THE late Rep. Ivan Alafanso Blanco once commented how the Public Private Partnership initiative of the Governor’s Council of Economic of Advisers allows people working in different capacities to come together and support the same cause — taking care of our islands. He saw the PPP campaign as a way to inspire every community member to step up, get organized, and help transform the Marianas.
Rep. Ivan devoted time to spruce up tourist sites and village facilities on Rota, Tinian, and Saipan. The paint splattered on his trademark working military pants proved how many murals, pavilions, basketball courts, and parking lots he helped to upgrade since he and members of the Legislature came onboard the PPP initiative.
On Saturday, Aug. 21, GCEA will recognize the 58 groups that have taken on the challenge to help the Marianas realize its potential as a world-class destination and provide residents and tourists clean and safe facilities to enjoy. The recognition ceremony will cap the GCEA’s Marianas-wide first anniversary celebration, as we celebrated this milestone on Rota and Tinian earlier this summer.
To mark the Saipan celebration, our PPP partners have been conducting cleanup and beautification drives since last week and will continue their work Saturday morning before heading down to Susupe for the appreciation event. We can’t thank our PPP partners enough. They have honored their commitment to help turn things around for our islands.
Looking back on the past year, we have uncovered the real condition of our islands’ facilities due to back-to-back natural disasters and the lack of maintenance. Today, through the combined efforts of government agencies and officials, businesses, and the ethnic, cultural, and sports groups, we have been able to make significant strides toward our end goal of providing a better quality of life for all who call the Marianas home.
However, there’s more work to be done. We now call on our PPP partners and those who are getting ready to join the campaign to take things to the next level. While we prepare for and await the safe return of tourism to our islands, let’s continue our community beautification work and also think of bigger and better ways to improve the Marianas. Together, we can all pitch in and support initiatives that will transform our islands to attract more visitors to help in the recovery of the tourism industry.
Late last month, South Koreans visited our islands as a part of the travel bubble agreement between the Marianas and South Korea. Their itinerary included a visit to Marpi sites, and while they gave positive feedback about their visit, there’s more we could offer them, our future visitors and our residents through the proposed Marpi Visitors Center and transformation projects in the area.
There’s quite a long list of initiatives from GCEA and proposed projects under the PPP campaign. They will not be accomplished overnight, but the growing number of PPP partners is encouraging us to push harder and surpass the accomplishments of our first year. Together, We Can improve life in the Marianas for generations to come.
Mike Sablan is vice president of Triple J Enterprises Inc. and chairperson of the Domestic Policy and Recovery Committee of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers. As an advisory council for Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, the GCEA’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the Marianas for all residents.