Taisacan wants to move Northern Islands forward


Valentino N. Taisacan

Newly installed Northern Islands Mayor Valentino N. Taisacan is working to help move his remote municipality forward into the modern age. Part of that effort is to install broadband internet on Alamagan first, then Agrigan and Pagan, for more reliable and faster communication.

Eventually, Taisacan wants to work with the CNMI Public School System to hopefully make it possible for remote learning on the islands for families in the Northern Islands who have students.

He also would like to work with the Marianas Visitors Authority to maybe, if possible, promote the archipelagic municipality as an eco-tourist destination in the future. One time, a cruise ship from Australia sometimes made a pit stop on Pagan on the way to Japan. He said there are a few World War II relics up there, from bunkers to machine guns.

Under the leadership of his predecessor, Vicente Santos Jr. chartered a boat to do supply runs and switch staff on a quarterly basis, but Taisacan hopes to cut down on the time it takes for his staff to go back to their families and receive supplies. He plans to do a supply run every month and a half. While that’s in the works, he plans to visit during the summer months of either June or July.

As to what other plans Taisacan has in store, regarding funds, he said “I’m looking at working with the U.S. Economic Development Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Defense. “That’s where I can maybe tap some resources from them and channel my office to them,” he said.

According to Taisacan, currently, a population of 196 inhabit four of the 10 Northern Islands—Anatahan, Alamagan, Agrigan, and Pagan. About 40 to 50 people live on each island.

Right now, there are five NI Mayor’s Office staff on Agrigan, three on Alamagan, but none in Pagan yet due to 2021’s volcanic activity, “but we’re planning to head back there in the summer to try and develop it again.”

“It’s my dream to serve the Northern Islands. I grew up on one of the islands—Anatahan—and it’s just something out there that draws my attention back, even when I had my family and children. All I talked about were those islands, how we really need to protect and invest in them. They will be the driving force of our economy here,” he said.

Taisacan hopes that “the more informed our people are about the Northern Islands, the more support and productive they’ll be.”

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at leigh_gases@saipantribune.com.

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