Sen. Edith E. DeLeon Guerrero (D-Saipan) wants to see for herself documents related to the CNMI Department of Labor’s issuance of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits.
In line with this, DeLeon Guerrero submitted Wednesday last week an Open Government Act request to Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente, requesting production of documents relevant to PUA/FPUC issuance, asking Benavente to submit to her office within 10 calendar days all internal allotment advices related to PUA and PFUC funding.
She also requested, among other documents, the de-obligation documentation of the $14.9 million overpayments collected and returned to federal grantor as stated during Labor’s appearance in the Senate chambers last Feb. 3.
DeLeon Guerrero later told Saipan Tribune that she made the OGA request because she has been receiving a lot of messages from applicants that are still waiting for their application/benefits status.
“It is heartbreaking to see and hear so many families suffering,” she said.
As of press time Thursday, Saipan Tribune was awaiting comments from Office of the Governor press secretary Kevin Bautista.
DeLeon Guerrero said her first OGA request was early last February to the Secretary of Finance office and that she was provided a single fund status sheet dated Jan. 31, 2021. The senator said her review of this single fund status sheet prompted her to request for more documents. To date, she has not received any of the additional documents, despite the numerous follow ups on the additional documents from her visit to the Secretary of Finance office on Feb. 8, 2021.
“These events led to my OGA letter to the CNMI DOL secretary,” DeLeon Guerrero said.
The other documents she is seeking in her OGA request, include documentation on Internal Revenue Service set-asides of $13.6 million as shown on a Jan. 31, 2021 fund status report, drawdown receipts for PUA and PFUC funds from the federal PMS, and most recent fund status reports for PUA and PFUC.
The senator is also requesting PUA and PFUC approved implementation plan(s), all PUA and FPUC funding award notices and corresponding funding recissions (the act of rescinding or cancellation), all press release statements on PUA data, and contract documents pertaining to third-party data management vendor as stated by Patrick Guerrero at his Saipan Northern Islands Legislative Delegation Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee appearance for Lost Wages Assistance oversight last June 1.