THE Office of Grants Management and State Clearinghouse on Thursday said the CNMI fishermen relief assistance awards have arrived.

The awards arrived on Thursday and are being processed and distributed by the U.S. Postal Service in the CNMI.

Recipients are asked to allow time for the post office to process and distribute the awards, noting that the USPS has said that the awards should be distributed and ready for pickup by this afternoon.

Applicants from Tinian and Rota are asked to allow for mail service transit times to their respective islands.

The original payout distribution dates for this program were scheduled to begin toward the end of May and run through the middle part of June.

However, in mid-June, the grants office received correspondence from the Pacific State Fisheries Marine Commission requesting taxpayer identification and certification information for each of the applicants.

“The W9 form was never noted in the original application requirement and therefore was never requested from those submitting applications. Our team reached out to the applicants and requested that they submit the additional document," grants office assistant administrator John P. Sanchez had said in a previous interview.

He added that there is also the possibility of a second round of relief assistance under the fisheries relief program.

Of the 1,205 applicants, a total of 1,177 have submitted the required documentation.

The forms were collected, verified, and submitted back to the grantor agency as requested.

The grantor, the Pacific State Fisheries Marine Commission, opted for the distribution of payouts to be mailed directly to the applicants, as opposed to going through the CNMI Department of Finance for payouts.

In a separate interview, CNMI Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig confirmed that his department would neither receive nor distribute these funds.

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