Joaquin Q. Dela Cruz now joins the Commonwealth Development Authority board of directors as its newest member
Dela Cruz, whose appointment as part of CDA’s seven-member board was confirmed by the Senate last Friday, said his personal priority on the board is “local production.”
“I would like to emphasize on that,” Dela Cruz said in an interview Friday. “With the tourism industry that we have now, it’s a big question. When are the tourists coming back?”
Without the tourism industry, he believes local production is key to boosting the local economy.
“…We need to find ways how we can activate our economic development. I believe that with CDA there, we can encourage some of our local people to go back to fishing, go back to farming. Let’s produce local.”
Dela Cruz, who currently works at the Pacific American Title Insurance & Escrow Company, has served the CDA in different capacities, as collector, accounting and loan assistant, loan officer, and loan manager, before retiring.
“This is a time that we really need to work with other agencies to find ways how can we recover. How can we recover our economic development? We need to work with the [Northern Marianas College], we need to work with [NMC-Cooperative Research and Extension Education Services], the public market, the [Division of] Agriculture, because we need to do a lot of substitution in terms of local productions. I want to emphasize that,” he added.
CDA board members serve staggered four-year terms and may be reappointed to serve successive terms.
CDA is an autonomous public agency created to stimulate the CNMI economy by boosting local entrepreneurship. It is their mission to provide appropriate financial and technical assistance to help businesses start up or expand, for the welfare of the CNMI economy and its people.
In a separate interview after Dela Cruz’s confirmation, Sen. Teresita Santos (Ind-Rota) said that CDA has made positive reforms on some of its policies over the years, easing restrictions on its loan applications and requirements, making it more feasible to apply and be approved for CDA’s micro and direct loans. CDA has also expanded the types of loans and loan amount it provides to its clients.
“We trust that Dela Cruz, together with the rest of the CDA board of directors, will continue to advocate or promote programs beneficial for both our government and its clients,” she added.
At the news briefing Thursday, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres again pushed for and thanked all who are venturing out and looking at alternative ways for the CNMI to earn revenues, outside of tourism. The CNMI, along with the rest of the world, is suffering from a severe economic downturn due to the global halt of tourism, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.