Posts by Lyn:

    For the nth time, Fil Am student from Saipan brought home top prize in science competition

    May 27th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Eskuelan San Francisco De Borja student Michael Jon Cantil receives a trophy for winning first place in Energy and Invention Category at the Guam Science Fair on May 4-5.

    ANOTHER FILIPINO American student from Saipan brought home top academic honors early this month when he won top prize in the annual science fair, it was learned yesterday.

    Eskuelan San Francisco De Borja student Michael Jon C. Cantil won first place in the Energy and Invention Category during at the 40th annual Island Wide Science Fair held at the University of Guam on May 4 and 5.

    This is not the first time Cantil brought academic honors home. For two consecutive years, he won in the CNMI Public School System Island-wide Science Technology Engineering and Math Fair.

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    Mary Rose Lucero, Science Fair Coordinator of ESFDB, said Cantil’s winning was announced during the awarding and recognition day at the Hilton Resort & Spa on May 19.

    Cantil was among the CNMI delegates in the Guam event. He said the Public School System shouldered their travel in order to participate in the science competition on Guam.

    At the recent competition, Cantil showcased his project “Smart Street Lighting System.” The 13-year- old student said he developed the project to help in conserving electricity by using street lighting control system technology.

    The idea is when a person or vehicle passes by a particular infrared sensor, it senses the position of vehicle and gives signal to the controller board to on the LED light to its full brightness, and automatically dims when no person or vehicle are in the vicinity.

    “We can conserve electricity with the use of Smart Street Lighting control system. The system is said to reduce energy consumption by up to 65 percent, and reducing maintenance cost by as much as 90 percent,” Cantil said.

    ESFDB principal Carmen Atalig, who chaperoned Cantil on Guam, commented that the judges were interested in his project.

    According to Lucero, this is the second time that the ESFDB won in the Guam science fair.

    “In 2013, our student Angelica S. Lucero won first place in the same division. Last year, we won third place in Life Science Category Division 1 by Eianne Ladao,” she said.

    Cantil, who competed with 25 to 30 students in the Energy and Invention Division, thanked his teachers Ed Maratita, Rose Lucero, Flor Chavez and ESFDB principal Carmen Atalig for supporting him during the CNMI-PSS STEM Fair competition and the Guam Science Fair.

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    Fil Am student from Saipan International School finished 10th in the national math competition

    May 26th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Saipan International School student Frederic Dean Michael Guintu finished 10th at the math national championship – high school level.

    A FILIPINO American student from the Saipan International School earned a top ten slot in a recently concluded national math competition in Kansas City, where more than 100 students from across the United States competed.

    Ninth grader Frederic Dean Michael Guintu finished 10th at the Mathleague Championship held last May 19 at the University of Missouri.

    According to Vina Dueñas, one of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Island (CNMI) Mathcourt administrators, said Guintu and the rest of the CNMI team competed with over 100 students at the national competition – high school level.

    Guintu received a trophy for placing 10th for the 9th grade level at the competition.

    Dueñas said nine states and territories, including CNMI and the Philippines, participated in the Mathleague championship.

    Team CNMI members include: Frederic Dean Michael Guintu, James Lee, Michael Lee and Junhee Lee, all SIS students; Jushua Qiu of Grace Christian Academy, and Kichang Jeoung of Marianas Baptist Academy.

    This year, according to Dueñas, the CNMI mathletes thrived in the Mathematics national competition.

    In March 17, 2018, two members from the CNMI team finished third and 8th in the middle school level Mathleague championship in Phoenix, Arizona.

    Dueñas said Silas Xu of Agape Christian School won third place in the 7th Grade Category while Joanah Jimenez of Marianas Baptist Academy placed 8th at the Countdown round qualifier.

    “We want to thank the Public School System and the Board of Education for their continued support, and for helping make all of this possible for the students of the CNMI,” Dueñas said.

    She said the CNMI Mathcourt is now preparing to compete in the national championship for elementary level on June 16, 2018 at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

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    Friends of the Arts presents ‘Into the Woods’

    May 25th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    The cast of ‘Into the Woods’ produced by the Friend of the Arts. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

    THE baker’s hunt for ingredients – the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, the slipper as pure as gold – brought the popular fairy tales characters of ‘Into the Woods’ into life and created a one magical musical night.

    The two-act play, which premiered last May 9 and ran for two days at the Multipurpose Center in Susupe, was brought to Saipan by The Friends of Arts (FoA). It was based on the on the book by James Lapine and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

    FoA president Susan Fishman-Tudor admitted the FoA-produced ‘Into the Woods’ may not be up to par as the Broadway, but they have local talents, whose quality of singing gave justice to Sondheim’s almost-operatic style.

    “There is very little dialogue, everything is in song. Everybody have to work very hard to learn the music and very specific. This is the first time that I’ve been involved in Sondheim’s music. The written music is difficult to learn. When you are reading the script or acting out the script, you can add a line and fill in, but when you are singing a song, you can’t miss a note,” she said.

    The FoA recruited young local talents in the community, most of them students, who have been performing in local and national competitions.

    The cast list include, Dave Bucher, Macy Manzanares, Bonnie Gio Sagana, Rinisa Torres, Neil Fama, Joan Liwanag, Helen Ann Bucher, Clarisse Torio, Aira Joy Velasco, Amber Liwag, Marilou Conner, Nicoleanne Bird, Chuck Sayon, Miguel Aninon, Kelvin Wolf, Maria Metta, Eden Conner, James Reyes, Lauren Celis, Juliet Inocencio, Jefferson Cunanan, Khristian Itaas, Francis Pliscou and Jenine Perena.

    “We have a cast of almost 40 people, just enough to fill the parts. A lot of people were cast for their vocal range,” Fishman-Tudor said, adding they also cast some of their actors too.

    According to Fishman-Tudor, the cast have undergone a six to eight weeks grueling rehearsal after their audition.

    “Everybody learned the music first and we coordinated with the orchestra which helps a lot.”

    Into the Woods Pit Band with musical director Katie Hoyt. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

    The two-hour play featured 72 songs and underscores accompanied by live orchestra under the helm of musical director Katie Hoyt. It was in 2009 when they had live orchestra, when FoA and Esther Park, flute.

    The FoA president said one of the major difficulties was putting music and the script together. She said the play had been postponed because of the many hurdles.

    “We had this production for April, but we had to postpone it,” she said.

    When they have a play, they scheduled the showing on Thursday, Friday, Saturday night – or on weekends.

    “But there were complications – there’s the Taste of the Marianas and the Marianas March Against Cancer,” she added.

    They were also affected by the Superior Court’s building air-conditioning problem.

    “There were a lot going on here,” Fishman-Tudor said of the availability of the Multipurpose Center.

    “One of our major difficulties is doing all the rehearsals on the stage that we are not doing our performance on,” she said.

    They were able to rehearse at the venue two days before the opening.

    One of the things that FoA did for this production was upgrading the audio tech. She said one of the major complaints from people in the past was not being able to hear.

    “It is really an intricate and complicated show. The score is difficult for the music. We have great production crew.

    We have adult, stage managers – students and adult – helped in the production enormously. That is a real bonus when you are getting something to show as complicated and as intricate as this,” Fishman-Tudor said.

    The technical staff are Chenoa Bunts-Anderson, Ellen Cotter, Tucker Baldwin, Nicoleanne Bird, Wesley Forster, Ruoxiang John Lu.

    Scenic artists include Wesley Forster, Greg Elliot, Marianas High Art Club – Meillene Ferrer, Cherlene Detera, Mary Jane Domingo, Karen Irinaka, John Lum Cerijean Mangubat, Jed Pagcaliwanagan.

    Play Director Harold Eaton explained that the first act for him is about wanting, and the second act is about the consequences and the unexpected results of that wanting.

    “The consequences and unexpected results are equally part of that experience, sometimes for the good, sometimes not. See if you can recognize things you have seen during your lifetime that are reflected in our fairy tale characters,” he said.

    “I think the message there is ‘be careful what you wish for,” Fisman-Tudor added.

    The Friends of the Arts is the CNMI’s local community theater organization that promotes performing arts through hosting several plays each year. For more information or ticket reservations contact Frank Gibson through email at

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    Cancer incidence in the Marianas on the rise

    May 24th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog signing a proclamation declaring May 6 -12, 2018 as Marianas March Against Cancer Week. Also in photo, left, CCA board president Bo Palacios and MMAC co-chair Bobby Cruz, right. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

    THE incidence of cancer in the Mariana islands rose by 66 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year.

