‘We are just doing our job’

A day after former governor Juan N. Babauta sued her and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres for the sorry state of the Marpi swimming pool, Public Lands Secretary Marianne Concepcion-Teregeyo insisted yesterday that she and her team are just doing the job that Torres had asked them to do, and that is to make sure all public lands are properly managed and put to good use within the tenets of the CNMI Constitution.

Concepcion-Teregeyo said that her department had been getting a lot of flak lately, with some members of the community even saying she’s not doing her job.

“I would like to clarify that the governor has allowed me to my job, to do it right, and to vet the process. There’s a lot of information out in the community about the Bloomberg article and about the alleged conspiracies going on between the administration and [Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC],” said Concepcion-Teregeyo.

“If there was a push to award it to IPI, I would have already lost my job because I have not awarded it to IPI and there’s reasons for that. The secretary of DPL has a very high fiduciary duty, very different from the other departments. [DPL] is created by the [CNMI] Constitution, therefore there’s a lot of requirements that needs to be met and we need to vet.”

The issue at hand was the closure of the Mariana Resort & Spa and its surrounding facilities after the lease of Kan Pacific Saipan ended last Sept. 30. The Marianas Country Club, racetrack, and the Marpi pool also shut down.

Concepcion-Teregeyo said that, although she wants to see the pool remain open, after the local swimming federation and other members of the community clamored for it, “DPL is not in the business of operating a public pool. Our fiduciary duties are to manage public lands and not public pools.”

She, however, said there would be a process that would be followed in re-opening the pool where her department would put out three separate requests for proposals to temporarily maintain and operate the golf course, racetrack, and hotel.

“Once the RFPs are created and bids are submitted, the winning bidder for the racetrack and hotel would both submit funds to the Marpi pool, which then would be opened for public use,” said Concepcion-Teregeyo.

“We have many factors playing in. We have the temporary hotel operator’s agreement, temporary golf course operator’s agreement, and temporary racetrack operator’s agreement. These agreements could go for a year to three years.”

She added that the RFPs are ready. “The RFPs will be published by the end of the week, for the operator’s agreement for the golf course and racetrack. The hotel operator’s [RFP] will be published two weeks after the closing of the golf course and racetrack. The Marpi pool will be the public benefit from the operator of the hotel and racetrack.”

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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