19 Jan 2018
- By Junhan B. Todiño – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
TWENTY-ONE new Customs officers were sworn in on Thursday after 13 weeks of training in the 7th Cycle Academy.
The swearing-in ceremony was led by Chief Justice Alexandro Castro and was held in Hibiscus Hall at the Fiesta Resort & Spa at 10 a.m.
Also attending the ceremony were Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, cabinet members, lawmakers, law enforcement officers, families and other members of the community.
The 7th cycle valedictorian was Cadet Maelyn Naputi with Cadet Jesseleo T. Ogo as salutatorian.
Cadet Mabel Mcknox was named Top Gun for his exemplary performance in firearms training consisting of shooting practice, qualifications and drills, night and low-light shooting, and gun safety.
Naputi, Ogo and Mcknow, along with Wai Lun Guan and Paul Anthony Quizon, were named the top five cadets.
Other graduates were Raymond Peter D.L.C. Cabrera, Shota Castro, Jessica C. Deleon Guerrero, Jesus T. Iguel, Nicole Juliet D.L.R. Kapileo, Franklin K. Lizama, Harry T. Nakamura Jr., Christian Anthony C. Pangelinan, Eddie Joe S. Pangelinan, Kristen D. Pangelinan, Elden Sablan, Franklin Sablan, Jocelyn Sonia Taitingfong, Mark Tuan-Iam, Rico Vince D.L.G. Villagomez and Justine R. Zapanta.
The presentation of certificates was led by Customs Director Jose C. Mafnas who was assisted by Chief Justice Alexandro Castro, Governor Torres, Mayor Apatang, Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson, Speaker Ralph Demapan and Attorney General Edward Manibusan.
In his remarks, the governor said the more vigilant and aggressive the Customs officers are in finding contraband, the more they are protecting the community,
“Every dollar that we invest in our cadets strengthens our resources to fight our battles against illegal drugs, pesticides and other illegal substance that come to our islands,” he said.
He congratulated the new Customs officers, saying that even though their work is seldom noted, “they are still working extremely hard.”
The governor also expressed appreciation to the cadets’ families for their support.
Torres announced the funding allotment for the acquisition of a mobile scanner that can be used to inspect 40-foot containers.
Mafnas, for his part, reminded the new Customs officers about the many challenges they will face as they carry out their responsibilities.
But he said he was also elated by the team spirit of the new officers.
Larson said Customs, other law enforcement agencies and their partners share a common interest in keeping the commonwealth safe while working toward economic prosperity for the islands.
“As you begin your career with us, I ask that you take all that you have learned and apply it. I also ask that you remember the serious mandate that we give you today,” she told the cadets.
Larson said the Customs officers are on the frontline to protect the borders and keep them safe.
“You are the first line of defense against the entry of harmful drugs into our community. You are the ones we rely on to keep illegal weapons and other contraband out of our islands.”
In an interview, Custom training coordinator Rita Mae Santos said the 7th Cycle program included training on rules and regulations, baggage inspection, and enforcement at the airports, seaports and post offices.
The 21 new customs officers are now ready for their job, she said, but they will undergo a further three-month on-the-job training with senior officers.
“We need to further develop their skills,” she added.
During the graduation ceremony, parents and family members were asked to pin the badges on the new Customs officers. Then the cadets recited the officer’s prayer.
The ceremony also included the retrieval of the guidon which is a symbol of the Customs division and a source of pride for the cadets of the academy.
The ceremony started with the procession of the 7th Cycle cadets. Cadets Maelyn Naputi and Franklin Lizama led the singing of the U.S. and CNMI anthems while the benediction was led by Rev. Frederick Fatialofa.
The event mistress of ceremonies was Lareina C. Camacho who acknowledged and thanked their partners: the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, the Commonwealth Ports Authority, the Department of Public Safety, the Division of Electronic Data Processing, the Division of Revenue and Taxation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho, Northern Marianas College, the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Office of the Public Auditor, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the instructors from the Division of Customs Service.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/101633-21-new-customs-officers-sworn-in