Dec 31, 2009
Wow. Is that community service or what? NMC's BOR has always been fascinating and intriguing that makes one spectator in the meeting shrug in amusement.
Congratulations to Ms. King and former chair Cepeda for being reconfirmed.
Here's the entire news about it on Saipan Tribune.
Dec 24, 2009
Dec 8, 2009
Congratulations to all the brave candidates that showed interest in helping make this little world a better place....
HA-wonder what's g'na HA-ppen to HA-vryone this new term....
Is it g'na BE a more BE-a-utiful term this time?
Nov 30, 2009
Now that federalization has been implemented what can this do again? You tell me....
Here's the email message:
KABABAYANS, CLASSMATES, COLLEAGUES, CO-EMPLOYEES, FRIENDS, RELATIVES, SUPPORTERS AND SYMPATHIZERS
PLEASE HELP US TO OUR PLIGHT. FEDERALIZATION LAW WILL BE APPLIED IN THE U.S. COMMONWEALTH OF NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS- U.S. CNMI, BEGINNING NOVEMBER 28, 2009.
BY SIGNING THE PETITION AT THE WEBSITE BELOW YOU ARE ALREADY HELPING US. THIS IS A WORLDWIDE CAMPAIGN SO EVERYBODY CAN SIGN IN, REGARDLESS OF NATIONALITIES. YOUR HELP IS OUR FUTURE. WE NEED A GREEN CARD BECAUSE MOST OF US HAVE BEEN WORKING IN THE CNMI FOR MORE THAN FIVE YEARS OTHERS ARE TEN, FIFTEEN AND TWENTY (MOST OF US ARE HERE IN SAIPAN) AND WE DON'T WANT TO GET SEPARATED FROM OUR FAMILY ESPECIALLY TO OUR U.S. CITIZEN KIDS AT THE END OF THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD, WHICH IS BETWEEN 2009-2014) http://www.thepetitionsite.com/tell-a-friend/ 5925296
THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND GOD BLESS AMERICA.
Nov 20, 2009
We pray for the victims...
"A man shot and killed four individuals before turning the gun on himself in two separate shootings in Marpi and Kannat Tabla.Details of the shootings are still sketchy.In the Kannat Tabla shooting, the fatalities were two men in their late 20s and early 30s, both local residents, and two children under 10 years old. The two adult victims sustained gunshot wounds in the head, and police are saying they were shot at close range.The shooter then proceeded to Last Command Post and shot a group of mostly Korean tourists, wounding eight. The victims included two Korean children. He then went to Banzai Cliff where he shot himself."CNN iReport also published the story....this story puts Saipan back in the map...
Follow the story on Saipan Tribune.
Nov 9, 2009
Nov 7, 2009
Nov 3, 2009
As the entire CNMI gears up for election this weekend, news today says that the incumbent discloses apprehensions on changing leadership in the time of crisis.
The incumbent according to Saipan Tribune expressed that it would be “very risky' for the CNMI to vote for a governor without proven leadership, especially in these challenging times amid federalization and economic recovery concerns. House Speaker Arnold I. Palacios, who is the running mate of gubernatorial candidate Rep. Heinz S. Hofschneider of the Republican Party, says “change is inevitable.”
Are you ready for the big "Change?" Our poll, which is proven unreliable, is up for the BE tandem.
'Happy Elections' everyone!
Oct 25, 2009
However, this "Umbrella" in the CNMI is about the permit that will be distributed to the "alien" or contract workers that according to Saipan Tribune about 9,000 to 11,000 will be given away next week. Ahhh...sounds like a winning prize in a Wheel of Fortune game on TV.
So, what do you think of this move from the CNMI Dept. of Labor?
Oct 12, 2009
According to the online news that the government will have this option to fill the void at the Commonwealth Health Center. According to the report, the Governor finds it a logical move since there are challenges hiring doctors from the mainland or Canada.
The report also said this option makes sense since the CNMI has been referring its sick people to Manila for treatment.
The CNMI has not attracted American practitioners due to its compensation package that's not at par with the mainland rates. Hence, recruiting physicians and specialists from neighboring countries might be attractive because of the dollar rates being offered.
However, the report also said the CNMI has to comply with the federal requirements in order for the islands to receive medical insurance and financial assistance.
So, what can the islands do about this? Somebody has to look after the health of its people right?
Oct 6, 2009
What are these funds for and how should they use it? Should the public need to know? What are the recent projects that the community has benefited from these funds so far?
Saipan Tribune reports that "Some lawmakers once again exceeded their quarterly discretionary fund allotments and therefore had to borrow from their colleagues or ask for the reprogramming of at least $9,112 in April to June to cover for budget shortfalls, up from the reprogramming of almost $7,000 in January to March...Each lawmaker was allotted $22,367 in the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2009 or from April to June, lower than the $26,217 allotted during January to March."
Sep 29, 2009
Recent news that Rep. Kilili, a vocal supporter of federalization for a long time has introduced a bill to delay the implementation of a federalized immigration and labor system in the CNMI until 2010.
While he's told the entire CNMI his reasons for his introduced bill, do you support this move?
For more info about the bill read on Saipan Tribune....
On related news, the contract workers led by United Workers' Movement request for the bill to include those that have been working in the CNMI legally for five years and extend the same privilege of staying in the Marianas for full five years starting this November....
Sep 22, 2009
The CNMI elected Tina Sablan to the Congress why not to being a mayor, right?
This move from Mayoral candidate Angelo Villagomez has captured and divided the islands' opinions.
As the defunct Fugees would say "Ready or Not" here he comes...
Best of luck.
On Related News:
"9 Saipan mayoral bets present priorities." Read full story on Saipan Tribune.
Sep 18, 2009
New issue? Old story? You tell me....
