House adopts resolution seeking US congressional relief

ON Monday, the House of Representatives adopted House Resolution 20-7 which supports the efforts of a local business group requesting that the U.S. Congress help address CNMI workforce issues.

All 16 members present voted for the resolution introduced by Rep. Angel Demapan. A copy will be included in the package of documents to be presented by the Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corp. when it meets U.S. lawmakers and other federal officials in the nation’s capital Dec. 11-14.

Alex Sablan, the president and spokesman of the group, commended the House action.

“It’s a strong message from the House of Representatives and our people’s leadership that they are in support of our action to seek some reprieve and amend U.S. P.L. 110-229 [the federalization law] as everybody is affected if [the CW] program is not continued. We will try to negotiate to make sure that everything is going to work in the best interests of the commonwealth. Something significant happened in the last few years, and we have these developments before us and we have three hotels that are at risk of closing down because of the workforce issue. We will need everybody employed, every single person that is available to work, because we don’t have enough people. We need to achieve the numbers needed to sustain development. I think the beauty of it is we have an economy, but the sad scenario is we don’t have enough people,” Sablan said in an interview.

He added that they have already gathered several thousand signatures on their petition. They are hoping to reach their target, which is 20,000, before they head to Washington, D.C. this weekend.

He said they will be at the Thursday Market, the Christmas Village, and Christmas in the Marianas this week to gather more signatures.

“Whatever number we finally collect, we will bring the petition with us to D.C. and show it to the federal officials and U.S. lawmakers,” he added.

Speaker Ralph Demapan thanked the members for unanimously supporting the resolution.

“It’s imperative that we adopt the resolution,” he said. “I appreciate that the members supported it unanimously so we can have a unified position on the issue of our workforce.”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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