13th CNMI Youth Congress Speaker Shelane D. Borja swore into office two replacement members-Mona Sierra Q. Manglona of Rota and Peter Paul H. Camacho-during a seven-minute session Saturday morning followed by almost an hour of planning for a youth summit tentatively set for March 22.
Five of the seven Youth Congress senators were in attendance, including the newly sworn in members who are finishing the terms of two other previous members. Others present were newly elected legislative secretary Marquina Hofschneider and floor leader Angela H. Mamaril.
Manglona, a student at Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Jr. and Sr. High School, said she's honored to have been chosen as Youth Congress representative of Rota and spoke of the “great responsibility of speaking out” for the CNMI youth.
“It will not be an easy task to solve each and every problem, but as we venture into our new responsibilities and roles, we must look at these problems as challenges-challenges to create a better CNMI,” Manglona said, thanking those who have helped her get to where she is now.
Camacho, a senior student at Kagman High School, said in the short time he will be serving as Youth Congress senator, he wishes to pass at least one piece of legislation-a more stringent rule against betel nut spitting in public places over health and sanitation and tourism concerns.
“I intend to be a politician, and I will be taking up political science with emphasis on economics,” Camacho told Saipan Tribune. Camacho was a recipient of the 2012 Junior Statesmen of America program scholarship and was also invited to the February 2013 National Youth Leadership Forum, both in Washington, D.C.
His mother, Isabel, was also in the House chamber on Capital Hill on Saturday for her son's swearing-in.
“I am very proud of him. I know he likes to be a Youth Congress member because he's very much interested in politics,” said his mother, an employee at the Department of Finance's Payroll Section.
Rep. Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero (IR-Saipan) was the only lawmaker in attendance, along with a few parents, relatives, Youth Congress clerk Christine Castro, legislative assistant Joel Camacho, and House legal counsel John Cool.
Saturday's Youth Congress session, set for 10am, didn't start until 10:44am and was adjourned at 10:51am. While the session lasted only seven minutes, the subsequent meeting to plan for the Youth Congress Summit lasted almost an hour. The summit budget is $1,000.
Borja said the youth summit, tentatively set for March 22, will focus on three major issues: teen pregnancy, public speaking and self-esteem, which she said covers bullying, self-harm/suicide, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) awareness.
“We will be inviting resource speakers including those our own age who would share with us their experiences and knowledge about these issues,” she said.
The Youth Congress will also be partnering with the Micronesian Youth Service Network, which plans to hold its summit in the CNMI from April 17 to 21, Borja said.