The survey, which had respondents like doctors, nurses and individuals from the community, showed results that "mismanagement, doctor shortage, inadequate procurement practices, and poor records and billing systems at the Commonwealth Health Center are among the issues identified in a patient survey and employee evaluation done by the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare."
Read the story from Saipan Tribune.
Sep 12, 2009
(Sept 15) THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING FOR TINIAN IS CANCELED AS OF 2 AM CHST.
THE TYPHOON WATCH FOR TINIAN AND SAIPAN IS CANCELED AS OF 2 AM
THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING FOR SAIPAN REMAINS IN EFFECT.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING AND A TYPHOON WATCH REMAIN IN EFFECT FOR
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS TROPICAL STORM-FORCE WINDS ARE
IMMINENT OR OCCURRING. A TYPHOON WATCH MEANS TYPHOON-FORCE WINDS
OF 74 MPH OR MORE ARE POSSIBLE.
Sep 9, 2009
Tonight, September 9, 2009, Saipan Mayoral candidate Angelo O’Connor Villagomez will be holding a kickoff fundraising event for his bid for Mayor of Saipan.
The event will take place at the Aqua Resort Club’s Vino Lounge from 5:30 – 7:30. There will be live entertainment and all of this year’s will be on hand to answer questions voters may have in person. The suggested donation is $20 and includes one free drink from the bar.
If elected Villagomez has promised to continue his work beautifying the island of .
Villagomez added, “I will focus on having clean and safe villages and well-maintained tourist sites. I will support community programs that aren’t getting the support they are getting now and I will build an affordable and humane animal shelter. I will work for better island planning, a system of parks and trails, a comprehensive plan, and the paving of roads that are affecting the . Finally, I will restore accountability, honesty, accessibility and openness to the Mayor’s Office.”
Supporters who cannot make the event tonight can donate online using Paypal:
(This is a PR. This post is per Angelo's request. Those who want to comment about this can comment directly on his website.)
Sep 1, 2009
But wait, the other newspaper reported it was close to $1M? By the way, MV's report is too short or perhaps just being concise? We want to know more why it's close to $1M.
What's the significance of this data to the public again? According to Rep. Sablan, the documents might raise more questions than answers.
On the brighter side, the local government got a discount. In this recession, we'll take it, right?
For more info visit Saipan Tribune and Marianas Variety today....
Aug 25, 2009
While the news does not reveal the source of its report that convicted former Lt. Gov. and his sister and brother-in-law have been flown to a federal prison in the US. The islands are saddened about this news. The islands, where family matters most are grieving yet trying to believe that all this mayhem might have just confirmed that justice can still prevail in this world.
Six and Seven. These are the numbers our fellow islanders will be holding on in the years to come....
(photo and link: Saipan Tribune)
Aug 18, 2009
Aug 11, 2009
The Middle Roaders are one with the islands mourning Dr. Rita Inos' death. We wish the family our condolences.
As far as we've personally known her as a public servant, she has been a symbol of leadership, intelligence and compassion for the island's children. She will surely be missed.
For full story click here....
Aug 10, 2009
1. First, I would continue to advocate for greater transparency in the Senate as I have done these past 18 months in the House, and would continue to openly communicate my positions on the issues and actions taken in the Legislature as I have done as a member of the House.
2. Second, the Senate plays an important role in many ways as a check on the actions of the lower House, which is and has been the primary source of legislation of all kinds; I would take this role as seriously as I have taken every vote I have cast as a member of the House.
3. (And) third, I believe that as a Senator I would be in an excellent position to help improve the process by which confirmations of appointments to critical government boards and commissions are made. for board and commission appointments are functions unique to the Senate for the most part, and unfortunately these functions have not been carried out as diligently as they should have been in prior years, with often negative consequences. As Senator I would be committed to carefully scrutinizing the backgrounds and qualifications of all gubernatorial nominations, and exploring ways to improve the confirmation process formally through legislation.
Right move? You tell us....
Aug 5, 2009
Full Story picked from Saipan Tribune...
Villagomez sentenced to 87 months in prison
Former lieutenant governor Timothy P. Villagomez, former Commerce Secretary James A. Santos, and Joaquina V. Santos, were sentenced today in the District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands as follows:
Villagomez was sentenced to 87 months imprisonment, three years supervised release and restitution in the amount of $346,125;
James A. Santos was sentenced to 78 months imprisonment, three years supervised release, a fine of $25,000 and restitution in the amount of $346,125; and
Joaquina V. Santos was sentenced to 78 months imprisonment, three years
supervised release, a fine of $25,000 and $346,125 restitution.
All three defendants are jointly and severally liable for the $346,125 restitution to the
Commonwealth Utilities Corporation.
Aug 1, 2009
1. CUC is broken - Juan Pan
2. CUC "was" broken, not anymore - Gov. Fitial
3. Lt. Gov. candidate Dr. David Borja present not his running mate.
4. Borja said "right fuel" should be acquired for CUC.
5. Borja's team to kill fuel surcharge.
6. Fitial said his current admin "allocates over 20 percent of the general fund to primary and secondary education, a lot more than the 15 percent mandated by the Constitution."
7. Juan Pan questioned otherwise.
8. Heinz dug up for the CNMI and US DEA relations.
9. Fitial said there's a misunderstanding there.
10. Fitial said DEA is stricter due to local enforcers' involvement.
11. Guerrero agreed with Fitial but to avoid "politicking."
12. Heinz said to bring the "Hafa Adai" spirit in this economy.
13. Candidates said teen pregnancy is the most pressing youth issue.
This time the candidates were seated. I don't think some candidates' knees could take the "debate" standing anymore...
Full story here.
