The Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems, Inc., NMPASI, held its final board of directors meeting for fiscal year 2016 on the island of Rota last week. Subsequently, it would also be the last meeting for several of its longtime board members who have reached the maximum allowable term limit as prescribed by NMPASI bylaws.
Rota native and outgoing NMPASI board member Raymond Castro expressed his gratitude to his fellow NMPASI directors for agreeing to hold what would be his last meeting on his home island. “I am also very thankful to our mayor for welcoming my NMPASI family to Rota and for taking time to meet with us and our NMPASI staff,” he added.
“I can guarantee you that I will never stop being an advocate for people with disabilities,” Castro added.
For his part, Mayor Efraim Atalig acknowledged that advocacy for people with disabilities and “accessibility are not just for those people who are disabled now but for all of us.”
“Making things easier for our people with disabilities makes things easier for all of us,” he added. “And we are all getting older, so we never know when we might need the same accommodations.”
NMPASI’s Executive Committee is still accepting letters of interest and résumés for any individuals with disabilities who are interested in replacing outgoing board members and filling recent vacancies. For the islands of Tinian and Rota, the NMPASI Executive Committee will be looking to the respective mayors’ offices to make recommendations for potential replacements.
Other outgoing NMPASI board members include current board treasurer Rita Cruz; Tinian representative Tan Augusta Palacios, Saipan representatives Danny Ada, Helen Sablan, and PAIMI Advisory Council representative Melrosa Rebuenog.
NMPASI executive director James M. Rayphand said the islands of Rota and Tinian are categorized as being part of the “underserved population” due to a general lack of available services compared to Saipan. “Mayor Atalig has made sure that when we come to Rota to meet potential or current clients, that we are provided space at his office as needed,” Rayphand said. “He and his staff have been very welcoming in ensuring that we have a home base whenever we are called to Rota.”
For more on NMPASI and/or advocacy for individuals with disabilities, contact the NMPASI office at (670) 235-7273/4 [tel.] / 235-7275 [fax] or online at www.nmpasi.org. (Jim Rayphand)