New fire chief is confirmed


The Senate confirmed a total of five gubernatorial nominations for a number of government agencies, including the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, in a session on Rota yesterday.

On a 6-0 vote, the Senate unanimously confirmed Dennis Mendiola as DFEMS commissioner. Mendiola has been occupying the post in an acting capacity since September 2019.

Sens. Sixto Igisomar (R-Saipan), Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota), and Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian) were reportedly absent from the session on Rota.

Mendiola is a former resident deputy commissioner at the Rota DFEMS, a retired captain in the U.S. Army, and a former chairman of the Luta Soil and Water Conservation.

“…I am confident that [Mendiola] has the ability to lead the department in the right direction. I am sure his leadership skills from his past professional experiences will be a valuable asset to the CNMI DFEMS,” Sen. Vinson Sablan (Ind-Saipan) told Saipan Tribune in an interview.

Sen. Teresita Santos (Ind-Rota) also supported Mendiola’s confirmation, saying his past experience fully qualifies him for the post.

“…[Mendiola’s] résumé, which includes his awards, certificates, acknowledgements and military achievements, reflect his qualifications and his good character,” she told Saipan Tribune, adding that this was further supported by oral and written comments from the Guam Fire Department, the Western Pacific Island Association of Fire Chiefs, and the Fire Chief at Guam’s Anderson Air Force Base.

“With these testimonies, we can draw a summation that [Mendiola] possesses the leadership traits and qualities that make an excellent DFEMS commissioner,” she added.

Besides Mendiola, the Senate also confirmed Diana Hocog and Zerlyn Taimanao to the CNMI Scholarship board, Edward Deleon Guerrero to the Commonwealth Health Care Corp. board, and Aubrey Hocog to the Commonwealth Development Authority.

Senate Committee on Executive Appointments and Governmental Investigations chair Sen. Francisco Cruz (R-Tinian) said that he and his committee saw no reason to deny the appointments.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.
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