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House panel to meet with CNMI DOL

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CNMI Department of Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente was invited to meet with the House Committee on Federal and Foreign Affairs  to discuss the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program today, Monday, in the House chamber.

In a previous meeting, committee members discussed the concerns of their constituents regarding PUA payments.

“Primarily, the basis of having [a] dialogue with the Labor secretary is pretty much to get to the reasoning behind the delay in processing claims and issuing out payments,” said the committee chairman, Rep. Luis John Castro.

House Committee on Federal and Foreign Affairs Chairman Luis John Castro is interviewed by local media. Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

“Several of us [committee members] have reached out in regards to how the process goes…and we know that the department is trying its best to complete the process for all the applicants, yet, aside from that, there are still a handful of questions we as members of the committee have.”

He said since PUA is a federal payment, the committee, which has purview over federal matters, needs to know what is causing the payment delays.

In its letter, the committee said should Secretary Benavente be unable to be present at this meeting, she can designate a representative to attend on her behalf.

The other committee members are Reps. Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero, Ivan Blanco, Joel Camacho, Richard Lizama, Tina Sablan, and Ralph Yumul.


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