Rota lawmakers and the island’s other elected leaders are planning to hold a leadership summit early next month to bring together the island’s stakeholders.
Rota Legislative Delegation chair Sen. Steve K. Mesngon (R-Rota) said the delegation is ready to work with the municipality and other stakeholders on the CNMI’s southernmost island.
Sen. Teresita A. Santos(R-Rota), Sen. Paul A. Manglona (Ind.-Rota), and Rep. Glenn L. Maratita (R-Rota) are the other delegation members.
“Everyone will have its own job since all the delegation members know the challenges that we are facing,” Mesngon said.
Santos is the delegation’s vice chair and secretary while Maratita is the floor leader after Manglona declined to accept any position.
The island’s economic situation would be the main reason for the summit but pending projects under the Capital Improvement Plan and Rota’s medical referral issues are other things that they would focus on, Mesngon said.
“Our leadership meeting would involve the municipality [Office of the Mayor and Rota Municipal Council], the business sector, and other members from our community to discuss how we could unite in developing Rota,” said Mesngon.
“We’re going to see on how we could entice other people and investors to do business on Rota, which is currently experiencing a slow economic activity. Some Rota Resort workers were also laid off and the CW-1 [CNMI Only Transitional Nonimmigrant Worker visa] are also issues that we would discuss in the meeting.”
“We’re going to open our lines of communication within our community on Rota and we’re going to study every situation on how to improve our economic activity. These are some of the issues that we’re going to discuss and we are inviting everyone to join us,” Mesngon added.
Efraim Atalig is the Rota mayor while Anthony Wayne Barcinas, Kary John Ramos, and Ivan Mereb Jr. are members of the Rota Municipal Council.
Mesngon said the meeting would be held after the delegation’s next session on Rota in the second week of March.
Santos supports Mesngon’s call for a united Rota, saying this would help them fulfill their mandate. “Although we have issues to pursue, hopefully it would culminate in everyone being on the same page and be proactive in our solutions.”
Santos said the issues the delegation needs to address include interisland medical referral “by ensuring prompt payments of our patients’ allowances, identifying funding for our Rota municipal scholarship, land compensation issues, facilitate in the completion of land issues, and the municipality’s outstanding debts.”
Some of the ways to help increase economic activity on the island include moving forward with infrastructure projects such as improving airline service and transportation on Rota, she said
Santos said the Rota leadership should also work with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, the CNMI Legislature—under reins of House Speaker Rafael S. Demapan (R-Saipan) and Senate President Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan)—and Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP).
“Our jobs are more challenging and demanding since we are distant from the business center that makes the prices of basic goods, commodities, and airfare higher. Thus, we must remain focused on our issues, working closely with our municipal leaders, the CNMI executive and legislative branches, and Congressman Kilili’s office. In doing so, we can alleviate some of our pressing concerns.”