Rossello’s request would benefit 1.3 million PAN recipients
As Puerto Rico awaited for the arrival of US President Donald Trump, Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced that he will request that the 1.3 million beneficiaries of the Nutrition Assistance Program (PAN, its acronym in Spanish) be able to use that assistance in restaurants around the island.
Before this becomes a reality, the Federal Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) needs to approve the governor’s request. Gov. Rosselló acknowledged that a previous “lower-level” request was denied by the federal agency. This new request includes prepared meals.
“The aim of the request [to FNS] is basically to open the gate, [for] restrictions to be limited, both in terms of capital, access to different supermarkets [and] so that [the program] can be extended to restaurants which serve prepared food so people can eat hot meals,” he said.
Along the same lines, Rosselló announced that “$15 million will be added to PAN,” which will provide more resources to program recipients on the island. Both requests address a need to expand services since currently only 466 stores can process sales with PAN. This additional benefit for PAN recipients will be available beginning October 4.
Meanwhile, the governor announced the opening of food centers around the island, where citizens will have access to food services. These 11 Distribution Centers (RSA) will now have trucks, which will facilitate the transportation of food to the municipalities.
“We call on the mayors to setup a distribution center in their municipalities, so that everyone knows where they have to go for these resources,” Rosselló stressed, adding that mayors oversee these centers because they “know more about needs [in their communities].”
“The mayors are vital in the effort to distribute [supplies], in the effort to communicate, in the effort to deliver all these resources, in the effort facing the future … Without the mayors, this system would not be effective,” Rosselló said, asking mayors for their collaboration.
Executive Orders Due to Emergency
Meanwhile, the governor signed two executive orders in response to the “emergency” that continues to affect the island 13 days after Hurricane Maria passed over the island.
The first order offers a dispensation for foreign veterinarians to offer their services on the island for a period of six months. The second executive order allows Treasury Secretary Raúl Maldonado Gautier to “make taxation more flexible” for “certain sectors that come to collaborate” to Puerto Rico as a result of the state of emergency in the coming months.