The role that the Oversight Board will play in the reconstruction of Puerto Rico after the hit of Hurricane Maria will be discussed next week in the federal capital, when the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources holds a hearing to discuss how the federal entity will be inserted in the revitalization work of the island.
All members of the Board and the coordinator of revitalization of the federal body, Noel Zamot were summoned to the hearing on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. No local government official was summoned to the meeting.
"This will be the first hearing, perhaps for the next hearings government officials will be summoned. But, at this moment, the governor (Ricardo Rosselló) is still with the rescue works, it is not wise for him to come here, "said resident commissioner in Washington, Jenniffer Gonzalez.
"They will be discussing what the revitalization efforts that have to be made in Puerto Rico are and how they will be channeled," he added.
Last week, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that the Board will need a new approach as it should be part of the island´s reconstruction, Gonzalez remembered.
Gonzalez did not venture to detail the changes that the federal body or the law that created it, the federal law PROMESA, would face .
“Estamos en la fase de ver cuáles van a ser los nuevos retos y cómo será que la Junta
"We are in the phase of seeing what the new challenges will be and how the Board will work with them, since under the PROMESA law it is the body that would manage the revitalization of the island," he said.
Yesterday, Gonzalez announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) allocated an additional $ 177,475 million to municipalities, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and the National Guard to cover the work needed to address the cyclone´s aftermath.
In total, FEMA provided $ 5,275 milion to municipalities to cover emergency recovery work. Among them, Arecibo received $ 1,275 and Cayey received $ 3 million, Gonzalez said.
"Each municipality with expenses for debries removal, equipment and materials as part of the work of eliminating immediate threats to the security of citizens, will be able to bill those services to FEMA," said resident commissioner Gonzalez.
The federal agency also provided $ 171,200 million to PREPA. Out of it, $ 42.8 million will be used to enable the public corporation to continue operating, while another $ 128.4 million will be used to purchase diesel to operate electrical generators that hospitals require , water pumps, which prevent flooding, and other facilities, González said.
These funds have allowed PREPA the hiring of private companies to handle the recovery of the electrical system, which collapsed following the clash of Maria.
Besides,$1 million was for the National Guard.
Gonzalez remarked she has held talks with several federal agencies that address priority issues for the island in the middle of this emergency, such as the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). This agency coordinates that the 48 dialysis centers in Puerto Rico can operate to provide services to patients with kidney conditions, as well as the transfer of individuals who have not been able to receive dialysis near their homes, she said.
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