MPLT decision depends on DPL

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Posted on May 14 2019

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The Marianas Public Land Trust board is expected to decide on the line of credit request of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, just as soon as the Department of Public Lands remits more funds to the agency by today.

That comes soon after five MPLT trustees chose to wait for an additional remittance of funds.

MPLT chair Martin B. Ada said the board’s decision would depend on the additional transfer from DPL. “We have not yet decided on the numbers…and what to do with the line of credit request. I think everyone [at the MPLT board] want to see the $2.4 million remitted first before we make any decision on the line of credit. We tabled the action on the governor’s request for the line of credit.”

MPLT legal counsel Robert Torres said the board is only on recess and will resume their meeting today. “There’s still a discussion but they are just in recess and there’s no action yet. Because DPL is saying they are going to remit $2.4 million; we are going to wait for that,” Torres said.

Since September last year, DPL has already transferred over $5.1 million to MPLT as revenues from public land leases.

Including DPL’s transfers to MPLT since fiscal year 2016, the remittances now total $8.9 million

DPL promised MPLT that they are going to remit another $2.4 million. That would raise the total amount to more than $7.5 million.

MPLT administrator Bobbie Reyes had also prepared a check of $5.1 million that would be transferred from their Bank of Guam account to MPLT’s Raymond James Bank money market account, which would earn it a higher interest.

DPL Secretary Marianne C. Teregeyo, financial adviser and acting Real Estate Division director Richard Villagomez, and Accounting director Evelyn Sablan met with the MPLT board yesterday where they discussed the issue on public land lease transfers.

Teregeyo said DPL personnel have been working hard in making sure that those who use public lands pay the right amount.

Article XI of the CNMI Constitution requires DPL collect revenue from leases of public land and is allowed to retain an amount it needs for expenses. Any remaining funds are to be transferred to MPLT. MPLT is in charge of holding funds transferred from DPL, as custodians of funds for people of Northern Marianas descent. MPLT invests on those funds on behalf of NMDs.

House Speaker Blas Jonathan T. Attao (R-Saipan) thanked both DPL and MPLT for meeting and “working together to address the issues. Also, I await MPLT’s decision on the line of credit so we can work on the legislation feasible for all parties.”

Attao introduced House Bill 21-44, which would help the government in addressing its bond obligations and payment to the NMI Settlement Fund.

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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