Manglona raises concern over PUA delay

Posted on Jul 02 2020

Speaking on the community’s frustration over unemployment assistance, Sen. Paul A. Manglona (Ind-Rota) reached out to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres to ask for a timeframe for when the displaced workers in the CNMI can expect to finally receive federal help.

The U.S. Department of Labor had approved in May the CNMI Department of Labor’s implementation plan for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Unemployment Compensation programs, along with the initial release of $70.5 million in funding. To date, the CNMI Department of Labor has received nearly 5,000 applications for the programs.

“While it is understandable that the shortcomings in the nation’s unemployment-insurance system undoubtedly affected our local distribution timeframe, the PUA and FPUC funds of about $70.5 million have been available as early as June 10, 2020,” the senator stated in his letter to Torres. “Our constituents, especially those whose jobs have been directly affected by this pandemic, are asking what is the cause of the delay in issuing their unemployment assistance. …On top of dealing with their health issues and that of their families, they are stressing over their finances, more so now that they are no longer gainfully employed.”

Manglona compared the CNMI’s implementation to that of Guam’s, noting that Guam is now on their second batch of unemployment benefit payments, totaling $36.4 million in federal funds, bound to reach their residents early next week. “With this second batch, the total amount now paid out on Guam is $78.3 million, with $6.3 million going toward taxes.”

The senator also noted the 26,614 unemployment claims that had been filed out of 32,539 Guamanians who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, which Guam Department of Labor announced last June 28.

“This is such a large number to process compared to the CNMI’s estimated 4,000 residents who had lost their jobs. Yet, not one person has been issued a check in the CNMI,” Manglona said. “Aside from their dwindling cash resources, banks are exhausting their six-month limit on loan extensions. The longer people go without any income, the deeper they sink into debt, leaving them in financial ruts that can take years to overcome.”

The senator called to make this assistance one of the greatest priorities of the CNMI government.

Iva Maurin | Correspondent
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at
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