Two lawmakers from Rota have proposed an agreement to fund transportation for a Customs and Border Protection officer from Saipan to Rota in an effort to encourage Star Marianas Airlines Inc. to resume flights from Rota to Guam as soon as May 8.
According to a letter from Rep. Donald Manglona (Ind-Rota) addressed to SMA general manager Jose Cruz, his office and Sen. Paul Manglona’s (Ind-Rota) are ready to fund the airfare for a CBP officer from Saipan to Rota once SMA agrees to resume flights from Rota to Guam.
“I hereby request for your approval in resuming the air service between Rota and Guam with the understanding that the daily cost of the air transportation of a Saipan-based CBP officer to Rota for a span of one month will be borne by my office and the office of Sen. Paul Manglona. The payment will be processed immediately upon approval of my request. In the meantime, a permanent arrangement will be made for a source of funding to be provided through the Rota delegation or the central government, to ultimately avoid the financial burden being shouldered by the passengers of this air service,” the letter stated.
Manglona noted that the lack of a CBP personnel to conduct a pre-clearance check is one of the reasons flight service between Rota and Guam was temporarily suspended.
Currently there are no CBP personnel stationed on Rota or Tinian, since Saipan is currently the only point of entry and exit for international flights.
However, Manglona is hoping that this proposed agreement would result in the immediate resumption of air service from Rota to Guam, which he said is vital for the people of Rota.
“Through an agreement between SMA and Customs and Border Protection, the air service between Rota and Guam can resume immediately with the presence of a CBP officer on Rota to conduct the pre-clearance process. This air service would provide the island of Rota, in addition to U.S. mainland and international destination transit flights, a greater opportunity for medical care, education, and access to affordable commodities on Guam. In closing, it is with great hopes that your timely consideration can be made to the matter regarding the pre-clearance of departing passengers from Rota to Guam,” he said.
There was no immediate word on whether Star Marianas Airlines has already responded to this letter or whether CBP is amenable to this proposal.