Manpower shortage at CUC power division


The Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s Power Generation Division is facing a manpower shortage after 17 of their long-term Filipino workers were given plane tickets to exit the CNMI, while one passed away on Saipan.

Saipan Tribune learned that with the “departure” of the 18, including one from Rota, CUC’s Power Generation Division will be down to 74 employees, including division manager Richard Cano.

CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho believes, though, that the remaining staff with Cano can deal with the problem.

The 18 Filipino workers were mechanics, electricians, and operators.

Camacho said yesterday that they are advertising the vacant positions as required by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“We go through the process. If there are qualified U.S. citizens, they will be hired. If [there is no one], we will have to do the alternative [which] is [to hire] CW [workers],” he said.

CW is the employment visa given to foreign workers in the Commonwealth.

Last Tuesday, Camacho said the departing CW workers have already been given their plane tickets.

He said that CUC is not closing its doors to these 18 workers in the event that no U.S. citizens or green card holders apply for their positions. He stated that USCIS says that they have to advertise the positions of those CW workers.

“We have to comply with all the federal requirements,” Camacho said.

He said they need to fill the vacant positions with qualified U.S. citizens but, if nobody applies, they need to fill those posts with qualified CW workers.

“But they [have] to be qualified. It’s a very dangerous and hazardous program,” Camacho said.

Saipan Tribune learned that the Filipino workers have been with CUC from six years to 27 years. The 17 were assigned on Saipan and one on Rota.

Edwin Gilboy, who worked for 27 years on Saipan, passed away last Oct. 19.

The workers’ last day to stay in the CNMI was last Oct. 31. Their departure schedule was last Nov. 8.

Saipan Tribune learned that, as of Tuesday, only one U.S. citizen has applied for the vacant posts.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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