‘Rota lives paycheck to paycheck’


Sen. Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) is back in the Senate.

Manglona, a longtime senator and former Senate president, was sworn in during a Senate session yesterday to officially take the vacated seat of former Senate president Victor B. Hocog, after the latter ascended to the post of lieutenant governor following the passing of the late governor Eloy S. Inos last December. Manglona finished third in the last Rota Senate election.

When pressed for issues he’d like to work on, Manglona said he did not have any particular legislation but noted discussions he laid out with many people “since retiring a year ago.”

He stressed a need to work on “economic challenges” and pledged to work with the members of the Senate to address these.

Manglona wants legislation that will go a long way to address hardships faced especially by the people of Rota.

“Over here [Saipan] people are really suffering but the suffering down on Rota is 10 times more. We have concerns with Medicaid issues on Rota because our facilities are not Medicaid approved. Our people have to fly here, pay $200, just to get medical attention.

“We no longer put people [in-patients] in the hospital. We have to send them here,” he added.

Manglona lamented the cost of shipping between islands.

“A young couple trying to build a house on Rota. They order materials, put them in a container—$3,000 to Guam or Saipan, when it gets to Saipan, pay another $4,000 just to get to Rota—so it’s a very tough.

Manglona said he is not the first one to speak about these issues. “A lot of people have moved to Saipan, Guam, and the U.S. for greener pastures. So how do we bring our people back? Give them hope, give them opportunity.”

Manglona said “it’s a payday to payday” life on Rota, where he claimed people have been selling their land cheap just to send their kids to college or provide family with healthcare.

“I am not trying to belittle the sacrifices or hardships here on Saipan,” he said, saying these issues must be addressed.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at dennis_chan@saipantribune.com.

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