MPLT wants to meet with stakeholders first

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Posted on May 16 2019

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Marianas Public Land Trust member Pedro R. Deleon Guerrero, right, stresses a point in Tuesday’s MPLT meeting at their office conference room. (Jon Perez)

The Marianas Public Land Trust wants to meet with stakeholders first to talk about Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ request for a line of credit. The five-member trustees also want answers from the administration how it intends to pay for the line of credit, whether it would paid monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Aside from Torres, other stakeholders invited to the meeting are Finance Secretary David Atalig, several members of the Legislature led by House Speaker Blas Jonathan T. Attao (R-Saipan), House Ways and Means Committee chair Ivan A. Blanco (R-Saipan), and House Natural Resources chair Anto-nio SN Borja (R-Saipan).

MPLT chair Martin B. Ada said they have several questions that needs to be answered by those in-volved in the planned line of credit.

Torres is asking MPLT for at least a $15-million line of credit that will be coursed through the De-partment of Finance. Attao introduced House Bill 21-44 to authorize the line of credit application.

Ada said they are pressed for time on the governor’s request. “This is a major investment decision and we need to have the opinion of all trustees. Each trustee must make a statement on the LOC.

“We have also not yet decided on what numbers are we are going to act on. Right now, we are in a posi-tion to either grant or deny the request. We agreed that all of you will be making your individual state-ments on the LOC request. Further delay on the LOC request is not conducive to the governor’s re-quest, since April 26 was when we needed to re-spond back to the governor on our decision. If we approved the LOC, how much would it be?”

MPLT has $5.1 million cash on hand that is ready to be dispensed to the government but they are still waiting for an additional $2.4 million from the De-partment of Public Lands, which should have been remitted Tuesday.

MPLT administrator Bobbie Reyes said she has not received any communication from DPL about the transfer. “I called them and they said that, once they confirmed it, they would email us. I have not re-ceived any email.”

“I talked to Evelyn Sablan, accounting manager, to see if the funds were transferred. I called to inquire if the $2.4 million has been transferred to our ac-count. And she said that she has not received any confirmation from the bank and it was 4:15pm when I called her,” Reyes added.

Ada said they would check on that and would give it one more day. “The $2.4 million—we extended it for another day because the liquidation process takes a little time. We expect it to be remitted but give it another day, another 24 hours.”

The $15-million line of credit would cover the gov-ernment’s bond payment of $4.5 million and $10.5 million for its Settlement Fund obligation from June to September of fiscal year2019.

Among the questions MPLT trustees want answered are the government’s mode of payment, whether it would be monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Ada, Hocog (Rota), former House speaker Pedro R. Deleon Guerrero, former senator Maria Frica T. Pangelinan, and Peter Q. Cruz of Tinian complete the MPLT board of trustees. Ada and Hocog are al-so former members of the House of Representatives in the CNMI Legislature.

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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