11 Apr 2018
- By Lori Lyn C. Lirio – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
NORTHERN Marianas Trades Institute Chief Executive Officer Agnes McPhetres said it was her office that drafted the letter, on behalf of the CNMI Scholarship Office, requesting the Department of Finance to release $144,965.45 in CW fees allotted to NMTI.
She said her office drafted the letter to ease Scholarship office Administrator Rose Pangelinan’s “work load.”
Pangelinan has denied drafting the letter, and Finance declined to process the funding request.
McPhetres said earlier, when they asked Pangelinan about the CW funds, the scholarship administrator told them that she did not have time to address NMTI’s request because she was going on a trip.
“My staff members were trying to be helpful and they drafted a letter so she could sign it,” McPhetres said, referring to Pangelinan.
She said NMTI’s external relations officer, Vic Cepeda, hand-carried the letter to Pangelinan but she refused to see him and sign the letter.
“For whatever reason, Mr. Cepeda went to Finance for help. He should not have gone there,” McPhetres said.
Cepeda said he went to Finance because “usually [the department] is very helpful to us.”
Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson did not process the request as the letter was unsigned by Pangelinan.
McPhetres expressed disappointment with the “hardship” that they are going through just to get the funding allotted by law to NMTI.
Since Oct. 2017, McPhetres said she and the NMTI board members had been trying to meet with Pangelinan.
“I called her office so many times to see if I could talk to her so that I could explain to her a lot of things that were happening here [at NMTI]…. I want to talk to her [personally]…and not to go against her,” McPhetres added.
She said for three straight weeks, Pangelinan’s staff told her that the administrator was in a meeting and that she would call the NMTI officials. “But she never called us,” McPhetres said.
“In order for you to be effective, you need to understand what is going on. If you don’t know what you are getting into, then you can make a lot of wrong decision. I called her up so many times. At one time, I went to her office and she still refused to see me,” McPhetres added.
The former Northern Marianas College president said a trade school is different from traditional school. “This is the most expensive school in an educational system. You need instructors, you need tools, you need equipment, you need consumable materials,” she added.
McPhetres noted that the students attending NMTI are underprivileged and do not have the money to pay for their education.
“In a sense, everything has to be free. In college, they have appropriations for teachers, and the students are eligible for financial assistance — they can buy their own books. Here we have to buy books for our students,” McPhetres said.
“Ms Pangelinan is not the recipient of the CW funds. We are. She is a conduit of those funds. She thinks that’s her money.”
McPhetres said under federal law, CW funds should go to curriculum development and the implementation of educational programs. “Her office, in my opinion, is an obstruction to the implementation of those programs,” McPhetres said.
Variety was unable to get a comment from Pangelinan.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/103597-mcphetres-nmti-drafted-unsigned-letter-to-scholarship-office