General

2018: ‘A very challenging year’

LIEUTENANT Gov.-elect Arnold I. Palacios said 2018 was a very challenging year not only because it was an election year, but also because two typhoons devastated the Commonwealth.

“We have to work a lot harder to help our people,” he said in an interview. “We still face the same challenges of recovery, which will remain  our focus until we recover fully.”

The CNMI  economy has been impacted heavily, but Palacios said the administration looks forward to working with everybody, including the attorney general, the Legislature and the judiciary.

“We cannot do this alone. We need the help of everyone,” he said. “We will look at the lessons learned so we can become more resilient and stronger. We need to make our infrastructure stronger so it can withstand natural disasters.”

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Palacios, the outgoing Senate president, will be sworn in on Jan. 14, 2019.

In a separate interview, Sen. Jude U.  Hofschneider described 2018 as “an outstanding year,” were it not for the wraths of typhoons Mangkhut and Yutu.

“But I am very pleased that despite the disasters, we are able to pick ourselves up and continue moving forward to full recovery,” Hofschneider said.

He noted the community’s resiliency and determination to get back to normalcy.

“I am grateful for all the support we are getting from all levels of government and the generosity of different organizations from all points of the globe,” Hofschneider added.

Looking ahead for 2019, Hofschneider added, “we will work together to rebuild the islands’  infrastructure and at the same time…find ways to reinvigorate the tourism industry as well as the other economic activities in the CNMI. I appreciate the patience and understanding of the community as we sift our way through.”

Incoming Speaker Blas Jonathan “BJ” Attao agreed that 2018 “was very good” until the storms came.

“Recovery efforts are still ongoing on all three main islands,” Attao said. “We are thankful to  the first responders and everybody who came to help us. It proves that we can work together and rebuild together. We will continue our collaboration with the community to bring back  normalcy.”

Incoming House Minority Leader Edwin Propst said 2018 was like a rollercoaster — full of ups and downs and some highs and lows.

“It was a sad year also because we lost some very good people, but we are still very optimistic,” he said.

Propst added, “we will do everything we can to work it out and get things back to normal. We will continue to work hard to improve our economy. We want to work with our leaders to continue to champion transparency and accountability, and we want to do our best to be more fiscally conservative so that we prioritize all revenues primarily to help our people. Yes, we are coming back from the worst typhoon we’ve ever seen, and we are continuing to go out and help our people, and we will keep doing it until we are back to normal.”

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/109774-2018-a-very-challenging-year

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