JRM asked for more military vessels to visit NMI


The Palacios-Apatang administration has put in requests with the Joint Region Marianas in Guam for more military vessels to visit the CNMI as well as for more military training exercises to be conducted on Saipan.

Since Gov. Arnold I. Palacios’ recent decision to pivot away from the CNMI’s reliance on the China tourism market, the Commonwealth Bureau of Military Affairs has been setting into motion the revitalization and expansion of military tourism in the CNMI.

According to Danny Aquino, special assistant to the governor for Military Affairs, his office put in a request last week for more military vessels to visit the CNMI to rest and recuperate. The idea is that, with more military vessels coming in for two- to three-day port calls, this will generate business for the CNMI.

“It is the goal of the current administration to encourage visiting vessels. On the governor’s side, we have requested more vessels to come and visit here for R&R. One of the biggest problems that we have here is our ports. They’re not deep enough for [aircraft] carriers to come in. Instead, we are requesting for destroyers to come in. In a battleship destroyer, you can expect at least 300 to 400 soldiers in there, so that’s what we are trying to target. We’ve already put in the request through Joint Region Marianas and that’s one of the key things the administration is asking for,” he said.

In addition, Aquino said the governor has also put in requests for more training exercises to be conducted on Saipan.

“We’re trying to bring more trainings to the CNMI. They should be low impact so people shouldn’t be aware or alarmed about it. There’s going to be no bombing, mostly soldiers practicing land navigation and things like that. The governor and lieutenant governor are doing their part in trying to salvage our economy,” he said.

Aquino noted that from July 9, to July 22, Joint Region Marianas will conduct an Innovative Readiness Training exercise on Saipan.

Saipan Chamber of Commerce president Joe Guerrero says he supports the governor’s vision.

“We hear from Department of Defense officials that many vessels go to Guam every week. It appears there are ships or submarines porting on Guam for a few days at a time. We look forward to the day when we see more vessels come for R&R because then the soldiers would get off, spend two-three days on the island, maybe do community projects, but the best part for the CNMI is that they will be staying at one of the hotels on the island because, of course, most of the time, these men and women are tired of being on the ships for weeks at a time. That’s the kind of military activity we want to see here,” he said.

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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