Inos leans toward SOCA in May


Gov. Eloy S. Inos is leaning toward delivering his first State of the Commonwealth Address in early May, press secretary Angel Demapan said yesterday. The governor has also been “tentatively” scheduled as guest speaker on Tuesday’s Rotary Club of Saipan membership meeting for the first time as governor.

Senate President Ralph Torres (R-Saipan) and House Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) separately said yesterday there is no particular date set yet for the SOCA, but Torres said it would be held in the House chamber on Capital Hill.

“The governor is leaning toward the first part of May,” Demapan said, adding that the governor has already been crafting the outline of his SOCA.

Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), meanwhile, suggested the week of April 21 “after Holy Week, when Congress will not be in session.”

The speaker and president invited Inos to appear before a joint session of the Legislature to present a SOCA. The Legislature also invited the delegate to “report on the accomplishments of your office and your goals and objectives.”

Sablan said he looks forward to talking about what he has been able to accomplish and what lies ahead. “And there is certainly plenty to report,” he added.

He said as the CNMI’s first delegate to U.S. Congress, he is very aware that whatever he does sets precedent. One of those was to “report regularly to the people I work for.”

Five years ago, Sablan started the practice of town hall meetings, opened offices on Rota, Tinian, and Saipan, and began sending out weekly e-newsletters and a biannual printed report to constituents. He keeps in touch with the media in person when he is on island and by e-mail. He set up a toll-free number so that constituents can easily call him or speak to any of the congressional staff. He also has an active dialog with constituents “who want to share their thoughts through e-mails, letters, and on Facebook where I answer anyone’s questions.”

“Future delegates may choose different means to communicate and report to constituents, but I think I have definitely set a standard for letting people know what their delegate is doing. Now because of this concern about setting precedent, I think it would not be appropriate for me to take any action that would obligate any future delegate to Congress to appear before the Legislature. Being clear about that, however, I do appreciate the invitation from the Legislature and have let the presiding officers know when I can be available,” he said.

Haidee V. Eugenio | Reporter
Haidee V. Eugenio has covered politics, immigration, business and a host of other news beats as a longtime journalist in the CNMI, and is a recipient of professional awards and commendations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental achievement award for her environmental reporting. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

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