What are your expectations for this new administration?


Today signifies the beginning of a new era, with the CNMI officially installing Gov. Arnold Palacios and Lt. Gov. David M. Apatang. To mark this occasion, Saipan Tribune asked people at random what they hope and expect of the incoming Palacios-Apatang administration.

“My expectation for this new administration is utmost transparency, especially with remaining and incoming funds. I hope that this new administration will update the people on certain aspects of the government and listen and take the community’s suggestions for change to heart. I also hope for fairness in terms of employment opportunities within the government and for a much-needed raise in the CNMI’s minimum wage. In this new administration, I also hope that small local business owners are provided aid through fair and honest funding programs. Finally, I hope that in this administration, we finally see a change in how food stamps are disbursed, with coupons to debit cards to reduce the traffic and waiting time.
—Suzette Zandueta, Capital Hill

“I am hoping that the Palacios-Apatang administration will put a large amount of resources toward fixing our crumbling infrastructures as this will create jobs and the money these workers make will, in turn, stimulate the economy. I hope that this administration will pay off government debts and raise the minimum wage to $10 – $12 an hour. I also hope that the new administration will provide assistance to people threatened by the two catastrophic typhoons (Typhoon Yutu and Typhoon Soudelor) and the COVID-19 pandemic as many lost their homes, jobs, and food security. In addition, I expect the new administration to find ways to assist those who continue to live in poverty as a result of these unexpected events. Lastly, I expect the Palacios-Apatang administration to tackle and prioritize our hospital and to find solutions to improve our health care system.
—Maryann Borja, Rota

“I hope the new administration will finally carry out all the work that the former administration promised to fulfill like the promised renovations and expansion of our local hospital, an increase in minimum wage, and the promise to take care of the people.
—Mark Dungca, China Town

“I really just hope that this administration keeps true to its promise of change. The previous administration promised so much, later to find out that the community became a pawn to fulfill the greedy self-interest of those in high standing within the government. I know there is no perfect government, [but] I just hope that this administration does better for the sake of the Commonwealth.
—Francine Ballesteros, Capital Hill

“I expect this government to just be honest. So much was kept from the people and so much is still being kept from people to date. I expect his government will stick to their agreement with the Democratic Party and really be transparent. Many issues have come to light during the transition period, and I hope those are addressed. But, most importantly, I hope for a fair and honest government under this new administration.
—Erica Reyes, As Terlaje

“Honestly I just hope that this new administration finds a way to rebuild the CNMI from the rubble the previous administration left it in. I hope for a higher minimum wage because in this economy, you can’t live off a $7.25-per-hour [wage]. The community has been put through so much these past years, been stolen from without our knowledge, and used to make the rich richer. I pray that this administration will be the complete opposite of that.
—Roland Cabrera, Chalan Kanoa

“I am looking forward to a peaceful and civil transition of power. With the new administration and those elected to serve in our 23rd Legislature, I expect to see the promises made during the campaign kept and fulfilled, specifically building trust. What I should see are our leaders setting good examples of progress through unity. What I hope to see is more awareness and education in the field of mental and behavioral health, frequently discussed, and made more of a priority. Congratulations again, to all those elected and I look forward to serving with you all!”
—Joshua Castro, Navy Hill

“I believe the expectations I have for this new administration are the same as everyone else and I believe they are somewhat high, and that also there really is a change. I think this new administration owes it to the people of the CNMI to fulfill the promises they said they will keep. These last couple of years have been a roller-coaster of emotions and a big thought I have is that some of the parks and playgrounds are better maintained and fixed [than others]. As a single parent, going to the playground across MHS used to be a lot of fun for my kids but now it’s boarded up with pallets. I know it’s only the beginning so I’m hoping for the best for now. I know things don’t happen overnight so, hopefully there is a change.”
—Robert Mojica, Chalan Kanoa

“I expect the new administration to do their absolute best and work for the best interest of the people in the CNMI. It’s very hard to lead here because it’s such a small island. You will always be the topic of discussion and be on the firing line. Some will never be satisfied and it comes with the job. I trust the honorable Gov. Palacios and the honorable Lt. Gov. Apatang will do the best for the people of the CNMI as all their predecessors did before them. I wish them and their administration the best and pray for their success to take care of us.”
—Edward Dela Cruz Jr., San Vicente

“The one thing that I’d like is a good foundation for education. I’m not sure how they’d do it but just supporting the kids in the schools and giving nice benefits to teachers.”
—Justin Royce Agustines, China Town

“I think we can expect big changes and equal service for locals and foreign nationals, and I hope they do what they said they would on their platform during the elections. More equal benefit distribution, especially with federal funds. So hopefully, it will happen in their administration. Good luck to our new governor and lieutenant governor.”
—Jimmy Mira, Sadog Tasi

“We expect more jobs to be opened up for people who really need it and will work to better help our society. Involving the community in sharing their ideas/suggestions on how to shape the new government is also a good step in making the people’s voice heard, validated, and involved without feeling lost.”
—Danica Guevarra, Susupe

“I hope there will be more jobs, more opportunities, a wage increase, and there will be more help for CW-1 workers.”
—Reynalynn Agbayani, Songsong, Rota

“I expect them to do as what they’ve ran their whole campaign on: ‘Rebuilding Trust.’ He has said many times that they will be transparent with the people. I just expect them to do as what they have promised. Bettering the CNMI.”
—Mary Jane Tenorio, Chalan Piao

“I expect them to give more opportunities to qualified workers, not just based on education, or even hiring based on political views, but on experience and skills. To improve the island, like fixing the roads, remodeling and improving our tourist sites, and hopefully bring in more investors that will actually help the island, all the while being transparent about it.”
—Korey Tenorio, Chalan Piao

“I expect a change in the hiring process with ‘equal opportunity’ for everyone, better tourist sites for a better tourism (to better our economy). To improve the Department of Public Safety (properly equip department and officers), better improve our hospital (with equipment and doctors so we won’t need to go on medical referral and can be treated here). I would also expect that we, as the public, would be made aware of how deep the CNMI is in debt at the moment, and how they’re going to fix it.”
—Marvin Tebit, China Town

“I am hopeful for the new administration, and I will definitely give them the benefit of the doubt. Not a lot of people are used to or comfortable with change, and I think, with this new leadership, it’ll give us the opportunity to see new ideas our island haven’t seen in a while. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our community.”
—Sarah Herman, Chalan Tun Antonio Apa

“Entering a new year in the CNMI with a new administration may have some people on the edge of their seats, either hoping for promises to be fulfilled or expecting it to be broken. …I for one haven’t been too interested in politics, although I like many others have an opinion on the matter. My thoughts on this incoming administration doesn’t have to do with the administration alone but it includes the community as well. We are hoping for a trustworthy and transparent government, and along with exercising our right to elect a candidate we believe will do that as well as represent the CNMI. In order to have a transparent and trustworthy government we must, in a sense, be just as much involved in addressing certain issues appropriately. Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing.”
—Romeo Herman, Chalan Tun Antonio Apa

“I hope the new administration will be more open and transparent to the people, so we can be confident in the decisions they may or may not make. I hope they provide and equip our front-liners and first responders with necessary and more advanced resources to help our community and overall public safety, like a better healthcare system, as well as taking the necessary steps needed to decrease crime rates.”
—Rosien Depich, San Antonio

“For this upcoming administration, I’m hoping to see honesty and openness amidst their transactions. I’ll be praying for this administration to be wise in every decision throughout their term.”
—Joannie Laniyo, Oleai


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