The challenge of interisland travel in the region is among the issues the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures hopes to address, according to Rep. Ivan A. Blanco (R-Saipan).
Blanco, who was chosen to be the group’s secretary at an APIL meeting in Guam last month, highlighted this difficulty that faces not just the CNMI but the entire region.
“Transportation remains a huge challenge. Airlift is a challenge for travel between the islands,” Blanco, a second-term member of the CNMI House of Representatives from Precinct 3, told Saipan Tribune. “Movement of cargo, fuel, etc. are cost-prohibitive for the fragile economies of each of the island governments in the region. The costs take a significant bit of our annual budgets.”
Most of the island governments of APIL members rely mostly on imported goods and other merchandise.
That’s why APIL is so glad that some shipping companies are coming up with innovative means to improve their services, he said.
“Continued investments in new shipping technologies keeps evolving, and I am pleased that several of our shipping companies do invest in such to lower fuel costs, carry more cargo, and cut shipping delays,” said Blanco.
Blanco is serving as the 59th secretary of APIL with Rep. Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero (R-Saipan), his colleague at the CNMI House of Representatives, selected to be one of the group’s board of directors.
Former CNMI House speaker Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero was first selected to the same position as secretary during the APIL meeting in Palau last year.
“APIL officers and members decided to keep the CNMI serving as secretary for the 59th APIL. As you recall, former speaker Guerrero was selected as secretary during the 58th APIL in Palau,” said Blanco.
“The body unanimously endorsed the CNMI to continue the capacity as an officer and secretary. I will just continue the term of former speaker [Deleon Guerrero] as APIL secretary,” he added.
“I thank House Speaker [Blas Jonathan T.] Attao (R-Saipan), my colleagues at the Legislature, and APIL members for endorsing me to serve at the 59th APIL as secretary,” Blanco added.