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House wants NMI Labor to streamline, expedite PUA applications

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THE House of Representatives on Thursday adopted a resolution urging Gov. Ralph DLG Torres to advise the CNMI Labor secretary to streamline the applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

From left, Reps. Roman Benavente, Richard Lizama and Joe Flores wore face-masks and sat one seat apart from each other during the House session on Thursday.


Photo by Emmanuel T. Erediano

 

All the 20 House members voted to pass House Resolution 21-24 which was authored by House Floor Leader John Paul Sablan.

Rota Rep. Donald Manglona, Tinian Rep. Antonio Borja and House Minority Leader Edwin Propst attended the session via teleconference. The rest of the members, along with the Legislative Bureau staff, wore face-masks. The chamber itself was “re-arranged” so that everyone could observe social-distancing.

H.R. 21-24 states that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES Act, which created, among other things, a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for workers not covered by unemployment insurance will be managed in the CNMI by the local Department of Labor. Under the PUA program, eligible workers will each receive $600 per week in addition to weekly benefits.

“The Legislature would like to strongly encourage Governor Torres advise the secretary of NMI Labor to collect a compiled list of all furloughed employees both from public and private sectors, in order to expedite the application process and the issuance of the PUA and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits to qualified individuals, that will mitigate the impact of the corona virus pandemic,” the resolution stated

Sablan said he anticipates that thousands of people in the CNMI will apply for the program so “it is extremely critical that a streamlined process is implemented to expedite the application process and the issuance of benefits at the earliest.”

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