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Rota mayor to distribute disaster relief to furloughed, terminated employees

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THE Rota mayor’s office will distribute disaster relief packages this Saturday to about 400 terminated and furloughed government and private sector employees.

Mayor Efraim Atalig said funding for the relief packages, which consist of hygiene products, came from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act.

“That’s what the funds are  for,” he said, “to assist people impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The distribution of disaster relief packages will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., July 25, in the conference hall of the mayor’s office.

“I chose to give out non-food items because they really need those things,” Atalig said, adding that residents are also getting food assistance from the Nutrition Assistance Program.

Any “leftover” funds will be used for the operations of the municipal government, he added.

The CNMI government has received $36 million in CARES Act funds, which can only be used to pay for necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency involving Covid-19.

Rota, Saipan and Tinian municipal government each received $200,000 in CARES Act funds.

On Saipan, Mayor David M. Apatang said the funds were used to subsidize the salaries of his 30 remaining personnel until the end of the fiscal year.

The Saipan mayor’s office earlier terminated 38 employees, mostly from the field operations section, in light of the steep reduction in the funding sources of the CNMI government.

Tinian Mayor Edwin Aldan, for his part, said the  furloughed and terminated workers of the island have received food assistance from Friends of CW and the Rotary Club of Saipan so the CARES Act funds were utilized for the operation of the municipal government, including the fuel costs it incurred during the pandemic.

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