    Thus said Mariana March Against Cancer (MMAC) Co-Chair Carline Sablan quoting records of the Commonwealth Cancer Association (CCA) during the proclamation of the MMAC Week last May 6 at the Hopwood Middle School (HMS) campus in Saipan. She said Saipan had 97 recorded cancer cases in 2016 and this rose to 161 the following year.

    “These numbers are too high for a small community like ours. Even one is too high,” Sablan said as she encouraged everyone to think about it.

    “I encouraged everyone to take time to reflect on this, because it really is impacting our community,” she added.
    Sablan’s MMAC Co-Chair Bobby Cruz, for his part, said research showed that in 2012, 14 million people died of cancer worldwide and in 2030 that number is going to rise at 21 million.

    “One in every two individual will get cancer. That means your friend, or your family or someone you know. The reality is cancer affects all of us. So this fight is our fight,” Cruz told the HMS students.

    In emphasizing the MMAC’s perpetual theme “one community, one journey”, Cruz said working together as one community will one day make the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) cancer-free.

    On May 6, CNMI Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog signed a proclamation declaring May 6-12 as MMAC Week. Both officials urged the community to join the fight against cancer by participating in the MMAC.

    The MMAC is the signature and fundraising event of the CCA to support its mission of saving lives and creating a world with less cancer though early detection and prevention, education, advocacy efforts, and life-affirming patient services for cancer. It celebrates cancer survivors and caregivers, remembers those lost to the disease, and empowers individuals and communities to fight back against cancer.

    The CCA provides help to patient with items such as medical equipment, mastectomy bras, nutritional supplements, personal care items, patient navigation to and from treatment and support networks.
    In 2017, 18 sponsor teams participated in the event.

    But this year, Cruz said, the MMAC reached a record high of 20 sponsor teams, including Team Bodig, Triple J Saipan/Chacha Oceanview Middle School Lancherus, Ayuda Network, Inc./CNMI Government, Team Faiye’, Joeten Eagles, IT&E/Saipan Southern High School, Imperial Pacific International/Marianas High School, Lady Diann Torres Foundation/Northern Marianas College, CNMI Public School System/Saipan Paddling Club, Northern Marianas Islands Football Association, Pacific Islands Club, Talaabwogh StaR, Tan Holdings/Kagman High School, TRIBE Marianas, Marianas Health Services, CHADIC, and Resort & Spa/Hopwood Middle School, Mount Carmel Knights, MyPros/Bridge Capital, LLC.

    The Mariana islands is only 1,340 miles or 2,158 kilometers from Bikini Atoll where the United States conducted extensive nuclear weapons testings between 1946 to 1958. The atoll remains uninhabitable due to high radiation levels.

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    Historic CNMI museum rebuilt due to government and private sector efforts

    May 23rd, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    NMI Museum. Image ©

    UNITED States Congressman Gregorio Kilili Sablan lauded the joint efforts of the government and private agencies in restoring the Northern Mariana Island Museum of History and Culture.

    “The museum is as much a tribute to the story of the people of the Marianas as it is to the resilience and determination of those who have led to the museum’s operation. They have kept the museum alive,” Kilili, who represents the people of the Northern Mariana Islands in the US Congress, said during a simple recognition rites.

    According to NMI Museum Executive Director Danny Aquino, the museum, which is in a 92-year old former hospital building built during the Japanese administration of the islands, was almost permanently closed due to its deplorable condition brought about by inadequate funding, lack of staff and the ravages of a destructive typhoon.

    Nevertheless, Aquino said the museum’s repair and renovation started as soon as he was appointed as its executive director in June 2017. He, however, added that his first move was to secure a budget for the museum.

    Noting the historic location of the museum, Kilili said “the structure itself is an artifact of our history. Its concrete, paintless exterior told the story of war and every typhoon that should have shut it down permanently.”

    US Congressman Gregorio Kilili Sablan

    Kilili recalled that he visited the museum shortly after the islands were ravaged by Typhoon Soudelor and saw that the artifacts were damaged, the roof was leaking, there were mold in the walls, the floor is flooded and its plumbing is wrecked that it is almost non existent. He added that the museum was forced to close its doors to visitors indefinitely.

    After six months, Kilili said, he nearly did not recognized the site when he revisited it because of the repairs undertaken by Aquino.

    “I visited the museum in February to see this progress. I can report the difference between then and now,” he said, adding “visitors to our islands can orient themselves to the three-and-a-half millennia of Marianas history at our museum.”

    Kilili observed that a number of government agencies and businesses helped the museum by providing financial and material support.
    He said a US$55,000 budget was appropriated by the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation, and US$50,000 from the Marianas Visitors Authority while IT&E, Saipan Stevedore, Saipan Shipping, CMS Trucking, Soudelor Corporation, Tropical Gardens, and other local businesses also provided material support.

    Help from the staff of the Saipan Mayor’s Office also moved the work along at a faster pace. The mayor’s team assisted museum staff with grounds maintenance, landscaping, and other outdoor work, Kilili added.

    Among those who helped and recognized for their efforts were: IT&E, which donated most of the aircon units and one 30-foot container; Saipan Stevedore and CMS Trucking for donating 20-foot container and equipment to transport and set all three containers, Tropical Gardens, Soudelor Corporation; NMI Museum staff Danny Aquino, James Macaranas, Allan Lifoifoi, Wenny Haruo; McDonald’s Saipan, Tan Su Li, Tan Foundation, Mayor Apatang and Mayor’s Office, and Tasi Tours, SNILD and MVA.

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    War movie screening a hit in Saipan

    May 22nd, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Image ©

    A ONE night screening of the movie series “We Drank Our Tears” crashed the box office early this month as all tickets were sold out even before the screening date.

    The movie’s writer, producer and director, Galvin Deleon, said the filming and showing of “We Drank Our Tears” series was a dream and vision come true for him and his friend Rob Travilla. He said the series, which was shown at the Saipan Regal Megaplex last May 4, is about the events that took place during world War II in the Mariana islands.

    The three films in the series was adapted the from a book of the same title. It is a collection of selected World War II experiences by Francisco Babauta, Benjamin Abadilla and Rafael Mafnas.

    The film started with encore screening of Francisco Babauta’s Story. The film won the best local production in the 2017 Marianas International Film Festival and was a finalist for the Made in the Marianas Award at the 7th Annual Guam International Film Festival.

    It was followed by Benjamin Abadilla’s Story, which was written and directed by Deleon Guerrero. It tells the story of 10-year-old Abadilla during the Japanese invasion in the Philippines, where they have travel from place to place to escape the advancing Japanese soldiers. He was eventually separated from his family.

    Rafael Mafnas’s story, which was written by Deleon Guerrero and directed by Mount Carmel School students Angelo Manese and Justin Ocampo, is about the story of two friends, who were hiding in the cave in order to escape crossfire between American and Japanese Soldiers.

    We Drank Our Tears’ directors Galvin Deleon Guerrero, Justin Ocampo and Angelo Manese. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

    Deleon Guerrero said they chose the stories of Babauta, Abadilla and Mafnas out of the 60 stories in the book (We Drank Our Tears) because they have the most prominent theme – thirst.

    “Everybody was thirsty and one of the very consistent themes in this book is that the civilian experience – people just want basic stuff like food, shelter, water. We thought this idea we drank our tears, people drinking their sadness,” Deleon Guerrero explained.

    In the Abadilla film, Deleon said wanted to tell Abadilla’s bloody and gory experience.

    “We often hear about the casualties of war with the soldiers but I just wanted to show that this incident affected the entire family and I have to say it is very moving.”

    Young directors Manese and Ocampo said they selected Mafnas’ because “it has very interesting conflict.”

    “The very pivotal goal of the civilians in this book – all the civilians in this war was all about surviving either with someone of just alone.

    All these war stories were told in soldiers’ perspective but seldom do we see a movie where the other end of the barrel was pointing at civilian. We want to give the audience an enlightening perspective.”

    Among the audience who saw the film was the family of Abadilla.

    Judy Santos, Abadilla’s daughter, said she was moved to see her father’s story come to life.

    According to Judy, her father was still a little boy when the Japanese invaded the Philippines. She added, however, that it was her daughter Jonah, who interviewed her father.

