Candidates back election postponement


Candidates Juan N. Babauta, Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), and Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan) said they respect Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ decision to move the election by a week, due to the current state of the CNMI that experienced two devastating typhoons in a span of one month.

The general elections were originally set on Nov. 6. Torres is up for re-election and he is running with Senate President Arnold Palacios (R-Saipan) as his running-mate.

Torres announced last Sunday that he’s moving the election to Nov. 13 as the government and its federal partners focus on relief and recovery operations for the community.

“Arnold and I will be personally suspending our campaign from now until Election Day. This recovery operation is beyond politics. As your governor, I will be devoting all of my time on our relief and recovery efforts,” said Torres in a statement released Sunday. “I ask our community to respect each other and help each other out during this difficult time. The more we do that, the faster we can recover. Inafa’maolek. Un Familia. Un Guinaiya. Tipiyeew.”

Super Typhoon Yutu pummeled Saipan and Tinian last week, with the latter being badly hit by almost 190-mile-per-hour winds while Typhoon Mangkhut pummeled the southernmost island of Rota on Sept. 10.

Babauta, who is challenging incumbent Torres for the CNMI’s top post, told Saipan Tribune that right now, rebuilding people’s lives is the main concern. “We have an emergency situation. First and foremost, people who are suffering must be given assistance with the damage they sustained.”

“That is actually the front and center of our concern. To me, the postponement of the election is appropriate. The immediate concern now is our recovery from the super typhoon. The elections’ postponement is appropriate as people find ways to address the CNMI’s most immediate needs.”

Babauta noted, though, that neither he nor the NMI Democratic Party were consulted before Torres decided to postpone the elections. “I wish that I, as a candidate, should have been consulted as a courtesy.”

“There was no communication, neither the Democrats were consulted. It would have better if we were consulted as a courtesy. We could have discussed postponing the elections or not.”

Sablan, in a short message to Saipan Tribune, supports Torres’ decision. “I respect the Commonwealth law that gives the governor the authority to postpone the elections under these circumstances.”

He is running for a fifth term as the CNMI delegate to U.S. Congress against challenger Demapan.

Demapan said residents of the Commonwealth should be focused on recovering from the devastation wrought by Yutu and Mangkhut.

“I believe that this is a time for our people to come together in solidarity, to lend a helping hand as we all recover and rebuild together,” said Demapan. “As a public servant, my priority is to work with the governor, the administration, my colleagues in the Legislature, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Defense, and our federal and military partners that have swiftly flown in to our Commonwealth to help us recover.”
MD: Candidates respect law, support election postponement

KW: Elections, Mangkhut, Yutu, super typhoon, storm, typhoon, CNMI, Saipan, Tinian, Rota, Ralph Torres, Angel Demapan, Juan Babauta, Gregorio Sablan, Kilili

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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