Jul 29, 2009
The report said that "the three-year, court-enforced consent decree will resolve four EEOC discrimination lawsuits against the employers and their affiliates: Tan Holdings Corporation; Tan Holdings Overseas, Inc.; Concorde Garment Manufacturing Corp.; Micro Pacific, Inc.; Seasonal Inc.; and L&T International Corp.
The EEOC filed the cases in U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands."
Jul 28, 2009
Okay. Not bitter here (ya think) though we lost our laptops some years ago and never got it back.
Are we ever going to feel safe ever again after this report?
Jul 18, 2009
Yet, it couldn't stop me to wonder what had happened when the Juan-Galvin campaign manager jumped over the other party's fence, so I've heard and read. This makes me think, is the Heinz-Arnold tandem sure that the island's Republicans will really go and vote for them? Or, how are they going to know for sure that the Juan-Galvin supporters will have their votes this coming elections?
As we've said before, if the islands want the current administration to change, why divide the opposition?
I personally see that the green color will still be the fad this year. Of course, I could be wrong too...
Jul 9, 2009
Does this mean if we refer to the college in the future we will have to say GCSC-NMC or CSC-NMC? Way too long...
As the bill honors the former governor of the CNMI that led to the establishment of the community college, why can't we just name a building or a wing after his glory? Why does it have to be the entire college? It's a state college not a private one right?
But, who we are to decide anyway. It's still just a bill about a name game.
Well, here's to waiting for a bill to provide more incentives such as scholarships for local students to motivate them, and to enhance their skills and intellect so they can be more productive citizens of the CNMI. Cheers!
Jul 5, 2009
From the news recently, when defending lawyers wrote the DC about former Lt. Governor's virtues:
"Lawyer Robert T. Torres, who served as counsel for former Commonwealth Utilities Corp. executive director Anthony C. Guerrero in the Rydlyme corruption case, wrote a letter yesterday to the federal court to enumerate the good virtues of former Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Villagomez....“[Villagomez] is a good man who has committed a bad offense but Tim remains a brother and I remain grateful for his guiding hand in my formative years,” the former attorney general said." (ST)
Jul 2, 2009
This is to announce that Professor Rose Cuison Villazor of Hofstra University Law School will be on island next week, delivering free public presentations on Article XII and U.S. immigration law.
The presentation on "Article XII and Other Blood Quantum Land Laws" is scheduled for Tuesday, July 7, 2009 @ the American Memorial Park Visitors Center from 6pm to 8pm.
The "Basic Family-Based and Employment-Based Immigration Law Workshop" is scheduled for July 8, 2009 @ the Multipurpose Center, from 7:30pm-9pm. Sponsored by the Coalition for the Recognition of Ethnic American Minorities (CREAM), this workshop will provide a general understanding of family-based and employment-based immigration law. Topics that may be covered include immigration petitions based on marriage to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident; petitions filed by relatives who are U.S. citizens; and sponsorship by employers. The workshop will be designed for a general audience unfamiliar with federal immigration law.
Jun 28, 2009
Jun 25, 2009
Jun 20, 2009
Do you think a commercial building or a space for local government agency will cost $20 per square foot?
Well, apparently one space that is being occupied by a federally granted program is being rented out for that deal. According to sources this program had to justify to the feds about its expenses specifically the rental space for its operation. In the letter to the feds, the space they require is being rented out to them for $20 per square foot. The feds eventually approved the request.
However, this has posed a question to some about the reality of a rental space fee in the CNMI specially during a recession....
Jun 16, 2009
Jun 8, 2009
Birthdays. Anniversaries. Yes. Parties are best with balloons as decors. Furthermore, the movie Up is now showing at the Hollywood Theater.
The CNMI rides the most expensive balloon as the news today reports that CHC's Dialysis Center project and construction cost has "ballooned" from $5M to $22M. The Legislature will probe further with the issue when a "recent discovery that the Food and Drug Administration certification for the new facility's reverse osmosis water system was forged."
While the public health secretary is away, his reliever has to answer all the inquiries with regard to the matter.
Jun 6, 2009
However, the report says that the current Commissioner is pointing his fingers to the former administration for promoting an officer. He says that there are other officers that have been serving the community for 10 years. He continues saying in his administration he practices fairness et al.
Discriminatory act or not?
Will this affect the the police officers' service to the community, considering that they "could" hold and carry grudges toward DPS?
Jun 3, 2009
“I have received word from the Department of Agriculture officials in Washington and in the Western Regional Office of the that they will be notifying the Governor probably this week that there is another $1.459 million available for the NMI .
“I have written to Secretary Vilsack to say thank you. These are difficult times in the Northern Marianas; and families on food stamps need all the help they can get.”
Kilili asked Vilsack for the extra funding in February after passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act did not include the Marianas in a 13.86% across-the-board increase in food stamp benefits nationally.
“The NMI doesn’t participate in the food stamp program by statute, so when the statute was changed we were left out,” said Sablan.
Sablan lobbied Vilsack to correct the oversight; and the Secretary agreed to reprogram $1.459 million to give the Northern Marianas the same 13.86% increase as the rest of the country.
Vilsack also agreed to keep the Northern Marianas at par in the event of future changes in the benefit amount. In a May 8 letter to House and Senate appropriations subcommittee chairs Vilsack wrote that “[f]uture funding increases for CNMI will be aligned with [American Samoa] and [Puerto Rico].”
Sablan said that the local government will still be required to submit a budget for expenditure of the new money for approval by the Western Regional Office in order to begin drawing down the money. He said he had written the Governor to give him a heads up on this requirement.
“My hope is that the Governor will budget the full $1.459 million for benefits and not remove anything for administrative costs,” Kilili said.
“Food stamp recipients in the Northern Marianas deserve the same 13.86% increases as food stamp recipients everywhere in the U.S.”
