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By Jayvee Vallejera Staff Reporter

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (November 14, 2001 – Saipan Tribune)---Six members of the Guam National Guard arrived on Saipan Monday, in response to Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio’s request for additional manpower to guard the Commonwealth’s airports.

Tenorio confirmed yesterday morning that the additional manpower from Guam’s National Guard had arrived, after Guam Gov. Carl Gutierrez approved his request for augmentation in securing the CNMI’s points of entry.

"These men will be working together with the airport police and all other law enforcement groups that are now handling security at our airports," said Tenorio.

The Governor had a luncheon meeting yesterday with the National Guard members, who were led by Major Gen. Denny Paulino.

Executive Director Carlos H. Salas of the Commonwealth Ports Authority said that the six National Guard members will only be deployed at Saipan International Airport.

"We are still waiting for the federal government and the Federal Aviation Administration to approve our request for additional manpower requirements to guard the Tinian and Rota international airports. As soon as we get that approval, that will be the time we are going to make a request to Guam for more National Guard members," said Salas.

He added that, at the moment, they are looking at a six-month deployment of Guam’s National Guard troops on Saipan.

"Depending on the situation in the next few months, we may have to extend their stay in the CNMI," he said. "More of them will be coming this way, but that will also depend on the approval of the FAA and the federal government."

During their entire stay on-island, Salas said the federal government will shoulder the National Guard members’ expenses. This was reconfirmed by Tenorio, who said the CNMI government will be hosting the team but it will be the federal government that will handle such matters as remuneration and hazard duty pay, among other requirements.

The activation of the National Guards to implement additional security in all airports nationwide stems from an FAA directive that requires all ports of entry to step up security in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.

Since the additional security will put more pressure on the revenues of each state and insular territory, the FAA authorized each entity to activate its respective National Guards to provide stepped-up security functions.

Since the CNMI does not have a National Guard unit, Tenorio asked permission from the U.S. Pacific Command to activate the Commonwealth’s U.S. Army Reserve. This was turned down, however, and prompted the Governor to ask Guam to send over some National Guard members to comply with the FAA requirements.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

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