    Benjamin Abadilla’s family at the screening of ‘We Drank Our Tears’ series. Photo © Lyn Lirio

    Jonah was still a student at Dandan Middle School when she wrote the war experience of her grandfather. The story landed in “We Drank Our Tears” which was published in 2004, Judy said.

    According to Deleon Guerrero, they plan to enter the two new films into the Guam International Film Festival and other film festivals.

    “These festivals have exclusivity requirements that they want these exclusives because they want people to come to the festivals,” he said as he explained why they will not be able to have it to show it publicly.

    “We want to have it to the festival circuit first and then we want to make it available online,” he added.

    They are trying to negotiate with different distributors to put it online.

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    Successful job fair held in Saipan

    May 21st, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    At least 346 individuals and 57 agencies participated in the NMC’s annual career fair at the Saipan World Resort. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio.

    THIS year’s Northern Mariana’s College Annual Career Fair was a success.

    This according to NMC Career Manager Neda Deleon Guerrero who reported that more than 300 individuals participated in the NMC’s career fair which was held at the Taga Hall of the Saipan World Resort last May 4.

    Specifically, Guerrero said 57 agencies received applications and conducted interviews for 346 job seekers. She stressed that the success of the event was an indication that many in the community were seeking employment.

    At the same time, Deleon Guerrero noted that the NMC-hosted career fair was not exclusive for NMC students and its graduates.

    “The NMC’s career fair gives opportunity to the community. We opened it up to the community too,” she said.
    Deleon Guerrero said they have holding career fairs for years. She recounted that every year, the event has been getting bigger and reaching out to people who were seeking employment.

    “We started the career fair very small. We used to host it in the campus in D1 room. We used to have 11 agencies participants, and now we are up to 60 today,” she said.

    Meanwhile, NMC president Carmen Fernandez expressed gratitude to companies which participated in the career fair. She said many people will be able to have a job and NMC was an instrument for that opportunity.

    On the other hand, NMC Human Resources for Special Education Donna Flores said there were 70 individuals who submitted their job applications. She added that currently, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Public School System needs teachers for Early Head Start, and SPED program and counselors.

    “We also need occupational therapists, speech pathologists and psychologists. These are hard-to-fill positions,” said Flores.

    “Luckily for us, NMC produces a lot of teacher graduates. We were able to absorb those graduates and put them into teaching-related positions. But those specialized position, such as speech pathologists and occupational therapists, those are a little harder to fill locally,” Flores added.

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    Twenty percent of American children suffers from mental issues

    May 19th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Ms. Marianas Celine Cabrera posed with students who attended the proclamation of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

    ONE out of five children suffers from mental disorder in the United States and only twenty percent of those afflicted with it receive health care.

    This was learned shortly after Systems of Care (SoC), a program under the Community Guidance Center-Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. opened a house in San Antonio, Saipan early this month.
    Program Manager Vina S. Ayuyu said the SoC program is focused on improving the mental and behavioral health outcomes for children and youth.

    “Through our outreach, education, and direct service components, our program provides prevention and intervention services for children and youth between the ages of five to eight years old who are experiencing or are at-risk of severe emotional challenges.”

    The SoC program was established when the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services awarded a federal grant to CHCC-CGC for the planning of system of care in the CNMI in 2014.

    “The following year, our team successfully garnered a four-year implementation grant that then established the SOC program.”

    Ayuyu cited the national data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which indicated that one out of five children experience a mental disorder in a given year. She said only 20 percent of these children with mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders receive care from a mental health care provider.

    “Mental health is important at every state of life and is just as important as our physical health. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Good mental health is essential for a child as it can affect their ability to function and succeed at school, at home and in society,” she added.

    According to Ayuyu, there have been challenges to getting the program fully operational, “but we have made significant strides in providing much needed services to our children, youth and their families.”

    Since SoC opened its doors, Ayuyu said they have received 104 referrals, 86 of whom eventually enrolled for wraparound and therapy services. They have certified over 470 individuals in Mental Health First Aid and have reached over 1,200 of community members through various outreach activities.

    She considered one of the their recent achievements the completion of the renovation of the building which now housed the SoC.

    “We know there is so much more to be done. As long as mental health challenges persist in our community, our work cannot and must not stop. We must continue to strengthen our effort to ensure that our children have adequate access to appropriate mental health services. I encourage us all to continue to inform ourselves on the mental health needs of our children and work together proactively to address these needs,” Ayuyu said.

    Before the opening ceremony, Senate President Arnold Palacios signed a proclamation designating the month of May as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month.

    The goal of the proclamation is to address the complex mental health needs of children, youth and families in the CNMI.

    “It is appropriate that a day should be set apart each year for the direction of our thoughts toward our children’s mental health and well-being,” stated in the proclamation.

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    HS Students who decided to go to college honored in Saipan

    May 16th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Million Dollar Scholars and MYPros celebrate and honor 44 students who decided to continue their education in college. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

    THE Million Dollar Scholars together with the Marianas Young Professionals early this month honored 44 newly graduate high school students who decided to go to college and continue their education.

    Dubbed “Decision Day,” the event was held at the Hyatt Regency and was attended by members of the community, educators and the 44 honorees, who announced where they decided to attend college.

    Kagman High School teacher and MDS founder Van Gils explained that May 1 is national college decision day and the deadline for high school senior to decide which college to attend. He added that it is also the first national college decision day in the Commonwealth for Northern Mariana Islands.

    “National decision day happens all over the country. A lot of times people celebrated in small scale.”

    In Saipan, he said the ‘Decision Day’ was a celebration for 44 students who will go to 14 different colleges and universities.

    “We are doubling our numbers this year. In previous years, we had 20 kids from our club going to college. We need a professional workforce – engineers, medical professionals – MDS and MYPros want to build the professional workforce of tomorrow and we have to start right now,” he said.

    MDS, according to Van Gils, started seven years ago when one of his students approached him and said she wanted to go to college. He recounted at that time, they were too late for everything – application deadline, scholarship deadlines.

    “We missed everything. I committed that the following year, I would come back and help the students ready for college.”

    Then, the Million Dollar Scholars was born. The MDS has been helping students to prepare for college.

    “We start looking for colleges for students. We decided to package our scholars, put them in cohorts and some of them will go to school together,” he said noting that students who has no support most likely will fail in college.

    “That first year, we applied for scholarship as a group. We prepared our students for the entire senior year,” he added.

    MDS provides mentoring, social support, and in some cases financial support, according to Van Gils.

    “We want to connect the kids to the resources available through different government and non-profit organizations. We help kids with suitcases, passport, whatever they need. But it is really not about specific financial amount it is more about how can we help those students get to college and on to better life,” he said.

    During the honoring ceremony, each students went up the stage and announced where they will attend the college.
    Eight students, Jeremy Agulto, Christian Arceo, Alyssa Cepeda, Kyle Fabia, Chelsea Isip, Aaron Ogumoro, Enrique Rabauliman and Angel Legaspi, will got to Boise State University.

    Five will go to Eastern Oregon University, including Kayjon Boadi, Manny Borja, Justine Kirby, Danielle Pineda, Marian Danga.

    Kyle Camacho, Jeffrey Consignado, Mike Fitial, Dustin Palacios, Eugene Villagomez, Marijean Fernandez and Tiava To’omata will go to Dixie State University.

    Maureen Cruz, Latisha Deleon Guerrero, Janie Rabauliman and Ryan Francisco will attend the Northern Marianas College.

    Aldionne Maglanque, Patrick Santos, Johnson Atalig, Janelle Lavetoria and Isabel Palacios will go to University of Guam.

    Bella Semens and Charmel Shrestha will attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
    Junita Jetley and Frances Santos will go to Western Oregon University.

    Rose Ann Bichayda and Kayla John will attend the Washington State University.

    Gedin Cabrera will go to Hollins University.

    Austin Deleon Guerrero will attend Portland State University.

    Tiffany Cayading will go to Kapiolani Community College while Meilleni Ferrer will go to Central Washington University.
    Andre Menbrebre and Cherlene Detera are still undecided.

    Most of the students said they considered a lot of factors – location, class size and academic majors – in choosing the school.

    For Mozina Khan, she told the audience that she decided to go to Adamson University in the Philippines to be with her mother, who has been away from her for years.

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    Healthcare privatization row in Saipan comes out in the open (4)

    May 15th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    (File Photo) Esther Muna Photo ©

    THE row between the two primary health institutions in Saipan is worsening with one group now accusing the other of shutting them off from their patients.