The CNMI was scheduled to receive $10.7 million from the food stamp program in FY09. Because of Kilili’s efforts the CNMI will now get $12.1 million.(PR) will soon be available for recipients in the NMI.
Jun 2, 2009
...About the planned flag-carrier of the CNMI.
...About the first call center on the island.
...About the loan-shark and convict that escaped from the hospital some years ago.
...About the murder of a Korean landlord back in 2005.
...About the planned hyperbaric chamber for CHC.
...About the pending animal pound on Saipan.
...About Paseo De Marianas' multimillion dollar uplift.
Jun 1, 2009
Through the grapevine, the legislator's party is trying to convince Rep. Sablan to consider a second term that she has done a tremendous job so far. What do you think?
Has she gone tired of the challenges e.g. the alleged detractors up in the Legislature? Has she realized that she's been depriving herself the joy of youth in this world?
I once heard again through the juiciest grapevine that public officials encourage some community members not to take the vocal and youthful representative seriously. Some consider her the young Rep. Stanley T. who has been a "critic" or a watchful eye in the local government. However, some envision Rep. Sablan to be the next governor of the CNMI.
What could make the young legislator back down if not back out of the complexities to run a Commonwealth, if not a nation?
Lastly, is it Angelo Villagomez' turn to shine in politics?
May 24, 2009
These are the words or phrases I would hear from cop flicks when I was a kid. Those police officers in blue, well ironed cop suits with their guns sticking out around their firm and masculine grip...
Yet, this is not about it.
News today says that despite the budget cut the local government has found to have hired new staff - a clinical staff and an admin staff - which defied the freeze hiring budget measures coming from up there....(arrows pointing up)
Hmmm....Should we even bother look into this? Should we trouble ourselves looking into whom has the government hired e.g. affinity to the ones that hired them?
Oh well, again, you tell me....
May 19, 2009
When the foreign workers on Saipan cry for help, they're also in unison. Harmonious? I don't know. Now the group turns to the Philippine president, what good would that do to them?
Recently the Philippine Government has been fraught with international or foreign crises when at least two of its contract workers faced death sentences from the host countries where they worked. One was given a life sentence instead. The other was not that lucky.
Now, the Filipino workers turn to the Philippine president...
If it didn't work, who's next?
More in the news....
May 13, 2009
For a while there was a also a debate whether the AG should be voted on or elected by the NMI people. This the Governor just shrugged on the idea.
If you were a practicing lawyer, would you give it up and serve the islands? The people?
Ok. I remember when I saw some OAG staff during the oath taking of the current governor in 2005 that they raised their eyebrows when they found out that the current governor selected the former AG, hence most of them left their posts. I still can remember the faces they made. Either they were disappointed or were shocked with the selection. I also heard these former OAG staff were also from the clout of Gov. Babauta's selected AG back then.
Politics. Don't you love it....
May 6, 2009
According to the news today, each tandem has signed an "accord" that whoever gets wins the primary poll should commit its full support and not run as independent candidates. This accord reportedly and hopefully ended that speculation.
Yet again, anything can happen on Saipan.
I hope the party thinks and strategizes very well and not divide the opposition if they opt to win this year's election.
So, again a little survey here. Which GOP tandem do you think should battle head to head with the Covenant Party (Fitial-Inos)?
You tell me....
Apr 30, 2009
The Governor said in the report that you "don't kick someone who is all ready down" in the dumps. He said it would be "un-Catholic" of him if he would add insult to injury.
I guess, it's just human nature to feel compassion to people who committed misdeeds. Besides, the Governor has worked with his partner years and years and for sure the Lt. Gov. has become one of his closest allies. Yet, this things happen.
On this island friendship and families matter the most. I remember some people's relatives would commit theft and other crimes and they would try to go to the media crying, trying to stop the press. "He's my uncle...She's my parent's cousin...He's a son of the former politician...," and so on.
The governor in the news said what happened to the Lt. Gov. should serve a warning to all.
On the other hand Rep. Sablan said, “My point, which the governor missed entirely, is that we should be lifting up all the people of the commonwealth who were victims of the crimes committed, and praising the people who demonstrated so much courage and worked so hard to bring this case to justice and uphold the rule of law.”
Apr 29, 2009
Yes. The local nonresident workers are up to it again for their voice to be heard once again.
I first read about this from Unheard No More blog but the news today says that the Dekada Movement would be joining the “May Day” rally on May 1. The group is calling on all workers in the Commonwealth-local and foreign alike-to unite and join in this celebration and call to action.
The rally will start at Fishing Base across the Kristo Rai Church in Garapan at 6pm on Friday and proceed to the American Memorial Park's amphitheater.
“The business community and general public should also join this effort because they have common interests and the economic future of the CNMI depends on capitalizing on those common interests,” according to Dekada president Boni Sagana in a statement issued yesterday.
Apr 27, 2009
Hey, who da thunk it?
That the infamous Playboy Magazine publishes investigative reports? WTH?
Well, they do apparently sending one writer to the CNMI, stayed at the PIC and immersed with the hotel's clubmates.
Paradise Lost. That's the title of the five-online page article. The article zeroes in how clubmates more than assist hotel guests and "F-around." According to the news today, the hotel manager denied the majority of the content of the story. "All made up characters."
As I read through, I noticed that the writer hid the actual people behind nicknames. I know one of them whom he named "Jim" that decided to work to teach soccer to the Marianas kids....
Another tourism piece for the CNMI?
The writer, a white guy, used to be a common face on the island. I didn't know that he's an award winning writer. He also wrote one notable book that talked about labor practices in the US that included the CNMI. A friend of mine met him a long time ago. He also had an Asian wife or a girlfriend. However, I heard they had a falling out at that time. Oh my, 'been watching too much "Gossip Girl" ;-)
Apr 26, 2009
According to the report the verdict was handed down so fast that it "caught spectators and the media et al off guard." The sentencing, however, has been set in July and the defendants are free prior to sentencing.
