NMTI appeals for help to prevent closure

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Posted on Dec 16 2019

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In a last-ditch attempt to save the Northern Marianas Technical Institute from closing, NMTI chief executive officer Agnes M. McPhetres is reaching out to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres to mediate, lest the institute is forced to stop operations starting today, Monday, Dec. 16.

Rep. Edwin K. Propst (Ind-Saipan) raised this concern at the House of Representatives session on Capital Hill last Friday, having read the letter that was addressed to Torres.

“We are now in the last month of the first quarter and have held on as long as we possibly can by drawing on other very limited financial resources. But we are now at the very end of our financial rope,” McPhetres wrote.

The CNMI-Only Transitional Worker program funding is NMTI’s only financial source for ongoing program operations as they do not receive local appropriations in the annual budget.

The letter also stated that they have been informed by Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente that she is currently unable to act on CW disbursements as there is no law giving Benavente expenditure authority over the funds.

Benavente has sought legislative intervention to rectify the situation with regard to fund distribution and management but, with the passage of such a legislation demanding time, a need for a more immediate intervention was sought through the governor.

“Without being too forward, we believe that the most realistic solution would be through gubernatorial mediation at this point. We only offer such a provisional reprieve while such legislation is making its way through both houses of the Legislature,” the letter adds.

Aside from NMTI, Propst also expressed his concern for the Northern Marianas College.

“I also am concerned about NMC. This is December already and NMC has not received their first quarter allotment to date. These are huge concerns. When we talk about supporting NMTI and NMC, we have to ensure that they are receiving the funding,” Propst said.

House Speaker Blas Jonathan T. Attao (R-Saipan) said that the NMTI received $300,000 last Friday, and NMC $1.6 million and another $250,000, also last Friday, and will be getting an additional $250,000 by Tuesday.

Iva Maurin | Author
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 iva_maurin@saipantribune.com

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