At Thursday’s Settlement Fund Trustee Report Review Hearing, NMI Settlement Fund Trustee Joyce C.H. Tang and Judge Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood praised Governor Ralph DLG. Torres and his Administration for diligently making payments to the Settlement Fund and prioritizing the retirees despite the hardships caused by Super Typhoon Yutu and the COVID-19 pandemic.
In her Report of the Trustee, Tang stated that, “in a year of exceptional challenges and disruption, the CNMI continues to recover, and the Government continues to timely pay its bi-weekly Settlement Fund payments.” At Thursday’s presentation to the NMI Federal District Court, Tang noted the fact that making the promised bi-weekly payments was key in allowing the fund to grow its investment portfolio and extending the Fund’s investment horizon. Tang thanked Governor Torres and his Administration, as well as the CNMI Legislature, for their commitment to the retirees and funding the Settlement Fund.
Judge Tydingco-Gatewood was similarly complimentary to Governor Torres and the government of the CNMI in prioritizing the Settlement Fund and the retirees. Judge Tydingco-Gatewood commended the commitment and work of Governor Torres, the government of the CNMI, the Trustee and her staff, class counsel, and others in successfully funding and maintaining the Settlement Fund, especially in the last few years given the typhoons that have struck the CNMI and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Appearing at the review hearing, Governor Torres assured Judge Tydingco-Gatewood and the Trustee that he and his Administration have and will continue to prioritize the retirees. As part of this promise, the Governor assured the Court and Trustee that he and his Administration would work with the Legislature to make sure that the retirees are properly provided for in the upcoming FY2023 Budget Bill.
Also appearing at the review hearing, the Secretary of Finance, David DLG. Atalig, echoed Governor Torres’ commitment to the retirees, assuring the Court and Trustee that the CNMI government would continue to make its payments to ensure the retirees are paid in full.
“The retirees have been priority number one since the beginning of my Administration. My Administration has never wavered from this commitment, even through the dark days of Super Typhoon Yutu and the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this commitment, my Administration has fulfilled its obligations to the Settlement Fund, ensured that every retiree is paid 100% of its pension, and even has made sure that retirees have been paid bonuses,” Governor Torres said.
“I am grateful and honored that the Court and Trustee have recognized my Administration’s commitment to our retirees. As I have said before, the retirees committed themselves to work for the CNMI. We have a duty to honor their commitment by paying all of the pension benefits due them, especially as so many of the retirees depend on these pension benefits for their basic needs. My Administration will continue to honor and protect our retirees,” Governor Torres said.