Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang is so upset that he believes the Legislature should revisit the penalties for vandalism, soon after finding out that both markers erected in recognition of a former governor at both ends of the Beach Road Pathway had been desecrated.
Apatang urged the public to take care of historical monuments erected throughout the island since it helps beautify the CNMI. He further noted that the monuments were erected through taxpayer money.
“Please take care of those monuments and other things we put up. Those are money that we spend [out of the taxpayer’s pocket]. Those are not free,” Apatang told Saipan Tribune in an interview in his office over the weekend.
He added that it was also highly disrespectful to former governor Froilan C. Tenorio, since he initiated the movement to build the beach road pathway during his tenure as the 4th CNMI governor from 1994 through 1998.
“We just dedicated the markers [to the former governor] about two months ago,” Apatang recalled. “People should respect that. …It is not bothering anybody.”
Apatang doesn’t have a suspect in mind relating to the vandalism, nor is he aware of when it occurred.
Two monuments commemorating the creation of the Beach Road pathway by naming it after the former governor were unveiled to the public just last June 19, 2018. The Department of Public Works project marks the beginning and the end of the 5-kilometer pathway.
The marker closer to Garapan was completely defaced, with all the letters removed by an unknown culprit. The letters were supposed to read, “Froilan C. Tenorio Beach Road Pathway.” The marker closer to Susupe was defaced similarly but to a very low extent in comparison. The Susupe marker was missing only two letters compared to the Garapan marker’s letters, which were completely removed.
Currently, according to Apatang, vandalism of public monuments is against the law. But in order for the law to be enforced, the culprit may only be held accountable if caught red-handed.
Because of this drawback, Apatang believes that the Legislature should revisit the provision.
“[The Legislature] should revisit it to see what we could do to make it stricter. Maybe increase the penalties imposed,” he said. Apatang recalled another incident at the Sugar King Park, where the former Saipan mayor Juan Tudela’s monument was defaced.
“I don’t know why they did that, and it was the second time,” he noted, adding that his office is planning to repaint the whole place.