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By Jojo Dass

TINIAN, Northern Mariana Islands (December 15, 1998 - Marianas Variety)---If Saipan is already crowded with garment factories and workers, then why not transfer some of them or allow other manufacturers to do business on Tinian?

This from Tinian Chamber of Commerce (TCC) President Philip M. Long who, in an interview, said he is proposing that a series of public hearings be held on the island to determine whether its residents are ready to admit garment factories or not.

"It makes sense, in my opinion," said Long.

Long argued that Insular Affairs Director Allen Stayman, in criticizing CNMI for allowing garment factories to mushroom and create problems, "is actually only seeing Saipan."

"He is always viewing CNMI as Saipan. He does not know how the economy is on Tinian and Rota," said Long.

He said leaders of the two islands, having seen the Saipan experience on the garment industry, may install appropriate protective measures to ensure a healthy economy and environment.

Allowing "one or two" garment factories on Tinian, Long said, will impact on the economy in terms of taxes.

He also said that money derived by the local governments from the industry may be spent on scholarship funds for Tinian and Rota students.

"But we want to know first how the people on Tinian feel," he said, referring to his calls for public hearings.

Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio has hinted at the possibility of approving House Bill 11-315, which will allow garment manufacturers to hire 500 to 600 additional workers.

In earlier press interviews, the Governor raised concerns over at least three new garment firms that were prevented from operating since they were not allowed to hire new workers.

He explained that at least three garment companies already invested $2 million to build factories in the CNMI before the hiring moratorium law took effect.

Long said the administration can transfer the new batch of garment workers to Tinian.

For additional reports from the Marianas Variety, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Marianas Variety.

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