of general funds for their annual appropriations.

Manglona said he was also concerned for several individuals who are reportedly suing the CNMI government for not complying with the earmarks, PSS included.

The Senate concurring Torres’ budget proposal for the fiscal year signifies the start of the budget process for the Senate. Budget hearings will be held today at the Senate Chamber for PSS at 9:30am and the Department of Public Safety at 2pm.

Prior to voting, Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar (R-Saipan) also warned the Senate of concurring to the budget without first thoroughly reviewing Torres’ proposal. He reminded the Senate of last year’s budget, where members of the Senate realized that they wished to tweak the proposal prior to concurring.

“…Once we adopt this, I hope that we do not have to come back and change this after further findings that we may encounter after today,” he said.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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