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US officials kick off Pacific islands tour

DOI secretary announces $1M grant for CNMI

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Saipan--U.S. officials announced a $1.1 million grant from the Office of Insular Affairs’ Technical Assistance Program to support various projects in the CNMI as part of President Joe’ Biden’s Investing in America agenda.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland made the announcement Friday during her trip to Saipan, where she kicked off a week-long visit to the Pacific islands.

During a meeting with the CNMI officials, Haaland highlighted the White House’s “ongoing commitment to protecting and investing in the natural and cultural resources of the U.S. territory.”

Haaland was accompanied by Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor and Deputy Assistant to the President and Asian American and Pacific Islander Senior Liaison Erika L. Moritsugu.

During a meeting with CNMI Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and Lt. Gov. David M. Apatang, the federal officials discussed the ongoing recovery from Typhoon Mawar and the importance of preserving the cultural history of the territory.

The TAP grant is earmarked for the following:

  • $465,035 for the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (Hospital) Operating Room Imaging System; 

  • $250,000 for Typhoon Mawar emergency and recovery support;

  • $241,423 for the CNMI Labor Force Survey;  

  • $132,775 for the CNMI Prevailing Wage Study; and

  • $56,900 for CNMI Veterans Health Transportation for Rota and Tinian


The funding provided for Typhoon Mawar recovery support responds to President Biden’s emergency declaration for the CNMI, which directed federal partners to support and supplement commonwealth and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from the May 24 storm.

While on Saipan, Haaland toured the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation which has received funds from OIA for a number of projects, including a recent grant for a new imaging system in the operating room.

She also visited natural and cultural resources across the island, including Bird Island and Kalabera Cave, which has also been a recipient of OIA funding support. She also honored American veterans by laying a wreath at the American Memorial Park Court of Honor.

In addition to the grants announced by the Secretary in Saipan, OIA provided $1.6 million in FY 2023 TAP funds in June for financial management needs and priorities identified as urgent.

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