Former lawmaker Cinta Kaipat held a meeting yesterday at the Hyatt Regency Saipan to revive the Beautify CNMI! campaign with the goal of reinvigorating volunteer work and keeping the islands clean.
Representatives from of the Commonwealth Advocacy for Recovery Efforts, Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance, Marianas Visitors Authority, Saipan Chamber of Commerce, the Japanese community, Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, and other concerned citizens of the community attended the meeting.
Beautify CNMI!, founded in 2006, is a diverse group of like-minded individuals whose common ground is to take care of the environment. It is a coalition of concerned citizens, and various government agencies and private groups.
The group has done various projects in the community like tree planting, island cleanups, painting graffiti, and recycling. They had been dormant for a couple years after several of the founders either got busy with work and other projects or went off-island.
“It is a diverse group that broke down boundaries. It is a group united by a common goal of taking care of the environment, enhance the CNMI’s natural beauty, and foster community pride in its residents,” said Kaipat.
Angelo Villagomez, who is one of the founders of Beautify CNMI!, has been involved in various community volunteer works before moving to the mainland. He is now based in Washington, D.C. but is on island to help Kaipat reorganize the group.
Kaipat said that her goal is not to replace the current post-Typhoon Soudelor work being done by various other groups but to enhance what they have been doing.
“We are not only making it beautiful for us but also for the tourists and for our children. We want to revive the campaign and join it with other work being done on the island today,” added Kaipat, who shared a lot of stories of volunteers that helped them in various projects.
Villagomez said that he usually comes back once or twice a year on Saipan and he could help the group even when he’s in the nation’s capital. “We just need to discuss the issues that need to be addressed. Years ago we managed to band together community groups, the government, and private sector. It was diverse, big, fun, and exciting.”
Kaipat said that she alone doesn’t have the answers but if working as one group they can find solutions to some of the environmental problems that affect the CNMI today. “Let’s reinvigorate Beautify CNMI! and see what we can accomplish. The needs and problems now could be different but one thing is sure, they still affect the people of the CNMI.”
Beautify CNMI! had previously received recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Congress for their volunteer work, and was the Saipan Tribune’s 2006 Person of the Year.