In the news, the current governor expressed remorse for his Lt. Gov. who could face a maximum of 20 years imprisonment.
“But it seems to me that the jurors, when they were asked if this, in fact, was their verdict, they all seemed very confident and so I think the strength of the testimony, especially the employees of CUC, gave the jurors the courage [to come out with the guilty verdict],” the prosecuting lawyer told the media.
Will we ever learn from all this? Hmmm....
Update: Lt. Gov. has resigned from his post...read on.
Apr 23, 2009
Hmmm,,,I guess the man has bills to pay too y'know. Perhaps he has done a tremendous assistance to the government office?
Now I wonder what Rep. Tina Sablan's next move on this....
Apr 21, 2009
The government owes $156 million plus 25 percent penalty, as reported, to the Retirement Fund.
I guess when the local government has budget problems, the inevitable domino effect is indeed "in effect." However, does this financial brink make the government get away from its responsibilities?
Every one has to make sacrifices and needs to understand the local situation.
You tell me....
Follow the story here....
Father, hear us as we ask You to rescue the lost from the domain of darkness and bring them into the kingdom of Your Son. You alone can draw and enable them. You alone can send Your Holy Spirit with power to convict them of the sin in their life and their need to repent and believe in Your truth--that Jesus is the only way to You, that He alone is the way, the truth and the life.
Father, we ask you to forgive the sins of the lost. We come in Jesus’ name to demolish the strongholds in their minds that those sins have allowed. We come in the authority of Jesus’ name to overcome the power of the enemy in their lives, to ask You to bind evil spirits away from them in the name of Jesus and the blood of the Lamb through the word of our testimony.
We come against the blinding of their minds and ask that You send someone to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light; help us to be willing to go. Father, don’t let their hearts be hardened, but open their hearts to receive Your truth. Rip away any veil that covers their hearts, any false teaching that confuses their minds. Help them to hear your Word with power and conviction as the Word of God and not the word of man. Give them understanding, so that Satan will not be able to steal Your Word from their hearts.
Father, help them see their need for a Savior, to know they must confess their sins, repent and believe--or they perish. Help them choose Your mercy and Your gift of faith, to believe with their hearts and confess with their mouths, Jesus is Lord. We ask in Your will, that not any should perish. In Jesus’ name, amen.(Kaye Johns)
Apr 17, 2009
United Airlines to charge double for obese passengers...
In the story, the airline management shared with the media that they've received legitimate complains about horizontally challenged passengers on the plane occupying two seats or cramping travelers seated in the middle of three seat rows or columns.
Have you had similar stories? ;-)
(Photo from Fat Man Unleashed blog/Davezilla.)
Apr 13, 2009
Well, Fernandez has reaped a lot of challenges vis-a-vis with criticisms from her peers and the former founding president.
I remember she won the seat with intrigues and a warning from some concerned citizens here in the CNMI. I also remember that a letter was sent to the newspaper informing the dailies that this president used to be a senator and also a dean of a college in Guam. According to that letter to the editor this president also mismanaged that so-called college in Guam.
Oh well, let's see what happens now. It's in the hands of the BOR. Btw, how competent is this board anyway? Just asking....
Apr 9, 2009
I guess, in the end, licensed or not, Tinian needs a doctor to treat its people.
Again, this doctor as witnesses would attest is not really adept to his profession. There were complains about this doctor in the past that I believe some of you are aware of. Won't delve further....
For the news report click here.
Apr 8, 2009
Is Article 12 nearing its end by 2011? This discussion has long been on the table for the past years and this year a group has been aggressively pushing for its abolition. During the recent Rotary Club of Saipan meeting the coalition took the stage to talk further about the issue. Some Rotarians are also members of this group.
According to the group Article 12 has been dubbed "discriminatory" a thousand times before. Is it really?
I long wonder if abolishing Article 12 will help boost the economy at all....They say Americans on the island can finally buy properties and help with the tax system in the CNMI.
However, the issue mainly revolves around the kith and kins of Northern Marianas descents will automatically acquire or inherit the properties their parents will leave them.
Oh well, you tell me....
For more news, click here.
Apr 3, 2009
The Lt. Gov. trial has begun after a long time. Do you think this trial will end before the election?
Well witnesses involved in the "fiasco" have been testifying that they only proceeded with the procurement of the so-called rydlyme based on the signature of approval from the Lt. Gov. Hmmm...didn't the Gov. nod on this one too?
Anyway, to keep track on the developments of this trial here are links:
(photo taken from Unheard No More!)
Apr 1, 2009
Below is a copy of the press release from Rep. Kilili's office in DC regarding the implementation of federalized immigration and labor in the CNMI:
NMI Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Richard Barth, and Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans, and Wildlife met today in Bordallo’s office on Capitol Hill. Barth delivered the notification from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that she had granted a 180-day delay in the commencement of federal immigration control in the Northern Marianas. Barth said the Department had listened to many people on the issue of the delay and that the decision was in many ways collaborative. “It’s the right thing to for you… It’s the right thing to do for us,” Barth told the two Members of Congress.
Kilili and Bordallo receive notification
Kilili sets out goals for regulations DHS must now write
Washington, D.C. – Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has decided to delay commencement of federal immigration in the Northern Marianas by 180 days. Assistant Secretary Richard Barth delivered Napolitano’s decision to Capitol Hill today, presenting a copy of the notification to Chairwoman Madeleine Bordallo and NMI Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan.
The decision came just a few days after the powerful Congressional Hispanic Caucus, of which Sablan is a member, weighed in on the issue, writing to Napolitano and supporting Sablan’s request for the 180-day delay.
