‘It’s a time for healing’


Lt. Gov. and governor-elect Arnold I. Palacios and Saipan Mayor and lieutenant-governor-elect David M. Apatang preside over a news briefing yesterday. (KIMBERLY ESMORES)

After coming out on top following the gubernatorial runoff election last week, governor-elect Arnold I. Palacios and lieutenant-governor-elect David M. Apatang says it is finally time to start the CNMI community’s healing process and rebuilding trust in the CNMI administration.

Although Palacios and Apatang still need to wait a month before they officially assume the role of governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, the two said at a press conference yesterday the healing process has already begun.

Palacios shared that he and incumbent Gov. Ralph DLG Torres had a talk following the runoff election last Saturday, with the latter congratulating Palacios and Apatang on their victory. That conversation, Palacios said, was the first step to recovery and healing.

“The governor made a commitment to give us their cooperation during the transition period that we’re going to be undergoing in a very short time. We will hopefully begin putting together our transition team in the next few days to maybe a week. It was a long road, and it got nasty at times, but it’s now over. Dave and I are very happy that we won this election. Now is the right time for our community to heal from the discord that came from the campaigns. Be that as it may, we can’t turn back the clock, but we can certainly move forward and heal the community. David and I, and [Reps.] Tina Sablan and Leila Staffler, will help facilitate the healing in this community from the wounds of the past,” he said.

Lt. Gov. and governor-elect Arnold I. Palacios, second from left, and Saipan Mayor and lieutenant-governor-elect David M. Apatang, leftmost, are joined by Democratic Party standard-bearers Reps. Tina Sablan (D-Saipan), second from right, and Leila Staffler (D-Saipan), rightmost, during a press conference yesterday. (KIMBERLY ESMORES)

Palacios alo stated that he is also relying on the incoming members of the Legislature to help in the healing process. “I am also very confident that incoming and incumbent members of the Legislature will also help in that regard, because they too, were on the campaign trail for almost a year. I know that they will also help facilitate and help start the healing process in our communities. We look forward to working with everybody, the Senate and the House and, and also the outgoing administration as we transition,” Palacios stated.

He also thanked everyone who supported the AD tandem from start to finish, that without them, they wouldn’t have made it to victory.

“I want to humbly thank the people of the Commonwealth for their confidence in myself and in Mayor Apatang. It’s going to be a challenging road ahead, but I know, deep down in my heart that we’re going to do good for the community,” he stated.

For Apatang’s part, he assured that he intends to uphold the unity pledge he and Palacios signed with the Democratic Party standard-bearers a week ago.

“First, I want to say thank all the people who came out to support the AD team. To you, we have made a commitment, we even signed a pledge and that pledge we will stand by. We will honor it, and we will pursue it. We’ll make sure that things are done right for our people in this Commonwealth. We will work hard. I promise you,” he said.

In closing, Apatang thanked the Democratic Party for their support during the runoff election.

“Again, I want to thank our partners, the Democratic Party, for joining us, to unite with us and putting our hearts together for our people of this Commonwealth. We all believed in coming together to make a change in this administration. So thank you, my fellow Democrats, my partners, and I know the people of this Commonwealth are really looking forward to us working together,” he said.

Sablan (D-Saipan), who was also at the news briefing with her lieutenant governor candidate, Staffler (D-Saipan), stated that the people are now looking to the Palacios-Apatang administration to “right” the ship of state and set the Commonwealth on a new course.

“Arnold and Dave are coming in with so much goodwill and hope coming from all corners of our islands. I’ve been hearing this sentiment every day, everywhere I go. People are yearning for change, yearning for a fair and trustworthy government and they are looking to Arnold and Dave and this coalition of leaders we’ve brought together to lead the way. People will be paying very close attention to this transition because it will demonstrate the kind of leadership that we can expect from a Palacios-Apatang administration. Typically, and historically, the transition has been a time of fear and trepidation, for some a time of jockeying for jobs and contracts, calling in favors, waging vendettas. It is my hope and expectation that this transition will be different. Because Arnold and Dave have promised to be different. They’ve promised to rebuild trust they’ve promised to heal. It is essential that this transition reflect the values and commitments to good governance outlined in the unity pledge that we signed a little over a week ago. These are the values of fairness, integrity, transparency, and fiscal responsibility,” she said.

Staffler stated that the people’s mandate has been heard and change is on the horizon. “It is clear that we should expect more of our leaders, our government and its leaders, we know that resources are finite, and that decisions made today will greatly affect the future. And so now we must begin riding this course with our canoes, raising our proverbial sails, and preparing for this journey to rebuild trust through accountability, transparency, and government. And I know that good governance is on the horizon. This is why the people voted for change. And now we will begin to sail toward this change. The unity pledge is the star map and the navigational tool for this new administration to consult with as they go. And we the people can follow that map as part of our civic duties, to continue to hold our leaders accountable. And if they go off course, we must right the sails and get them back on course. And to that I congratulate all the new leadership and although the seas may sometimes be rough ahead, I’m ready to sail,” she said.

MD: After coming out on top following the gubernatorial runoff election last week, Governor elect Arnold Palacios and Lt. Governor elect David Apatang says it is finally time to start the CNMI community’s healing process and rebuilding trust in the CNMI administration.
Keywords: Palacios, Apatang, Sablan, Staffler, press, conference, healing, Saipan

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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