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Santos opposes re-opening Guam-Rota direct flights


Expressing strong opposition to opening direct flights between Guam and Rota, Sen. Teresita A. Santos (Ind-Rota) recommends maintaining the current COVID-19 protocols that have been in place since the inception of the pandemic.

In a letter Monday to COVID-19 Task Force chairman Warren Villagomez, Santos said that maintaining the current protocols will ensure that the health and welfare of people will continue to be safeguarded.

This comes just as the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention raised the travel risk declaration for Guam from Level 2 to Level 3 due to a recent cluster of positive COVID-19 cases.

Santos told Villagomez that Saipan has the human resources, quarantine facilities, infrastructure, resources and, most importantly, the seasoned experience necessary to handle anything that may arise.
“Let us continue to utilize the system that works and hopefully in the very near future, we can re-open the direct flights without compromising the health, welfare and safety of our people,” the senator said.

Santos commended Villagomez and all the front-liners “who have been working tirelessly” to protect the borders and ensure that everyone is complying with safety protocols.

She said the task force has been stellar in reaching out to all stakeholders to make certain that the dissemination of critical information is relayed and that everyone understands their roles.

The senator noted that the task force’s efficiency and effectiveness are evident as the CNMI continues to have one of the lowest numbers of COVID-19 cases in both the U.S. and in the world.

Santos particularly commends quarantine supervisor Jack Sablan and Bureau of Environmental Health director John Tagabuel for their “significant and professional roles they continue to perform” every single day.

She also expressed gratitude to Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther Muña and all the vaccination personnel who have been implementing the COVID-19 Vaccination Program, most especially on Rota, for the past several months.

The senator noted that the manner in which the program is implemented is well-organized, well-coordinated and works efficiently with all the other affected stakeholders. “No question that all these efforts have made the process run expeditiously smooth and efficiently quick,” she said.

Santos also thanked members of the task force, Rota Health Center, Department of Public Safety-Rota, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services-Rota, the Governor’s Office of Representative-Rota, and Office of the Mayor of Rota and all those who are helping carry out the program on Rota.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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