A group of Korean students visited Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang last Friday afternoon where the local chief executive and his special assistant, Henry Hofschneider, gamely answered questions that they asked them.
Costa World Tour president Choi Yeon Tae accompanied the group of 14 students and their two teachers, The group is attending Costa’s annual Wow Camp on Saipan.
“We welcome you to the island to the beautiful island of Saipan. It was unfortunate that you arrived here with this kind of weather since there’s a storm,” said Apatang. Saipan experienced heavy downpour the past few days last week due to Typhoon Omais.
“The forecast say the weather will clear up on Monday and you will enjoy sunny days ahead. I hope you enjoy your stay and hopefully share these experiences to your friends and families when you get back to Korea. Any questions?” added Apatang.
The questions ranged from the easy, like why did he ran for mayor and how big is Saipan’s population to the hard on about the CNMI’s economy, politics, and problems on crime. Apatang and Hofschneider gamely answered the questions to the best of their abilities.
“Our main industry comes from tourism. The revenues from the tourists and the hotel taxes help the government. Korea, China, and Japan are the more frequent visitors. More tourists mean more money. So, help us in promoting our islands,” Apatang said when asked what industry does the CNMI have.
Asked why did he run for Mayor of Saipan: “I really wanted to serve the people. My heart is to serve the community. I have two more years to serve as mayor. If you’ve done a good as mayor, then the people will again vote for you. If you don’t, goodbye,” Apatang said that drew giggles from the students.
“Being a mayor is a very challenging job and since people call starting at 7:30am to ask for assistance. We try to help as many people as we can. It is a stressful job but I enjoy every minute of it,” added Apatang.
He also told the group about the devastation Saipan experienced during Typhoon Soudelor. “In August last year, Saipan experienced a powerful typhoon, Soudelor. The strong winds brought down trees and power poles, and damaged or destroyed homes. It is only now that we are picking up the pieces with the help of the entire community.”
How to take care of the environment? Hofschneider said: “The CNMI has a lot of natural resources. We have laws to protect them with the Coastal Resources Management and Division of Fish and Wildlife as some of the lead agencies in helping take care of the environment.”
“We do not allow people to take coral and some sanctuaries are no catching of fish and no swimming zones. We want to protect the fish and corals since they are an important part of our environment,” Hofschneider added.
“It was great to know that you kids are interested in a lot of things. Hopefully, we would see you again. We hope you encourage your parents to come and visit us because we wanted to see more visitors here in the CNMI. If ever you come back, come and visit us here at the Mayor’s Office,” said Apatang.
The Saipan Mayor’s Office then gave the group souvenirs like key chains and other items that would remind them about their trip to Saipan.