ON Sept. 20, Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig, representatives from the office of Tinian Mayor Edwin Aldan, representatives from the Marianas Visitors Authority, the Public School System, and I met with the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers and listened to the presentation on its newest initiative — the Marianas Village Pride or the MVP Campaign.
Under the MVP Campaign, which launches on Oct. 4, the GCEA is encouraging residents of Saipan, Rota, and Tinian to take an active role in the beautification of their villages. The community is invited to join the Adopt-A-Median program, MVP Village Flag Art Contest, MVP Bus Stop Beautification Contest, and MVP Christmas Decorating Contest. GCEA also created MVP Lessons and Coloring Pages that teachers can use in their classrooms. This campaign was designed to welcome all residents to express their village pride by taking active roles in the beautification of their villages. There will be exciting incentives for schools to participate. Information will be available on GCEA’s website at cnmieconomy.com
I am excited to see what middle school and high school students can come up with when they design the flag for San Antonio and Chalan Kanoa, the two villages close to my heart. I grew up in CK before I moved to San Antonio after I got married. I also look forward to the bus stop beautification and Christmas decorating contests and witness how our community could create more vibrant and safer facilities for our students while spreading the holiday spirit around the islands.
Growing up in CK, each village had a commissioner who made sure that we kept our homes clean. We also had only one sanitation expert then, and every time he announced that there would be an inspection in the village, CK residents can be seen scrubbing the dirt from their properties. Restrooms used to be located outside the house, so we would use diesel to get rid of the heavy stains on the walls and floors. Nobody wanted to get a citation from the sanitation department back then.
Today, only one mayor is in charge of all the villages, and it’s been a challenge for our staff to keep the villages clean and provide safer and well-maintained facilities for both residents and tourists. We are doing our very best to attend to every village’s needs, but we could use some help. This Saturday, college students from the Rotaract group are holding a village clean-up, starting at the William S. Reyes Elementary School to the Susupe Lake, and down to Sugar Dock Beach. My staff will be providing the equipment to support their activity, and the Dog Control Program will ensure that they are kept safe from stray dogs.
The weekend village clean-up drive and the MVP Campaign highlight the cooperation and assistance that we need to create a better community for everyone. I encourage village leaders, parents, students, business owners, and all members of our community to support the MVP Campaign and take pride and ownership in transforming our villages. Hosting island-wide improvement projects is critical in our efforts to revive our tourism industry. Most importantly, it’s essential in making our villages better places to live for all of us who call the Marianas home.
Let’s work together and make the Marianas an MVP — a must-visit paradise.
David M. Apatang has been the mayor of Saipan since 2015. He is an Army veteran and has served the CNMI government for decades. As mayor of Saipan, he is responsible for administering government programs, public services, appropriations, and various federal programs extended to the island. His core responsibilities involve services, programs, and efforts for the community.