Gov. Ralph DLG Torres would make his first report to the people of the Commonwealth on Friday, with the CNMI’s changing economy the focus of his State of the Commonwealth Address. He would speak before a joint session of the Legislature on Friday at 10am at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe.
This is the Legislature’s first joint session since the late governor Eloy S. Inos’ SoCA on June 30, 2014.
Although the CNMI has made some gains and improvement with its economy, Torres said there are still challenges that need to be addressed. “The [SoCA’s] focus is our past, present, and future economic development.”
“How the CNMI’s economic state had been shaped through many administrations and where we are now. We’re also going to present what we have been doing to strengthen our foundations for future generations.”
The CNMI’s economy is tourism-based and the government would like to capitalize on the entry of the new gaming industry. The administration, together with various agencies like the Marianas Visitors Authority, has been trying to come up with various ideas on how to have new attractions in the CNMI to attract more tourists.
Torres, in an earlier interview, said what happened to the garment industry more than a decade ago had been a lesson to the CNMI and they have been coming up with safety nets to avoid a similar incident.
Although his report to the public would focus on the good things that have happened in the CNMI, he would also acknowledge the challenges the Commonwealth is facing and would confront in the future.
“There are challenges that are ahead of us and I would also put down the actions that we’ve taken to address these issues. It is not all fine and dandy, but for the most part it has been pretty good. We’ve done a pretty good job.”
Torres met with the leadership—House and Senate members of the local GOP—yesterday, discussing with them the joint session this Friday and thanking them for organizing SoCA.
Torres would also enumerate the achievements and gains of his administration as well as their vision for the CNMI’s future generations. He would also use the event to submit the government’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 to the Legislature, one day ahead of the April 1 deadline.
The new gaming industry pumped in the needed funds to the CNMI’s coffers, allowing the government to fund its departments and other programs as well as settling some of its financial obligations.
Money for the Retirement Fund, bonuses for the retirees and their beneficiaries, salary adjustment and increases for law enforcement officers and all government employees, and pay longstanding obligations to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.