“I am glad to finally have the Secretary’s decision,” said Sablan. “We now know with certainty that the transition to federal immigration will begin on November 28, 2009.”
U.S. Public Law 110-229, which extends federal immigration control to the Northern Marianas, set June 1, 2009 as the date for the transition to begin. But the law also gave the Secretary the power to delay the date by 180 days, if needed.
“As I have said before, this is not delay for the sake of delay,” Sablan said. “The reason to push back the date is so that the Department of Homeland Security has enough time to do it right.
“For that reason I have written a new letter to Secretary Napolitano, thanking her for her decision and pledging to work in Congress to make sure there is sufficient money for Homeland Security to stand up its border operations in the Marianas.
“I have also set out a number of proposals regarding the regulations that now need to be written.”
Sablan gave the 9-page letter to Barth at their meeting at Bordallo’s office. Bordallo chairs the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife.
Sablan’s letter identifies 5 different groups of people, who now are legal residents of the Northern Marianas, who may be hurt, if regulations are not carefully written. Sablan said he is particularly concerned about keeping families together. But he also emphasized the requirements of the law, including “as much flexibility as possible in maintaining existing business and other revenue sources, and developing new economic opportunities.”
One concern that applies to several of the groups is whether people will be able to leave the Northern Marianas—for medical emergencies or other reasons—and then be able to get back in. Sablan wants regulations to be written that will allow any legal resident to leave and re-enter without the need for a new US visa.
Sablan is also concerned that families that have both US citizen and non-US citizen members may not be able to afford the cost of getting US visas for the non-US citizen family members. Visas applications are expensive and they require that families earn at least 125% of the federal poverty level.
He has proposed that Secretary Napolitano use her authority to make it more affordable for families to get US visas for spouses, parents, or children.
“I am hopeful that now that the new Obama Administration is settling in we will be able to get down to the nitty-gritty of writing these regulations,” Sablan said. “It’s been almost a year since the law was enacted. It’s time that we start clearing away all the uncertainty that exists without clear regulations.”
Mar 30, 2009
Ahhhh...the ever phrase or line that transcends in a relationship. A word that is just intangible and so hard to hold on to. In this case the island people's trust in the Covenant Party as reported today in the news.
Over a thousand people showed up during the Covenant Party campaign rally recently where Covenant officers and aspiring officials attested that the trust of the people is still with them.
Hmmm. Could this be true?
You tell me.
Mar 27, 2009
Ok. So we don't know if this virus threat released in the news is true or another Y2K hype but it would be nice if we all back up our data and files now. This goes to the local government offices especially those that have finally migrated to electronic services. Have they? That brings me to wonder about these offices if they have sophisticated firewalls and internet securities in place. Are all desktops in these offices protected? Question is are all soon-to-be furloughed employees aware of such technology?
Anyway, it's always better be safe than sorry right? You wouldn't want to lose all important files, labor files, cases, reports et al....
(photo courtesy of ecliptic)
Mar 24, 2009
It is sad to learn, as if we didn't see it coming, that the local government will have to resort to a furlough processes due to a reduced budget for this year. Has it run out of other means and ways to keep its personnel? Perhaps this could be beneficial to reduce some redundancy in the local government offices, if there's any. However, to keep the community "stimulated" we need spenders right?
Austerity Fridays doesn't work anymore? What can the government do to live by the budget this year?
You tell me....
Story about the furlough is here.
Mar 20, 2009
So the site, as the blogger claims is shutting down. That's another one biting the dust. Business is that bad I guess. :-)
The best blog on Saipan so far calling it quits? What gives Lil? I'm sure other bloggers will feast on this news. However, the website's boldness is truly non-pareil.
Hence, we give this tribute to you.
Mar 18, 2009
Ok. So if he lost this forthcoming election but didn't quit politics, where do you think he'll go? Does this mean he is conceding to defeat that early? This report, one can blindfoldedly guess was written by a reporter here on Saipan--throwing stories to the land downunder. The story is short though. Again, I'm guessing the reporter curtly asked the governor and got a brief remark from him. Read on...
Radio Australia--The Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Governor Benigno R. Fitial says he will retire from politics if he loses the election in November.
Pacnews reports the 63-year-old governor has no plans of seeking another office should he and his running mate Finance Secretary Eloy Inos fail to win.
Mr Inos, the chairman of the ruling Covenant Party, says he agreed to join Mr Fitial because he’s not afraid to make unpopular decisions for the benefit of the public.
Among these unpopular policies are the austerity holidays, which imposed pay cuts on some government employees, renting generators from the UK, and suing the US federal government over the federalisation law.
Mar 14, 2009
[If possible, I wish the federalization won't be extended; I have loved Saipan so much that if I return to the Philippines I would have to live a different life that's why I urge you to help us.]These people may once hoped for federalization due to the "grandfathering" possibility yet now....
Rene Reyes, president of the Coalition of United Workers NMI, said most of the over 1,500 letters they received as of Sunday were written by Filipinos or their relatives.
Reyes, 42, and who has been on Saipan for almost 21 years, said they didn’t expect to receive many letters.
“We received a very positive response from the community. We never thought we’ll receive this many letters in one day," Reyes told GMANews.TV.
Pedro S. Alonzo, 53, went to Saipan on Feb. 16, 1989 as an overseas Filipino worker (OFW).
“The whole 20 years I work, I have contributed already so I am asking don’t extend (the federalization for) 180 days because my permit is expiring on June 2 of this year and I still want to continue working on Saipan because I love this place already and I like to continue supporting my children in the Philippines," he said in his handwritten letter.
Mar 12, 2009
The entire contract workers community is now bracing themselves with fidgeting hands, frail and perspiring in anxieties. On one side, this community is in regret why the federalization was handed down. On the other side, still hopeful for a better immigration status for them.