    This after Kagman Community Health Center (KCHC) board member Matthew Gregorio accused CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muña of locking them out of the KCHC building. He said the KCHC staff were locked out of the health center last April 30, and were unable to see the patients coming to the clinic.

    “We have been informed that we don’t have access to the building as per order by CEO Esther Muña,” Gregorio said.

    He expressed concerned that Muña’s action would stop them from giving health treatment and services to people in Kagman and other nearby villages.

    “We were working today and came over and the security came over and changed the locks and the staff no longer has access to the building. As a result, we might be prevented to see patients tomorrow,” Gregorio said in a phone interview.

    However, Muña denied having shutdown the center. She said the building has been closed since April 27.

    “During our conversation with Dr. Katherine Elstun on April 30, 2018, we learned that the nonprofit organization is canceling clinics all week and that they will not be scheduling clinics until June 2018,” Muña, in a statement, said.

    “As the medical director of KCHC, we expect that she is in the best position to understand her patients’ health needs,” Muña said.
    Since May 1, KCHC is run by a private non-profit entity, the Kagman Community Health Center Inc. Under the new management system, KCHC former executive director Vince Castro will be installed as the CEO.

    “For CHCC, there are certain requirements that need to be completed as the new grantee will now operate the clinic as KCHC,” board of Trustees chairwoman Lauri Ogumoro said in a statement.

    CHCC, as the grantee for the KCHC clinic – which expired on April 30, 2018, is required by federal law that management controls are in place immediately after the grant expires.

    “The CHCC has completed an initial physical inventory of clinic assets,” Muña said.

    (File Photo) Lauri Ogomuro. Image © saipantribune

    Ogumoro said the grantor Human Resources Services Administration has communicated guidance and instructions to CHCC, particularly the safeguarding of the assets to prevent loss, damage, or theft.

    “In regards to the land and building, CHCC board and KCHC board will be meeting to discuss the new entity’s needs, including the AG’s opinion on what CHCC can provide to KCHC. CHCC has also met with the employees of CHCC-KCHC to discuss the change of ownership. CHCC is committed to the health of the entire CNMI and will assist in the smooth separation between CHCC and KCHC,” Ogumoro stated.

    According to KCHC chairman of the board Velma Palacios and Gregorio, the meeting will take place at the CHCC. She said they will discuss with the CHCC board to move forward and work together.

    “We already expressed our intention to enter a memorandum of understanding with the CHCC for some of the health services,” Palacios said.

    She added that they have been reaching out to the CHCC board to set a meeting with them but it was only recently that they have responded.

    Palacios and Gregorio said they will also ask the CHCC board to allow the KCHC Inc. to use the facility in Kagman.

    “If they don’t, we will go for plan B which is to rent a place,” Gregorio said.

    The other option is holding a clinic at Sta. Soledad church.

    “The Kagman church has offered to use their facility,” he said.

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    CNMI won the championship in the Golden Bear National Drill Meet in Torrance, California

    May 14th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    The Multiple School Units from the CNMI Public School Sytem, comprising of the cadets from Kagman High School, Saipan Southern High School and Tinian High School. Image © PSS

    THE schools from the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Public School System won and took home the championship and sweepstakes trophies in last month’s Golden Bear National Drill Meet in Torrance, California, it was learned yesterday.

    The CNMI team, which is comprised by Junior Reserved Officers Training Corps (JROTC) battalions from Saipan Southern High School, Kagman High School and Tinian High School, is among the more than 60 teams from different schools in the United States mainland, Guam and Hawaii that participated in this year’s biggest JROTC competition.

    Kagman High School competed in the novice category; Saipan Southern High School in varsity armed; and Tinian High School for varsity unarmed.

    Kagman High School won third place in the novice color guard, first place in Unarmed novice exhibition; first Outstanding novice commander; first place in Unarmed novice regulation and first place in Overall unarmed novice.
    Saipan Southern High was second place in Armed varsity color guard; second place in Armed regulation; fourth place in Solo exhibition; 5th in outstanding commander armed.

    Tinian High School was third place in Unarmed color guard; first place in Unarmed regulation; third place in 4-person unarmed exhibition; first place in Outstanding unarmed commander.

    The combinations of various victories in both armed and unarmed categories gave the CNMI PSS multi school unit the top win and the overall unarmed sweepstakes trophy.

    Associate Commissioner Yvonne R. Pangelinan, who went to Torrance with the PSS MSU team, said the cadets were phenomenal.

    “I am so proud of our amazing men and women on the JROTC.”

    “There was such a sense of validation for all the hours of dedicated practice they put in. So much is owed to their outstanding army instructors for instilling such commitment and focus in the cadets. They truly represented the CNMI with the utmost integrity. It was a beautiful sight to wave our flag and receive trophies that symbolize not only success but discipline and character,” Pangelinan said in a statement.

    In 2017, the CNMI Drill Team – combined cadets from SSHS and Rota High School – won an All Army Championship for Traveling Trophy. SSHS cadet Matthew Kapileo was first place in both Armed Tapout and Outstanding Commander. SSHS also won first place in Regulation Armed Varsity.

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    21 students from Saipan join the prestigious National Junior Honor Society

    May 13th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Hopwood Middle School’s current and new members of the National Junior Honor Society.

    TWENTY-ONE students from a middle school in Saipan were inducted as new members of the prestigious National Junior Honor Society, it was learned yesterday.

    According to Rizalina Liwag, principal of Hopwood Middle School, all of the inductees are students of HMS. This brought to 42 the number of its students who are NJHS members.

    The NJHS is an international student organization that consists of chapters in middle schools. The NJHS was founded by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and today has chapters in the United States, Puerto Rico, other U.S. Territories, and Canada.

    Liwag said before they could become NJHS members, these students first underwent the tedious process of becoming a member of the HMS’ honor society.

    “They should have good moral character. They should excel in academics – straight As, and a passion to help in the community,” Liwag said of the requirements in order to be a member of the prestigious organization.

    Liwag told the new members that the school, teachers and parents have high expectations of them.

    “We wish them to continue to excel, not just in their academic but also in character and other skills. I want them to be responsible and embrace the five pillars of organization and contribute to society and be a good citizen of the country,” the principal said.

    ‘The pillars she was talking about were scholarship, leadership, service, character and citizenship.

    The students were inducted last April 28 in a simple ceremony at the Granvrio Resort.

    The ceremony’s Keynote speaker, Rep. Edmund Villagomez, emphasized that these pillars are important, not just in school, but in life. He explained that scholarship, through getting high grades, helps advance education.

    “Leadership is being responsible and dependable responsible, be dependable,” he said, adding “continue to be influential by inspiring others.”

    He said service is upholding a high level of scholarship and maintaining loyalty to the school and community.

    “Have a heart of a volunteer. Be proud and happy about what you do for the school and the community. Be willing to make sacrifices for assistance. Learn to work well with others.”

    The lawmaker said the character is upholding the highest standard of respect.

    “Be courteous. Be an individual of principle and morals. Be ethical.”

    Citizenship, he added, is upholding the law that governs the community because they promote peace and unity.

    “These are all very important pillars to live by. Keep them in mind even as you move forward in your life and develop into outstanding members of our community. When I learned about them, I take it to heart. Even though I am not in NJHS, I try to live by these pillars, especially being a representative of the people. I feel that they are important values to have or live by. So I urge all of you to try to live by them even beyond NJHS,” he said.

    He also recognized the parents for the support and dedication to their children, who are now part of the NJHS.

    “This is a reflection of your hard work and excellent parenting. Keep it up. To the teachers, and all those involved in the lives of these students, thank you. Continue to be role models to them so that they may become role models to their peers and others.

    The new members of the NJHS are:

    1. Ma. Yvonne Abustan
    2. Anthony John N. Bergancia
    3. Patricia Ann Castillion
    4. Esperanza Castro
    5. Keghani Chaparian
    6. Rownel Jody V. Coloma
    7. Nina Nicole H. David
    8. Ailynn B. Galvan
    9. Naveen P. Lucenara
    10. Lizzie Joy Manabat
    11. Jane Nicole Mozunder
    12. Edgardo Palma Jr.
    13. Kina Neisuupi Rangamar
    14. Casandra Bhel Roque
    15. Ethan James Sablan
    16. Bonnie Mar Sagana
    17. Jzl Caniel Santomin
    18. Jan Mikaela A. Tanate
    19. Diana Rose Tupas
    20. Nicole Ann Villagomez
    21. Pauline Shaine C. Viray

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    It took a master one year to finish his winning sculpture

    May 12th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Nock N. Klewei’s ‘Turtle and Octopus.’ Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

    NICK N. Klewei’s ‘Turtle and Octopus’ wood carving won the Best of Show in the Bridge Capital’s 8th annual Art Competition at the Flame Tree Arts Festival.

