Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has described the decision whether to press ahead or not with the CNMI’s hosting of this Pacific Mini Games as “difficult,” considering that the CNMI has been facing economic challenges and its people are still recovering from the one-two punches of typhoons and the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to a question during a radio press briefing last Friday, Torres said that after the devastations of Super Typhoon Soudelor in 2015, and Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu in 2018, the CNM has been working very hard on its recovery. After the disasters then came the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Yet Torres said they had to prioritize this Pacific Mini Games as well because they believe it’s not only about the athletes, but about representing CNMI families and hope for the children.
“So that was a big challenge because of all the disasters and now with the pandemic,” he said.
The governor said they, however, have good teams—COVID-19 Task Force chair Warren Villagomez, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther L. Muna, and others. “I have good teams and good people that have worked around the clock to make this happen,” he said.
The Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games, the largest event ever held on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, was originally scheduled to take place in 2021 but had to be postponed because of the pandemic.
Marco T. Peter is the chairman of the Pacific Mini Games 2022 Organizing Committee, while Vicente “Ben” Babauta serves as the committee’s chief executive officer. Jerry Tan is president of the Northern Marianas Sports Association. Bob Coldeen serves as Chef de Mission.
The administration committed $4 million in American Rescue Plan Act money to fund the Games.