Philippine honorary consul to the CNMI Glicerio “Eli” Del Mundo Arago and nine others joined yesterday more than 14,000 other individuals in taking their oath of allegiance and reciting the pledge of allegiance as new U.S. citizens in 175 naturalization ceremonies across the nation.
“It’s a dream come true,”Arago said in an interview.
Arago said the citizenship legitimized his more than 30 years of stay in the CNMI.
Arago, who hails from Batangas, Philippines, arrived on Saipan to work with TanHoldings in 1986. He is currently the senior vice president of Tan Holdings Corp.
“I have spent one half of my life here,” he said.
A U.S. citizen can still be a Philippine honorary consul so Arago’s designation will not be affected with his new citizenship.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona welcomed the new citizens during the naturalization ceremony held in the eve of the Independence Day celebration.
Manglona granted Immigration Services officer Teresa Vega-Murrieta’s motion to accept the 10 individuals as new citizens.
Keynote speaker Delegate Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (Ind-MP) told the new citizens that they made a major decision that changed their and family’s course when they decided to move to the Marianas.
“You packed up your life and left everything behind. Whether you made the move for work, love, family, adventure, or simply a better life—it was a courageous step,” Sablan said.
He said like millions of immigrants before them and so many people in the Marianas today, the new citizens chose to become citizens.
“That took courage,” he said.
The delegate said each of the new citizens has own story of struggle, doubt, perseverance, and success.
“Today we not only celebrate your success: we also celebrate your courage,” he said.
Sablan advised the new citizens that as they take their oath and swear allegiance to the country, to let courage continue to be their guide.
“Be bold and brave in your citizenship. Pursue your education or career goals. Start a business. Serve your community. Vote,” he said.
“Remember that in America, and here in the Marianas, you are valued. Your talents, experiences, and perspective enrich our community, and make us stronger as a nation,” Sablan said.
Aside from Arago, the nine other new citizens are Elena Pavlovna Alexandrova, Cornelio Dimaranan Alomia, Siriwan Camacho, Merni Beck Geisinger, Kaiwen Lin, Celedonio Quezada Manibo, Dante Gaffud Pantaleon Jr., Qiuna Ren Taitano, and Quiping Ma Waki.