    This is the first time Kwelei won the Best of Show but it is his fourth win in the competition.

    In 2017, he won first place in the Wood Carving and Others category with his entry entitled ‘Family of 5 and the Roaster.’ It took him a year to finish his winning entry this year.

    “My inspiration to this ‘Turtle and Octopus’ is friendship. It is like a fairy tale story. The octopus is riding away to escape from the voracious species. She accidentally landed on the back of the turtle. She asked the help the turtle’s help. The turtle took her and fled. Everywhere they go, the octopus managed to get food for them – the shells and whatever underneath the corals and eat them. That was the beginning of their friendship,” Klewei said, adding it was the story he imagined while working on his artwork.

    Klewei started sketching when he was 12. He was copying the drawings in his books when one of his teachers saw his potential.

    “You are an artist,” Klewei quoted one of his teachers.

    They started asking him to do the charts for the class.

    “I love arts – painting drawing, then carvings. They are my hobbies.”

    He said he has been joining arts competitions in the Flame Tree Arts Festival since 1997.

    “Competition is a way for me to improve skills. The more I join the contest, the more I feel I am improving my talent,” he said.

    Bridge Capital Chief Operating Officer Tucker Baldwin said they received 155 entries this year, more than 50 percent increase from the 77 artworks they received in 2017. He said this time was the biggest entries they had so far.

    “It means more people are getting involved in the arts and that is what we want – to encourage people to show creativity and their talent and get out there,” Baldwin said.

    The Bridge Capital opened eight categories this year: 11 and Under, Students Category; Woodwork and Mixed Media, Photography, Painting/Open Category, Community Choice award, Governor’s Choice award, and Best of Show.

    For 11 and Under, Sora Baidya took four days to complete her ‘Black and White Turtle’. She said her drawing was inspired by her love for the islands and turtles. The medium she used was pencil.

    Ruth Park, a student from Saipan Southern High School, was a first place winner in Student Category.

    Her entry entitled ‘Sea the Beauty’ depicted beauty of the island. For her, the turtles find peace and safe refuge on the seas and a safe place to live and lay eggs.

    “Turtles become the islands’ treasures and beauty,” she said, adding that it took her five days to complete her artwork.

    Sewing and recycling enthusiast Debbie Winkfield won first place in Woodwork and Mixed Media.

    ‘Silent Cry’ is a quilt made of different kinds and colorful fabrics. Her piece was inspired by the beauty of the island.

    “I made this art as an inspiration for people to keep protecting our nature,” Winkfield said.

    Mayla Capilitan’s ‘Refalu Bwesh’ won in the Photography category.

    Capilitan prepared for at least a month for the beautiful shot of the baby, her subject.

    “She always wanted to take a picture of babies and show culture at the same time. Her opportunity came when her friend had a baby and she was able to take a photo of an adorably baby as well as show the island culture,” Baldwin said.

    Ireneo David’s ‘Turtle (Under the Sea)’ won the Painting/Open Category. His inspiration for his artwork is to save the sea creatures, helping them survive and taking care of the environment.

    David used acrylic paint and glass to produce the piece and it took him about a month to finish.

    Jesus Sulla, Jr. got the Community Choice award. His art was inspired by the festival. His piece consisted of glass and color spray which produced the artwork that depicted Saipan’s culture, festivities and nature.

    Governor’s Choice award went to Gregorio Bacnis, Jr. His work showed the island’s culture and the coming together of families. It took him a month to finish his artwork.

    Bridge Capital’s 8th annual Art Competition results and prizes:

    11 and Under:

    1st – Sora Baidya ‘Black and White Turtle’ – US$750

    2nd – Kim Ju Eun ‘Sweet Spring’ US$500

    Student Category:

    1st – Ruth Park ‘Sea the Beauty’ – US$1,50

    2nd – Tricia Zeruiya D. Salcedo ‘Dancing Waves’ – US$1,000

    Woodwork and Mixed Media:

    1st – Debbie Winkfield ‘Silent Cry’ US$1,500

    2nd – Beatrix Susan Doyle ‘Underwater Magic’ – US$1,000


    1st – Myla Capilitan ‘Refalu Bwesch’ – US$1,500

    2nd – Hervin E. Jacinto ‘View from Inos Peace Park’ – US$1,000

    Painting/Open Category

    1st – Ireneo Q. David ‘Turtle (Under Sea)’ – US$1,500

    2nd – Nhorleen Bitco ‘The Marianas’ – US$1,000

    Community Choice:

    Jesus P. Sulla, Jr. ‘Flame Tree at Night’ – $500

    Governor’s Choice:

    Gregorio Bacnis Jr. – ‘Sakaw Roots’ – $1,000

    Best of Show:

    Nick N. Klewei ‘Turtle and Octopus’ – $2,500

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    Fil Am from Saipan accepted at West Point

    May 10th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Jh0n Mendoza. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

    JHON C. Mendoza’s dream of joining the military came true when he was recently accepted at West Point, the U.S. Military Academy.

    Mendoza, a Fil Am and graduating student from Marianas High School, will be a member of the Class of 2022. He learned of his acceptance to America’s premier military school last April.

    “It was always my dream to serve the country because I have always been getting so many opportunities and I want help the country that helps me,” he replied when asked why he wanted to join the military.

    Mendoza recalled that his parents were against him entering military service and instead persuaded him to go to college.

    “So I ended my dream.”

    But when Mendoza attended a Close Up workshop in Washington D.C. last year, he was able to talk to U.S. Cong. Gregorio Kilili Sablan who rekindled his desire to serve with the military by informing him that he can achieve both his dreams – to be in the military and attend college – if he went to service academy.

    “He told me about the West Point and how prestigious it is. He talked to me about it and got his support. This solidified my passion for wanting to go to West Point,” he said.

    Mendoza recounted the process he went through to be accepted at the military academy. He thanked Kilili for nominating him last January.

    “The first thing is you have to receive a nomination from your congressman, U.S. Cong. Kilili Sablan. I had to turn in my application.”

    He said the second part of the process was more challenging to him because he had to pass the candidate fitness assessment – a physical test.

    “They really have high standard for physical fitness test. I actually failed the first time. After a lot of training for a few weeks, I passed the second try.”

    According to Mendoza, it was the third process that was easier -pass the medical.

    “We don’t really have the military medical facilities for West Point here so I have to travel to Guam to do it. That was the only easy process in the application.”

    He received the news of his acceptance through electronic mail. He wanted to keep it from his parents until he received his acceptance letter.

    “When I found out the news I told my sisters to be quiet. But my sister ended up mentioning it to my mom by accident,” he said.

    Finally, when he got the ‘book of acceptance’ from the West Point, he told his parents about it,

    “My mom, who already knew about it, was crying. I was emotional too because I was thinking that they didn’t have to worry about how were they going to pay for my college.”

    His father, who works at Fiesta Resort, and his mother, who helps in her cousin’s family business, were both immigrants from the Philippines. They told him that they are proud of him.

    “For them, and for me, West Point is really a big name. I am really excited. I always wanted to serve in the military,” he said.

    Mendoza was accepted to West Point under the nuclear engineering program.

    “I was told by a friend, who will be graduating at West Point, freshmen will have an entire week to see all the different major and what they want to study before they decide.”

    He said he was more interested in the energy concept because he wanted to help in finding different energy source for the CNMI.

    “One of the biggest reasons why I chose nuclear engineering is because I know Saipan imports 23 million gallons of diesel fuel and I want to find a way and help us not to rely on fossil fuel so much,” he said.

    Mendoza admitted that he sometimes felt scared that he might not be able to match up the physical training at West Point.

    “I have been asking a lot of people from the military academy, asking them tips how I I can survive my first year. They said ‘fight through it, be strong.’ It is more of a mental game than really is a physical game.”

    According to Mendoza, West Point wanted to see their applicants in holistic way – his education, his involvement in the community and his leadership.