In this scenario, we are now looking at divided groups and one can only wonder what's going to happen next.
You tell me....
By MONETH G. DEPOSA
and HAIDEE V. EUGENIO
SAIPAN TRIBUNE REPORTERS
Saipan Tribune asked Marie Thérèse Sebrechts, the regional media manager for the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Michael Aytes, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting deputy director, to separate fact from fiction relating to the federalization of CNMI immigration:
Question: Many nonresident workers are hoping for an “organic” type of federalization this June, similar to what happened in Guam. Is this possible?
Sebrechts: When you talk about organic type of federalization of immigration and whether it's going to be like Guam, it's not. What happened here at the time of the Covenant when people got U.S. citizenship was the type of organic change. This time it's different. It's not the same thing at all as what happened in Guam. We already did that “organic” in the CNMI in 1986 when we allowed people who were born here to become U.S. citizens. We already did that and it's ongoing and hasn't changed.
Q: Foreign parents of U.S. citizen kids are convinced that they would be allowed to stay on island even if they don't have jobs.
Sebrechts: There are no specific provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act and in the CNRA that grant alien parents of U.S. citizen children permission to remain in the United States solely because they have U.S. citizen children. Remember that minors cannot petition for their parents. For those non-U.S. citizen parents who are here because they are working, we have a transitional worker program for them. But there is one thing to remember: If someone is in a position where they can apply for status, they should do it, if they are eligible.
Q: Would foreign parents with U.S. citizen children be given humanitarian considerations and granted a status to remain here?
Aytes: We'll be looking at that on a case-by-case basis. We can't grant them permanent residence. U.S. Immigration law doesn't provide for that but we'll be looking at the age of their children, their circumstances, and [determine] the right answer for each person.
Q: How will federalization affect foreign students? There is a prevalent belief among foreign students that they will also benefit from federalization. Is this correct?
Sebrechts: No. All CNMI immigration categories will be recognized during the transition period for the validity of their current status. Eventually, as with all categories, students will fall under the INA and will apply for student visas to study in the United States. The first step will be for schools to get certified to enroll foreign students. This program is administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. For cultural exchange students, we will have a visa for cultural exchange trips.
Q: Immediate relatives, IRs, believe that they will be granted a better immigration status come June 1, considering that they are either married or related to a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or a resident of Freely Associated States. Is this correct?
Sebrechts: No. This covers too many different situations. If someone is already eligible for U.S. immigration status due to marriage with a U.S. citizen, they can already begin the application process so that they have their status once the federalization of immigration begins. That will be the same option available to them once the transition period begins.
There seems to be misconception that people think that whenever transition begins, everybody will lose their status and that's not true. People will maintain the status that they have as they transition into a U.S. citizen status.
Q: A group of people has been asking for the waiver of green card fees for immediate relatives of U.S. and Freely Associated States citizens. Will you grant their request?
Aytes: We are a fee-based agency. .There are certain types of applications where we will allow the fee waived. The customer can come in, based on their circumstances, and ask that we waive the fee. We will know the facts and decide whether or not to waive the fee. As an agency, we probably don't collect the fees or waive the fees for about 20 percent of our [services]. Where we can, we try to be as flexible and understanding as we can. Decision will be made on a case-by-case basis, not based on a certain class or group of people.
Q: Do you have separate status for IRs?
Sebrechts: No. We won't have IRs as a separate status. Immediate relatives in the United States are petitioned only by immigrants.
Q: Will those foreign workers who leave the CNMI before June 1 be allowed to come in using their CNMI entry/work permit?
Aytes: U.S. law is a little different from the CNMI process. A person needs a visa to come to the CNMI after the transition date, even if they have a status here. Even if we give them status, after the transition date and they travel, they are going to need the appropriate visa to come back.
Q: Many people think they will be trapped here because of that. But should they feel trapped here?
Aytes: No. They won't be trapped here. There are processes for them to file application for us to be able to give them permission to go back and forth. Getting a visa abroad is not an unusual process. It's the same process we use in the mainland.
Q: Would you allow foreign workers who exit the CNMI before the transition period for emergency reasons to come back using a CNMI entry permit, because applying and granted US visa takes weeks?
Aytes: We'll look at emergencies. But the best thing folks can do is pay attention and plan so that if they re going to have to travel or think they may need to travel, their employer, for example, can start the petition process. .I would think employers should have a fair sense of their workers, which folks they are going to help through this process.
Q: How about the case of IRs who have a medical emergency? Can they leave and come back after their treatment?
Sebrechts: They could come to us and discuss the situation and we can maybe parole them. We will have categories that we can do temporarily for emergency cases.
Q: What are the chances of federalization being delayed by 180 more days, as requested by the local government and some businesses?
Sebrechts: USCIS is operating with the current plan for a June 1, 2009 initiation of the transition period. The Secretary of DHS is considering the option of a delay and we expect a final decision within the coming weeks.
Q: Would long-term foreign workers in the CNMI be granted “green cards” once the transition to federal immigration system begins?
Aytes: No, that's not true. We're applying U.S. immigration law. We can't craft new programs to give benefits to folks here under the old CNMI law. We will help them transition but they are not going to be able to get [permanent residence].Temporary workers will not get permanent residence simply because they worked here for a period of years.
Sebrechts: There is no automatic path [to green cards or U.S. citizenship]. Individuals with current valid CNMI worker status may be eligible for transitional worker status or regular worker categories under the INA.
Q: Workers who have lost their jobs have either gone underground or are pursuing other means to stay on the island at least until June 1 in the belief that federalization may provide them an avenue to continue staying in the CNMI or provide them a better immigration status. Is this correct?
