Rep. Glenn L. Maratita (R-Rota) remains optimistic that economic activity on Rota will soon pick up after years of experiencing little growth with plans of strengthening ties with Guam, Saipan, and Tinian in the works.
Maratita, the House Judiciary and Governmental Operations chair, said that the $2 million they received from the allocation under Public Law 18-56 has been a big help in keeping them afloat.
The economy in the CNMI’s southernmost island had been stagnant, but Maratita said they have been meeting with various groups to address the issue. He said that they recently met with the Associations of Mariana Islands Mayors, Vice Mayors, and Elected Municipal Council.
“We also met with Guam legislators since we want to establish more working relationship with them. There are plans to have Guam bring in their commodities and Rota providing them with livestock,” said Maratita, the chair of the Rota Legislative Delegation.
He added that Rota’s sweet potato crop has somehow helped the local economy with farmers expanding their planting of the crop, which is exported to Guam and is also sold on Saipan and Tinian. “It’s good for the farmers to continue to plant and nurture these crops.”
The issue on direct flights had also been addressed based on the agreement with Star Marianas, which is a huge plus for Rota residents. Star Marianas now has daily direct flights from Saipan to Rota and Rota to Guam.
Maratita is also upbeat on the news of several foreign investors eyeing to build a hotel casino and resort on Rota. “There were at least two that picked up application forms at the Rota Casino Gaming Commission’s office.”
“There’s not much information about it but we’re optimistic that it will push forward. Development is not done overnight thing. We’re hopeful to see more investors come in and establish businesses on Rota,” he added.
Maratita said they also have been working with the Rota Mayor’s Office—under Mayor Efraim Atalig—the administration of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, the Marianas Visitors Authority, and the Commonwealth Ports Authority on how to bring in more tourists to Rota.
“We’re addressing how to have more tourism activity on Rota. We’re thinking of ways how to attract more participants in the Rota Blue Triathlon and the Rota Fishing Derby,” said Maratita, who added that they’ve been talking with MVA managing director Chris Concepcion.
“We want to make sure we work on all areas in terms of tourism in Rota with the MVA as the major sponsor and with the help of the Rota Mayor’s Office. One way to do that is to bring in direct or chartered flights to Rota. It is a work in progress.”
The airport is also a concern once the flights start to come in. “We also discussed the airport’s status with Gov. [Ralph DLG] Torres and the administration together with CPA will come out with plans to address the issues in the airport.”
Republican senators Steve K. Mesngon (vice chairman) and Teresita Santos and Sen. Paul A. Manglona (Independent) are the other members of the Rota Legislative Delegation.