    He submitted three essays where he discussed about himself being the first-generation American in the family. His aspiration to join the military came from the many opportunities he has and he wanted give back by serving the country.

    He also wrote about his experience when he was in 6th grade, standing up to a stranger who was being bullied.

    “I got into a fight because some bullies were attacking this stranger and I wanted to help out the stranger. I defended him, I lost. But at least I defended. Even though he was different from me, even though I don’t know him, I could recognized that he was getting bullied and what was happening in front of me was wrong,” he said, as he wanted to emphasize in his essay that he can work with different people and help solve the problem.

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    Marianas high school students made it to the finals of the Real World Design Challenge, to compete internationally.

    May 9th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Image © SBHS Athletics

    THE Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Aeronautics team, composed of Marianas High School students, made it to the recent finals of the Real World Design Challenge in national and international category in Washington D.C.

    The team, composed of Mimi Sakano, Ian Cataluna, Gaeun Yang, Chenoa Bunts-Anderson and Daniel Villarmero, competed with schools from 13 States and five teams from China and, together with the students from Connecticut, won and became finalists in the national competition.

    This enables the CNMI Aeronautics team to compete in the international category against two groups from China.

    The MHS students represented the CNMI and the Pacific Region after they won in the state and regional competition, beating Guam and the American Samoa in January.

    The April 21 Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is an annual competition that challenged high school students to work on real-world engineering problems. Each year, they asked students to address a problem that confronts the nation.

    According to Bunts-Anderson and Villamero, the project they presented was a design of an agricultural drone that would be able to efficiently detect pests.

    “We were asked to solve a problem: we don’t have enough food. The rate of population is going up. In 50 years, a lot of people will be starving. We wanted to build agricultural drone that will be able to efficiently detect pests and kill those pests through spraying and therefore producing more food and sustaining our population growth,” Bunts-Anderson said in an earlier interview.

    Villarmero said they started planning and building on their project since August 2017. He added that they spent a lot of time brainstorming, reaching out to their mentors and experts before designing an aircraft.

    “We put a lot of time on this project. We meet daily to write on this project – 80-page notebook,” Bunts-Anderson said.

    They did a 3D CAD model, a computerized 3D version of the actual aircraft and put it to simulation.

    “We have to do a lot of calculations. We have to prove everything that we write, that’s why we do all those simulations. We do all those calculations to show that if it is built it can actually do that job,” Villarmero said.

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    Saipan’s San Vicente Elementary School won the 23rd Academic Challenge Bowl

    May 8th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    San Vicente Elementary School team wins the 23rd Academic Challenge Bowl held at Multi-Purpose Center. Photo ©

    STUDENTS from the San Vicente Elementary School won the 23rd Annual Academic Challenge Bowl hosted by Marianas High School Honor Society held at Multi-Purpose Center.

    The San Vicente Elementary School team was composed of Omari Joab, 5th Grade; Jenzel Pollisco, 5th Grade; Arce Sangalang, 4th Grade; Reineer Anciado, 4th Grade; Shekinah Canete, 5th Grade. Out of 500 scores, they got an overall score of 435.

    The Annual Academic Challenge Bowl, which was held on April 19, is a competition held regularly to test students in the core subjects of science, language arts, social studies, and math, according to MHS National Honor Society president Joyce Nisola.

    Every year, the National Honor Society of Marianas High School hosts the competition for students in the elementary level, while Saipan Southern High School hosts the same event in the middle school level.

    “The competition gives the students the opportunity to challenge themselves, see the joy in their education, and most importantly, interact with students coming from all across the CNMI,” Nisola added.

    In an interview with Amelito Dalusong Jr. and Keanhe Deseo, both MHS Honor Society officers, 15 schools – from public and private – and a total of 75 students participated in the event.

    Each school team has five members – from 1st grader to 5th grader.

    “We are surprised how smart the elementary students are. Out of 500 scores, first place got 435,” Dalusong said.

    The questions focused on the Language Arts – mostly grammar and popular authors and their works; Social Studies, which covered geography, the U.S. history; and Mathematics, mostly word problems and some questions about algebra and geometry.

    It was the members of the National Honor Society who made the questions. It was filtered and approved by officers, teachers and advisers.

    “We were scared that we might get a complaint for the questions but we were surprised that they knew most of them,” Deseo said.

    Dalusong and Deseo said the Algebra and Geometry questions, which were not taught in the elementary, were answered correctly by the young students.

    “We compared last year’s questions with this year’s questions, the difficulty got higher this year.

    The MHS Honor Society thanked The Shack for sponsoring the event and judges: Ashley Beck, AP English Language and Composition teacher at Marianas High school; Victoria Nishida, former Math teacher and current Social Studies teacher at Hopwood Middle School; and Roque Indalecio, Science teacher at Hopwood Middle School.

    Team result:

    1st – San Vicente Elementary School

    2nd – Tinian Elementary School

    3rd – Oleai Elementary School

    4th – Garapan Elementary School; Saipan International School (tie)

    5th – Grace Christian Academy

    6th – Green Meadow School; Saipan Community School (tie)

    7th – Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School

    8th – Northern Marianas International School

    9th – Kagman Elementary School

    10th – William S. Reyes Elementary School

    11th – Sinapalo Elementary School

    12th – Brilliant School

    13th – Agape Christian School


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    No more check payments, only electronic card for welfare beneficiaries in CNMI

    May 7th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Participants buy WIC-approved food items using the the electronic benefit transfer system or eWIC card at the Hafa Adai Joeten Garapan. Image © Lori Lyn Lirio

    EFFECTIVE last month, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Women, Infant, and Child Program, a welfare scheme for cash challenged families, has started issuing an electronic card, similar to a debit card, as it adopt the Electronic Benefit Transfer system or eWIC which effectively replaced the outdated traditional paper checks as mode of payment for food purchases.

    The WIC Program is a federally funded supplemental nutrition and education plan that serves almost 3,200 women, infants, and children each month throughout Saipan, Tinian and Rota.

    Program Administrator Erin Angela Camacho said the eWIC gives flexibility to program participants on when to shop for the food items that they should be getting.

    “When we had the check system, the participants have to purchase everything on the checks or else you would lose out on some food benefits because there would be nothing else to say that you still have a balance on your checks,” WIC Program Administrator Erin Angela Camacho said, adding “you can only shop for those checks one time.”

    With the eWIC, Camacho explained that the participants can go to the store as many times as they can.

    “It is very flexible. It allows our participants to shop the way they would normally shop. If they have transportation issue, they can go when they can. They will not lose out the benefits,” she added.

    Camacho added that in the old check payment system, the participants may lose some food benefits – for example, cheese if it is not available in the store.

    “But now they can get what they need to get and if a WIC-approved food is not available in the store, they can skip it and then get it when it is available.”

    The eWIC is like a debit card, but instead of money it is food item that is being taken out from the system.

    “They still have to follow the same food guide,” Camacho reminded.

    “We give a prescription of food items based on the participants’ needs. It is very specific. The new system will also help the WIC program in terms of monitoring where the participants are shopping, what food they redeem the most, what brand they prefer.

    “When we were doing the checks, it would be very hard for us to collate such data. We can also help the vendors or the stores by informing them that participants in their area are shopping for particular items and brands. It is useful for us in terms of getting data in able to meet the participants’ need,” she said.

    According to Taffery Lowry, Arizona WIC program manager, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has mandated that all WIC program in the entire country be on eWIC by 2020.

    “The CNMI WIC program is ahead of the game and has already met that mandate before the deadline. CNMI is in good position,” Lowry said.

    “The CNMI’s WIC program is part of the consortium – Arizona, Guam, CNMI, Navajo nation and American Samoa, we have been able to pull our resources together and put everything in place so that we could do it,” she added.
    Lowry said Arizona rolled out the eWIC in October 2017; Guam, last week of March; Navajo nation and American Samoa will roll out at the end of April.

    Camacho said they will issue three months benefits, just like in the check system.

    “But they will only see one month at a time. Then at midnight of the first day of the month, the new balance will show up.

    It will automatically appear. Then would have to go back to WIC clinic to be issued benefits again after three months,” she said.

    The WIC will still provide the nutrition education and wellness check up for the participants.

    In supplement to the shopping experience of eWIC, Lowry said, Arizona WIC program an application.

    “It is called ezwic app. It allows us to check WIC- approved food by scanning the bar code so you can just scan at the store to find out which forWIC-approved item,” Camacho said.

