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Last updateTue, 20 Nov 2018 12am

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    Sunday, November 18, 2018-11:15:34P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Senators talk about CUC jobs, typhoon recovery efforts

FILLING critical job positions at the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. was among the issues that the Senate discussed on Friday during a session held in the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. conference room.

Sen. Paul A.  Manglona said CUC should “seriously consider training local people” to fill critical jobs, specifically diesel mechanic positions, so the governor can stop declaring a state of emergency for the utilities agency.

Manglona, who was first elected to the Senate in 1987, said “it’s about time that local people are trained to do the job” so that there will be no need to declare an emergency that justifies the hiring of foreign workers.

Senate President Arnold I. Palacios agrees, and noted that filling certain jobs is a long-standing concern. He said they should continue to help CUC address the issue.

Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar said he had visited CUC’s power plants and saw how the workers there do their job.

“Yes, I do agree that we need to train our own people so they can be hired and can fill jobs that foreign workers hold right now, but it’s not that simple and it’s not that easy,” he added. “CUC tried that already. [It] removed foreign workers and replaced them with local people, but we still need certain skilled workers.”

Igisomar said CUC still lacks manpower, “and that’s why it is still important that [CUC is] allowed to hire critical employees, and right now the only way to do that is through a state of emergency declaration.”

The senators on Friday also discussed the ongoing typhoon-recovery efforts.

Senate President Palacios thanked the Legislative Bureau staff for volunteering to assist in the water distribution at the Garapan Fishing Base.

Since the U.S. Air Force set up a reverse-osmosis water system at the fishing base, Palacios said lawmakers and the LB staff led by Director Antonio Sablan have volunteered to assist in distributing free water to residents from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight daily.

Palacios likewise commended Igisomar for volunteering to train residents in setting up tents for families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Typhoon Yutu.

He has designated Igisomar as the Senate representative to work with other agencies on recovery efforts.

On Tinian, Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider said water is “back on line and CUC is also working on the power poles.”

He added that one of the two gas stations on Tinian has re-opened to provide fuel to residents.

Hofschneider commended CNMI, municipal and federal officials and agencies working collaboratively to help Tinian recover from Typhoon Yutu which devastated the island on Oct. 24-25.

The Seabees who successfully rebuilt houses on Rota after Typhoon Mangkhut are now on Tinian to start the rebuilding process for the residents there, Hofschneider said.

He added that the Seabees will also do the same for Saipan residents.