The whole Commonwealth is grieving following the loss of former House speaker and Commonwealth Ports Authority board chair Jose R. Lifoifoi, who passed last Monday, May 18, on island.
Lifoifoi also had a strong presence throughout Micronesia, especially in the Republic of Palau, having served as Palau’s honorary consul to the CNMI.
“Our islands will remember one of its dedicated public servants as a pioneering leader in our economic development and infrastructure improvement,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who ordered all flags in the CNMI to be flown at half-staff until the day of Lifoifoi’s internment.
The governor officially announced Lifoifoi’s passing in a proclamation. “To me, he was my special chairman, as I like to call him. He was an [adviser] who became my mentor. He was a good and honest man, who understood and practiced the value of being a man of his word,” Torres said. “Lt. Gov. Palacios and I, along with our families, join the Commonwealth in mourning the passing of speaker Lifoifoi. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Cecille, their children, and grandchildren.”
Also mourning the loss of Lifoifoi is Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, who highlights the former House speaker’s contribution to the CNMI as a cornerstone in business, government, and politics.
“The CNMI government faced many challenges in modernizing its airport and seaports to expand commerce in our islands, and Mr. Lifoifoi was at the forefront of those challenges,” Apatang said. “His leadership as chairman of the CPA board will continue to inspire current and future board members to give it their all in performing their roles as decision makers for the agency.”
Apatang added that Lifoifoi’s commitment to bring airline services to the CNMI and staying connected to the rest of the world made air travel convenient. “He gave so much to our islands’ development that made it easy for many who call our islands home to travel beyond our shores, grow, and prosper.”
Lifoifoi served as speaker of the CNMI House of Representatives from 1986 to 1998, and also served as the chairman of the United Micronesia Development Association. He also served as a member of the board of CPA for 16 years, before resigning in January last year.