The recently-held Asian-Pacific Parliamentarians’ Union has afforded the CNMI a chance to attract interests from lawmakers in the region who could help the government promote tourism and investment potential of the island.
This was the assessment of Senate Vice President Thomas P. Villagomez, chair of the steering committee of the 65th Council Meeting of APPU, an organization of legislators in 23 countries from across Asia and the Pacific.
“I am very satisfied with the result of the meeting,” he said in an interview, adding it has reaffirmed the mutual interests of all member nations of APPU.
Although there were disagreement on several issues during the three-day conference held from Monday to Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency, the senator said they tried to reach a consensus despite the differences.
“Our mutual agreement has always been to work together and this meeting has reaffirmed our good working relationship,” Villagomez added.
Several legislators who flew from different countries in the region to Saipan for the meeting had expressed interest on the CNMI, noting the thriving democratic government on the island and the efforts by local leaders to develop its economy.
According to Villagomez, many were amazed by the local tourism industry and potential for investments on the island.
Close to 100 legislators from 23 countries attended the council meeting which was the second time such event was held here since 1982 when the CNMI hosted the conference for the first time.
While they tackled regional issues, such as the Asian economic crisis and security concerns, APPU members also debated on proposed amendments to the charter which are intended to ensure the group’s viability and cut spending.
Delegates to the conference included legislators from Kiribati, Taiwan R.O.C., Nauru, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Palau, Tuvalu, Malaysia, Marshalls, FSM, the Philippines, Guam, Fiji, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Laos, Vanuatu and Vietnam.
Established in 1965, the former Asian Parliamentarians Union accepted members from Pacific island nations in 1975, reflecting close relations between these two regions and strengthening solidarity and the force of freedom among their peoples.