    The same app will also show the participants the food list. A food list is a book list of all the WIC list of approved and not approved food.

    “In addition, if you attach a card, you can see what your balance is. It will tell you what food left in the item. It is very easy and user-friendly,” she added.

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    Millennials start their quest for political leadership in Saipan

    May 6th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Samantha “Sami” A’ani Birmingham-Babauta

    THE millennials are starting to gun for public office in Saipan with the candidacy of the former information officer of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation.

    Samantha “Sami” A’ani Birmingham-Babauta said she decided to run for a seat in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives to represent women and her generation.

    “I decided to run because I wanted to do more work than just going to the podium – saying my piece, sharing my voice – to try to change things from the other side of the system,” she said.

    “I want to have an opportunity to be in the system and really be able to draft the legislation in partnership with agencies.”
    From her experience, she said, people get legislation that drafted without partnership with agencies and this often result to “not really what they need to be stronger and do what they need to be done.”

    “The power of conversation is so important. We don’t have enough communication between the two sides and it always feels like two separate systems working against each other. My goal is always have one fluid system working together and building each agency with what they actually need and what is necessary for the community and the people,” she said.

    Birmingham-Babauta’s latest experience with the House of Representatives was when during the public hearing of House Bill 20-149, a bill that seeks to revert the CHCC under the central government. She was one of the people who opposed the H.B. 20-149. The bill later got shelved.

    “If you wonder why my generation doesn’t enjoy coming home and working for the CNMI, it’s because we do our best, we come home, and we have to keep fighting with you [the Legislation] to let us do good work,” Birmingham-Babauta said.

    “My generation is always being told, ‘You are the future’, but we need to start being the now. I’m applying for a new job to do work on a larger platform and I hope to encourage more new faces to join me in the coming elections,” she explained.
    Birmingham-Babauta started working for the hospital as health policy writer and then researcher. She is now the current PIO.

    “That is where I got my exposure to CNMI government and how the system work – working with legislature, reading all the logs related to the hospital, and reading the bill that introduced and then trying to figure out ways how the bill could be better for the people and the hospital,” she said.

    “There are some systems that could do harm or could do bigger impact,” she added.

    “Having a lot of exposure and a lot of frustration motivated me to make the decision to run. Before, it has always been a thought. I told myself ‘why not?’ There’s no woman up there, there’s no millennial up there. It is an election year, I am applying for a new job. Why not apply for Legislature with the people as my entire application panel,” she said.
    Birmingham-Babauta said she would focus on issues that are close to her – healthcare system, people’s access to healthcare, mental health and environmental health, especially the illegal dumping.

    “There are issues that pop up all over. Issues experienced by everybody,” she said.
    Birmingham-Babauta was born and raised on Saipan, going to both Saipan Southern High School and graduating from Marianas High School before completing her first year of college at the University of Guam.

    She transferred to California State University Northridge (CSUN), where she graduated with her Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology.

    Before becoming the CHCC’s PIO, she served as the research associate for Policy, Sustainability, and Development, and was responsible for tracking CNMI legislation related to health and CHCC.

    Birmingham-Babauta is the CNMI’s first Gates Millennium Scholar in 2011.

    “I’m humbly seeking the ability to represent my community further than just at the podium in the chamber, but through having a seat at the table,” she stated.

    Birmingham-Babauta is the daughter of Linda Birmingham, former owner of Black and White and Samantha’s Passion and current educator at Hopwood Jr. High School and Donald Borja Babauta “Samo”, former department of public safety police officer.

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    Healthcare privatization row in Saipan comes out in the open (3)

    May 5th, 2018

    By Lyn Lirio

    Vince Castro. Image © Flickr

    VINCE Castro is no longer the executive director of the Kagman Community Health Center, according to Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. Chief Executive Officer Esther Muña.

    This was learned as the row between the two primary health care institutions in Saipan continues.

    Castro was replaced effective immediately by Derek Sasamoto last April 4 as acting executive director of the center “until further notice.” Muña declined to discuss the reason for Castro’s firing.
    Reporters were unable to get a comment from Castro. He earlier bared that the KCHC will operate independently of CHCC effective May 1.

    KCHC board chair Velma Palacios, meanwhile, insists that Muña has no authority to fire the executive director because he reports to the board.

    Muña said the CHCC management and the board of trustees support the center’s plan to operate independently “but not the process of doing it behind our back.”

    She added, “We accept that they are separating. We want to make sure that there will be a smooth transition. We need to appoint somebody who understands…the financial aspect of the transition to make sure that the interests of both parties are addressed.”

    CHCC’s interest must be considered, Muña said.

    “We have to make sure that there is an understanding about the need to protect assets that we purchased over the years.”

    (File Photo) Esther Muña Photo ©

    As CHCC CEO, Muña has the expenditure authority over all transactions.

    “So it is my duty to protect those assets — at least to make sure that those assets are transferred appropriately and under the proper legal authority.”

    In an earlier statement, Muña said she and board of trustees only learned that KCHC was separating from CHCC on March 29, 2018.

    “Obviously, I was not aware of it, the board of trustees was not aware too. The move was concealed from us,” she added.
    Castro has said that the U.S. Human Resources Services Administration or HRSA extended its funding assistance to KCHC, which will get more than US$1 million for its annual operations.

    But Muña noted that “further discussion is needed and we are simply waiting for full details of the application they submitted to the HRSA to clearly assess the situation.” She said the CHCC will not oppose KCHC’s separation “for now to ensure that there will a smooth transition and to ensure that the population they serve will continue to have healthcare services.”

    She said “the employees have to be considered too. We want to make sure that employees are taken care of.”

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    Healthcare privatization row in Saipan comes out in the open (2)

    May 4th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Kagman Community Health Center Board Chairman Velma Palacios. Image ©

    KAGMAN Community Health Center board chairperson Velma Palacios reiterated the health center is not under the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation as stated in the co-applicant agreement.

    This after the CHCC said it is not obligated to transfer assets purchased for Kagman Community Health Center, which beginning May 1 has run as a private non-profit entity.

    “KCHC and CHCC are partners and we are not under the CHCC. For the grant purposes, we are co-applicant,” Palacios said in a phone interview.

    In 2013, the Kagman Health Center initiated its operations through “Co-Applicant” agreement between the CHCC and KCHC.

    “Through the Co-Applicant agreement, the CHCC provides coordination, administrative oversight, technical support, and other services. This lessens the need for these expenses to be paid for separately by the small community health center,” CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muña said in a statement.

    She explained that the co-applicant agreement was entered between both parties to aid KCHC in achieving Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) status as it could not, at that time, independently meet the federal requirements set forth by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

    “Though KCHC has the authority to apply for FQHC funding independently, by reusing the Co-applicant Agreement as part of its justification, the new application misrepresented the KCHC’s relationship with the CHCC. The HRSA has given the KCHC a three-year extension for the grant which gives the health center more than US$1 million funds annually for its operation.”

    However, Palacios said any non-profit entity may apply for this grant and does not necessarily require a co-applicant.

    “One of the requirements is you have to have a community board. KCHC has community board that runs and make policy for the community health center,” she said.

    Muña stressed there were no discussions with the CHCC on how the Kagman CHC would interact with the CHCC after the split.

    “Only the original arrangement was listed in the application, which does not represent the new arrangements that will need to be made. The CHCC is currently in discussion with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Region IX on this matter.”

    According to Palacios the KCHC board still wants to work with the CHCC board, especially in its plan to transition to independent from the corporation.

    “We will continue to respect the memorandum of agreement with the CHCC,” she said, adding they still have to partner and deal with the CHCC.

    “We have clients who will be needing CHCC services like in emergency situation,” she said.
    Palacios said the KCHC was co-applicant with CHCC for five years and the community board felt that it could run on its own as a non-profit organization.

    “This time, we apply on our own. We did not apply with CHCC. We got the grant,” she said.

    Under the co-applicant agreement between KCHC and CHCC, Palacios said CHCC had been managing the finances and the human resources.

    But on May 1, she added, under the new administration system CHCC will no longer handling KCHC’s finances or the Human Resources aspect.

    Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Chief Executive Officer Esther Muña

    For Muña, it will be the KCHC’s, as non-profit and no- government organization, responsibility to ensure that it performs well and manages its financial resources “with transparency and fiduciary responsibility to the community as there will be no further oversight by external entities such as CHCC or the Office of the Public Auditor to ensure conflicts of interest are avoided.”