Sebrechts: This is too general to answer. Individuals who have CNMI worker status will have an opportunity for “transitional worker” status. Individuals who are uncertain are invited to make an appointment with the USCIS Application Support Center to ask about their status.
However, there's no blanket thing that would make everybody eligible. Going underground is not a smart thing to do because as time goes on, people will start verifying workers under the U.S. immigration law and it would be harder to get a job.
Q: Most foreign workers, and even residents believe that the CNMI will not survive the sudden out-migration of workers that could result from federalization (due to the phase-out requirement of the law). They believe the federal government will not allow that to happen and so holds out hope that, despite prior statements, DHS and Interior will still find a way to accommodate the CNMI's alien workforce so it could continue having a working economy. Is this correct?
Sebrechts:The transition period has been designed specifically to allow the transition of legal workers and residents from valid CNMI status to U.S. Immigration status. As a result, during up to two years, valid CNMI status will be recognized, allowing employers time to file petitions for change of status to either transitional categories or other employment-based categories under the INA.
Q: Who will apply and pay for the transitional worker's visa?
Sebrechts: The employers.
Q: How much would it cost employers to petition their workers to have U.S. work visas and would you grant special rate to CNMI employers?
Aytes: I don't remember the exact fees. Our fees are not as cheap as folks would like them to be, especially employer petitions because of what the employers are asking to be able to hire someone who is not a native of the area instead of an American worker.
Mar 1, 2009
Finally an answer to an old issue. I remember this problem was raised to us two years ago and even made it to the news. Now, three have been arrested for the said modus operandi.
The police discovered about this when the culprits from here squealed when (according to news reports) they had a fight in their very own compound. I wonder how could they admit to the crime. Did the police actually suspect them a long time ago or did they just come across the issue by luck? Also they found out that the suspects are behind the burglary on Saipan? That is just sad. Can we ask them if our stolen macbooks are still there? Dream on right?
This counterfeit actually victimized some tourists way, way back according to restaurant staff members.
For more info about this, click here.
Feb 26, 2009
If you are in tuned to these stories, it seems that our leaders are indeed scrambling for mercy at the helm of the DHS to heed their requests and spare the "economic impact" on controlling the CNMI immigration. There are so many points to consider on both sides. On one side, the impact on certain industries in the CNMI on the other is the security issues within the borders.
Immediate relatives or dependents of US citizen children will lose their status come June 09, Chinese and Russian visitors won't be able to take their affordable vacation on a "US" territory, and finally the nonresident workers will be in limbo.
All these concerns are befuddling every one on the island especially those that are concerned and should be concerned with the issues.
All we can do is to "wait and see."
Feb 20, 2009
The Race is On!
Will he make it this time? Will his attempt to sit on Capital Hill turn into a glorious victory this upcoming elections? Yes, Heinz Hofschneider is up and running once again and this time tagging the House Speaker Arnold Palacios as his running mate.
Do you think this tandem has a better chance than the reported Babauta-Guerrero team-up?
Hofschneider almost snagged the victory from the current governor in 2005 where at first he was leading on initial counting yet in the end the supporters from Garapan district pulled the Covenant tandem up.
(For more news, click here) Photo taken from ST.
Feb 14, 2009
Is it true that Lil Hammerhead has been outed. I was reading, as I was redirected, Jeff Turbitt's blog and there it was front page, that Lil Hammerhead the blogger behind the successful Must Be the Humidity Blog is in fact Roberta Guerrero. Allegedly, Guerrero is the mastermind of the famous, if not infamous, blog in the CNMI.
Turbitt has been saying that there was a witness to attest that Guerrero was seen editing the blog. Then I read the exchanges of comments on Turbitt's blog and by golly, it is pretty getting out of bounds...for me the least.
If Guerrero was proven to be the zany blogger, what would the repercussions be? Would the people that the blog has criticized or commented upon strike back against the wife of the former Saipan Chamber of Commerce better half (as written in the Turbitt's blog comments).
I bet the Must Be the Humidity Blog is getting the hits now. As they say bad publicity still is publicity.
Feb 3, 2009
Jan 29, 2009
Mindboggling yet troublesome for many....
What's the real deal? To whom should we refer these anxieties and queries?
Jan 24, 2009
Do you approve that only Reps. Sablan and Camacho received an "A" while the rest received an "F" rating? Should we believe what was gathered in this likely a personal website? What's the accuracy of this poll? Margin of error?
Should he include the rating or grading of the Governor's Office leaders as well? Speaking of popularity or approval ratings of the local government, would this matter or is it pertinent to have our own approval ratings for the local government?
For more info on this, click here.
Jan 19, 2009
As many of us are still optimistic about the CNMI, we couldn't help but observe and notice some that try to pull everyone down. Yet, we remain hopeful.
Hmmm...but talking about the title of this post. Does getting rid of poker machines answer the many financial questions befuddling the islands? I was able to talk to some business owners whose business depend direly now on the revenues collected from poker machine operations. They said they survive because of the poker machines.
Hence, questions in my mind. Would taking this industry off from the economic contributors list in the CNMI help the local government ease its financial troubles? Some of the community members express that the poker machines provide substantial revenue ($10M as reported earlier) for the local government that if taken out, where would the local government get that significant revenue.
How many poker machine establishment-related crimes have been reported since then? If the community is wary about the social impact of the business, what are the local government agencies doing to control those issues?
For many it is the answer, for some maybe otherwise....
Jan 10, 2009
However, I'm sure the legislators will still work five-days a week to serve the community all week long. Yet, without their staff working in the office on that unpaid day...hmmm...let me rethink about that. Or should I say, let me rethink about the phrase "In service to the community."
About this site
There are several thoughts that have been written on paper, online or on the walls of every NMI building's bathrooms.
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