Apatang: It’s beyond our control


Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, center, listens as Liberation Day Committee chair Joe Ayuyu Jr, fourth left, makes a statement in early yesterday morning’s media conference at the mayor’s office conference room in Oleai. Others in photo are, from left, Liberation Day parade chair Brad Ruszala, CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management special assistant Gerald Guerrero, and CNMI HSEM public information officer Nadine Deleon Guerrero. (Jon Perez)

Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang and the CNMI Liberation Day Committee said it was really unfortunate for them to cancel yesterday’s parade, but the situation was beyond their control and the public’s safety must be the priority.

“[Wednesday] was the schedule of the Liberation Day parade and we apologize to all that had prepared the floats and had already spent a lot of money. The committee had also worked a lot of long hours for this, but this is something that we did not expect and beyond our control,” said Apatang in yesterday’s press conference at their mayor’s office conference room in Oleai.

“This thing happened several years ago where we have to cancel everything and reschedule everything at a later date. This is not something new and it happens every year, every July we expect that. Now, we have to meet and decide when are we going to have the parade.”

He added that the weather situation had always been unpredictable every July. “We’re going to meet [and decide] when to have it, but it depends on the weather situation. Once the committee had decided, we’re going to let the public know. We’ve been through this before, we have a parade after July 4.”

Liberation Day chair Joe Ayuyu Jr. said they wanted the public to be prepared for the coming storm to avoid a repeat of what Saipan went through during Typhoon Soudelor. “At the end of the day, we want to be prepared. A few years ago, we experienced something pretty bad, the strong winds of Typhoon Soudelor.

“We don’t want to have that same experience again. This time we’re taking the right steps. It is early, but the call needs to be done since we’re expecting the stronger part of the winds to hit us late [Wednesday] or early Thursday morning,” said Ayuyu.

“If we were to have continued with the parade, we’re all going to have fun for now until the evening and then nobody would probably secure things or remove things late at night or even tomorrow morning. But things need to be done in advance now.”

As of 2pm Tropical Depression 10W is located 11.9 degrees north and moving slowly toward north-northwest at 5mph based on the bulletin released by the CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.

HSEMA special assistant Gerald Guerrero said they would release updates every three hours as they continue to track the direction of the storm. “Let’s just hope for the best as we continue to inform the public.”

“Now is the time to prepare rather than wait before it’s too late. We advised the public to be prepared, secure all loose items in your house, and the campers along Beach Road to take down their tents and secure it,” said Guerrero.

HSEMA public information officer Nadine Guerrero added that they are also advising the public to prepare at all costs. “Gas up their cars, withdraw cash, and stock up on basic necessities like food and water. We just never know the track of the storm.”

Liberation Day parade chair Brad Ruszala said safety has been their No. 1 concern. “Everybody wants to have the parade today, but it is just the weather did not cooperate with us. So, for everybody’s safety, we postponed it. We appreciate all the effort that everyone has put in—preparing the floats and their marching groups—the off-island folks that flew in to join the festivities.”

“We’re going to know what’s the weather forecast next and decide when can we have it, most convenient for the public, to put the word out to media and social media or just through word of mouth.”

As of this writing, most of the tents at the Garapan Fishing Base and along Beach Road had been taken down, while the stage in front of the Kristo Rai Church had been secured.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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