With Christmas Day happening next week, the Torres administration urges the public to keep in mind and thank everyone who has helped the islands recover from two devastating typhoons this year.
Acting governor Victor B. Hocog said the best of the island’s spirit is reflected in everyone this Christmas. “This is a special time of the year for rejoicing with our family and friends, for spreading charity and goodwill throughout our villages, and for giving thanks for all of the blessings in our lives.”
“As we move forward in our road to recovery from both Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu, we are especially thankful for the countless local and first responders and volunteers who have given their time and generosity to help get us back on our feet,” added Hocog.
Torres and first lady Diann will be spending the holidays with their family in Boise, Idaho. This is the governor’s first real vacation after coordinating the recovery efforts from Mangkhut and Yutu, which caused significant damage to property and agricultural crops. They are set to return in the first week of January in time for the Jan. 14 inauguration of the new administration.
Torres also witnessed the signing of the joint promotional agreement between the Marianas Visitors Authority and Skymark Airlines, Inc. and attended several meetings in Hawaii—the 15th regular session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and Western Governors Association, where he was elected as the new Pacific Basin Development Council chair.
Hocog, who is the incoming Senate president in the 21st Legislature, signed a memorandum yesterday granting administrative leave to all non-critical government employees on Monday.
“Heading into the Christmas holiday weekend, I am hereby authorizing non-critical employees of the Commonwealth’s departments and agencies to take administrative leave on Monday, Dec. 24.”
“To our government employees, thank you all for your hard work and service to improve these islands we call home. Let us continue to rebuild our islands stronger and more resilient than ever before. On behalf of Gov. Torres, our families, and the entire administration, we hope you and your families have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.”
Hocog said he and Torres also thank everyone who labored through the recovery efforts of the islands.
“Gov. Torres and I want to express our sincerest gratitude to our CNMI Joint Field Office staff, the CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the [U.S.] Department of Defense, the American Red Cross, our law enforcement officers, our volunteer organizations, and our private sector partners,” he said.
“This year was an eventful one for the Marianas for many reasons. As we close this year, let us renew our bonds and friendships with one another and remind ourselves that we are one CNMI family—dedicated to progress and committed to recovery.”
Press secretary Kevin Bautista said that recovery efforts would continue despite the reduced staffing for the holidays.
“Recovery efforts continue to take place. Various federal and regional partners have reduced their staffing for the holidays over the last few days, but recovery efforts will be back at full swing by Jan. 2.”
“The community has really come together these last few months, and we are cognizant that there is a lot more work to be done. The holidays are a special time of the year for being with our family and friends, for spreading charity and goodwill throughout our villages, and for giving thanks for those around us,” he said.
He added: “This year was an emotional one for all of us, so it’s really important that we all take some time off to be with the ones we love and share in the blessings that we have as we move forward on our road to recovery. We want to thank the community for their patience, support, and resilience.”