Kilili shuts down offices on Saipan, Tinian, Rota

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U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan on Monday is closing his offices on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan

This is “pursuant to [Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’] directive and consistent with the recommendation of the Committee on House Administration that congressional offices follow the guidance of state health departments.”

Kilili said he has also instructed his congressional staff to provide constituent services by electronic means to the maximum extent possible.

In a letter, the congressman thanked Torres for recognizing that the Covid-19 outbreak “requires a significant change in behavior by all of us in the NMI.”

The governor, in his Executive Order 2020-14 on Monday, said all government offices and all non-essential government functions will be shut down for two weeks effective immediately until further notice.

The exempted essential government personnel are those tasked with Covid-19 public health and emergency-related work.

In his letter, Kilili suggested that the governor request President Donald Trump to make a major disaster declaration for the NMI.

“Covid-19 is as much as natural catastrophe as any typhoon, and the economic impact of this virus on our islands is fully apparent,” Kilili told the governor.

Although the president has declared a health emergency nationwide, “a presidential declaration of a major disaster for the Northern Marianas will release considerably greater federal resources to aid the Commonwealth government and the people we serve,” Kilili said.

He added that he is working to include assistance for the NMI in every legislative response to the coronavirus taken by the U.S. Congress.

“The Commonwealth has already been allocated health care funding from the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriation Act 2020, which we passed on March 4 and the president signed on March 6,” Kilili said.

During a press conference at his office on Monday, the governor said his executive order is a public health emergency declaration that will allow the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. to work collaboratively with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services in providing what the NMI needs.

He said he has also written a letter to President Trump asking for financial and other assistance as the Commonwealth tries to cope with its declining economy and revenue shortfall.

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