Acting governor Ralph DLG. Torres signed into law on Tuesday a bill that officially designates Saipan as the capital of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Island on.
Sen. Teresita Santos (R-Rota) introduced Senate Bill 19-19, which was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on first and final reading last month. It goes into the books as Public Law 19-02
The lawmaker said one of the main reasons she is pushing for Saipan to be the Commonwealth’s capital is because it is where government offices and key agencies are located.
“Saipan is the most suitable island for the official capital of the CNMI in that it is also the location of the CNMI’s central government and is where most of the government entities are situated,” states part of the bill. “It is where the Legislature and the Office of the Governor are located, and I think it is but proper to make it the CNMI’s capital.”
Among the three major islands of the CNMI, Saipan also has the largest population, Santos said.
S.B. 19-19 further said the CNMI “does not have an official capital despite having an island chain that consists of the islands of Saipan, Rota, and Tinian.”
Santos said making Saipan the CNMI capital may also have “benefits for business” as a tourism destination.
According to the 2010 Census, the CNMI has a population of slightly more than 50,000.
Saipan contains the largest population and also a larger land mass compared to Rota and Tinian.
The administrative center is located on Capital Hill on Saipan, which to most, makes Saipan the de facto capital of the Commonwealth.