Rios children receive CNMI flag


The children of former Saipan mayor Jose Santos Rios were presented with the CNMI flag that was raised during their father’s memorial service last Feb. 23.

On Friday, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang invited the children of Rios to the Saipan Mayor’s Office along Beach Road so they could receive the flag.

Apatang said it is only fitting for the CNMI flag to remind Rios’ children of what their father contributed to the CNMI.

According to Rios’ daughter, Remay McNalley, she and her siblings were also presented with a United States flag, but being given a CNMI flag also means a lot to them as their father greatly loved the CNMI.

McNalley said that Rios was one of the founding fathers of the CNMI’s Flame Tree Festival, a strong advocate of indigenous rights, and was behind one of the first war museums in the CNMI dedicated to preserving World War II relics.

McNalley also said that Rios had a generous heart. “He was extremely shy and humble… he helped without asking for anything in return and didn’t need recognition for it,” she said.

The Saipan Mayor’s Office, in conjunction with the Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council, held Rios’ memorial last Feb. 23 at the leadership kiosku in Chalan Kanoa.

Rios was also given a military funeral at the veteran’s cemetery in Washington state on Feb. 2, 2018.

Rios served as Saipan mayor from Jan. 8, 1982, to Jan. 7, 1986. He was the island’s third mayor since the Northern Mariana Islands became a U.S. commonwealth.

Rios was born on Dec. 19, 1939, and passed away on Jan. 21, 2018.

Municipal council administrator Frances Muña said that Rios passed away a little over a month after celebrating his 78th birthday.

Rios enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to South Korea. Rios later joined the U.S. Peace Corps and was stationed in Chuuk.

Rios is survived by his wife Emilia and children Roy Rios, Marie Martinez, Remay McNally, and Joseph Rios Jr.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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