    In explaining her decision to fire KCHC executive director Vince Castro, Muña said under the co- applicant agreement it establishes that all employees of KCHC – including the executive director – are employees of CHCC.

    In the same statement, she said all employees of the KCHC are subjected to CHCC’s Personnel Policies and Procedures, including termination of one’s contract with CHCC.

    “The CHCC employee termination lies with the corporation itself. The Board of Directors of the CHCC has been involved in the discussions on the actions to terminate the employment of Vince Castro,” she said.

    Moreover, she said the executive director of KCHC, as an employee of CHCC, is responsible for communicating actions and decisions regarding the health center to the CEO who reports activities to the CHCC Board of Trustees.

    “Although CHCC supports KCHC’s desire to be independent, CHCC should have been a part of the decision making and a transitional plan should have been established far in advance to reconcile assets. shared by CHCC to KCHC and make clear arrangements for the relationship with the CHCC, including services provided by the hospital, moving forward.”

    Palacios, on the other hand, believed that it is the KCHC’s authority to select, dismissed and evaluate the executive director for the health center and not the CHCC. Without elaborating, she added part of the reason why they decided to go independent because of policy differences between the CHCC and KCHC.

    “We both have governing boards. We have different policy. The KCHC board may want this but the CHCC doesn’t agree.

    All finances go to CHCC. Even though we approved our budget, everything goes to CHCC to process payment and others,” Palacios said.

    It has always been KCHC’s plan and long-term goal to run the health center independently, according to Palacios.

    “We mentioned this with CHCC and it was the right time now to do this application. We feel ready to go on our own. We have been operating for five years,” she said.

    One of their goal in deciding to operate independently is to have better opportunities to expand the healthcare services, she said.

    “The main mission is serve our community and to provide healthcare services. We are trying to follow the program in the grant requirement by providing affordable care to everybody. That is the main reason. It is always been our long-term goal,” she said, adding “our main goal is to transition smoothly, continue services, focused on the plan.”

    KCHC’s also plans to open up satellite clinics in Tinian and Rota.

    Palacios said they have sent letter to the CHCC board of trustees to discuss about the smooth transition.

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    Hospital in Saipan going solar

    May 3rd, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Commonwealth Health Center, an 86 hospital that opened in 1986. Image ©

    A SOLAR power system will be soon be implemented in the hospital operated by the government-run Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation in Saipan to make it less dependent on non-renewable energy.

    This after it was revealed that during last month’s CHCC Board of Trustees meeting, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands’ Department of Interior has extended a US$560,000 grant for the three phase implementation of the said project.

    Hospital Emergency Preparedness Director Warren Villagomez said “the team is excited to find out that our hospital is making steps to a sustainable and healthier future.”

    As this developed, it was learned that ARC Architects, a team of students from the Marianas High School who won first place in the University of Guam Center for Sustainability Conference and Green Dream Competition last March, presented their winning project to CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muña.

    ARC Architect team from Marianas High School – Marie Manebo, Jewel Cubangbang, Michaela Gatdula, Hajin Oh and Ian Cataluna – at the 2018 University of Guam Center for Sustainability Conference and Green Dream Competition held last March 27. They bagged first prize trophy and the Viewer’s Choice award. Contributed photo.

    MHS Arc Architects Ian Cataluna, Jewel Cubangbang, Michaela Gatdula, Marie Manebo and Hajin Oh showed their model and shared their ideas on how eco-friendly methods and alternatives for renewal energy can be incorporated into the hospital building.

    The proposals include as simple as turning off lights or as complex as installing wind turbines and solar panels.

    “While we presented, the team felt very welcomed and honored that we were given this opportunity to share our ideas,” Cataluna said.

    “By the end of our presentation, CHCC also shared their thoughts and how they were trying to incorporate sustainability and eco-friendly ideas into the hospital as well,” he said.

    “It makes us so proud to see our students and our youth be involved in the issues of the CNMI. They have done an excellent research and presentation of their plan to help CHCC go green. They provided low cost and high cost options for us to consider and some of their recommendations are already moving forward,” Muña said in a statement.

    She added the CHCC is happy to have the ARC Architects team in their Go Green Team and “we will be happy to proudly display their model here for everyone to see.”

    Aside from winning the first place in the Guam competition, the CNMI team also won the Viewer’s Choice award last March 28.

    “For the Viewer’s Choice Award, the judges were basically the public. The hundreds of people that attended the conference voted for the best model, and our team won the trophy,” Cataluna said

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    Healthcare privatization row in Saipan comes out in the open

    May 2nd, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Chief Executive Officer Esther Muña

    AS the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation privatizes health care in the Marianas, it stressed that it is not obligated to transfer assets purchased for Kagman Community Health Center, which starting yesterday has run as a private non-profit entity.

    According to CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muña, the corporation is already communicating with HRSA and other authorities in regards to KCHC’s funds that it got from the granting agency.

    In her conversation with HRSA officials, Muña said the grant agency confirmed two grants – the one they got five years ago, where KCHC was the co-applicant – and the other one – KCHC submitted a grant application claiming to be independent of CHCC.

    “HRSA specified in grant number H80CS28324, CHCC is not obligated to transfer assets purchased for KCHC – the new applicant, a private non-profit,” she said.

    In a telephone interview, Muña explained that all assets purchased under the grant have to be called out.

    “The grant has expired on April 30 and CHCC’s responsibility is with the grant awarded five years ago and one of those responsibilities is to ensure to follow federal regulations on the disposal of the fixed assets,” she said.

    The CHCC, through newly-appointed KCHC executive director and CHCC chief financial officer Derek Sasamoto, started the liquidation process, including budget readjustment and project director change.

    She said the assets – including medical equipment, computers and anything that were purchased under the grant cannot be transferred to KCHC.

    “It specifically says it cannot be transferred to new entity.”

    “Our obligation is to close it out. I’m sure, the Kagman board, on the other hand, is working on starting their project too.

    We wish them nothing but the best in their operations…,” she said in a statement.

    In the same statement, Muña said CHCC is within its authority to fire KCHC executive director Vince Castro.

    “Any grantee knows that while federal rules state relationships and authority, the grantee and its employees must operate within the rules of the overarching entity. That entity is CHCC,” she said.

    She pointed out that the Kagman board by-laws even stated what it can do with Castro’s employment and what they can’t do.

    “Per their own by-laws, which we obtained from the first grant, the board does not have the authority to terminate the Chief Executive Officer’s employment with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation.”

    She said Kagman board chair Velma Palacios was correct in her statement that they have to approve the new selection.

    “But she needs to understand that Mr. Castro is no longer an option as he is no longer an employee. We can bicker about who they want to replace him with, but the Kagman board has a duty to be sensible as the closing of the grant is approaching within only a few weeks.”

    She noted that the Kagman board gave the executive director a title of CEO, despite CHCC’s rejections as it would cause confusion within the organization when there are two CEOs in CHCC.

    In her case, Muña’s title was given statutorily.

    In a separate interview, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres expressed support to KCHC’s decision to be independent from the CHCC.

    “This is the decision by the Kagman board. They notified me,” he said.

    Torres said the community healthcare board should be lauded for their effort for getting a competitive grant.

    “It means additional healthcare services. I told them to use the money wisely,” the governor said.

    “At the end of the day, are they providing healthcare? If yes, we should support it. If the answer is no, then we shouldn’t support,” he added.

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    Youth summit in Saipan shows empowerment can help solve adolescent problems

    May 1st, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Leaders in MHS take the lead in the underage drinking discussion. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

    IN A bid to help young adults tackle teenaged problems, the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands Public School System organized a one-day summit at the Taga Hall of the World’s Resort in Saipan, it was learned yesterday.

    Attended by 200 students from the CNMI’s PSS, the April 6 summit centers of common juvenile issues like underage drinking, self harm, smoking, sex education and bullying prevention.

    Board of Education student representative Mariah Cruz said they provided five stations for every topic discussed by school leaders from Marianas High School, Dr. Rita Hocog Inos High School, Saipan Southern High School, Kagman High School and Tinian High School. The students were then required to visit each station to participate in the discussion.

    She said they also had skits which reflected what the students have been going through and how they feel about certain issues.

    According to Associate Commissioner for Student Support Services Yvonne Pangelinan, this was the first youth summit completely facilitated by student leaders.

    “It is an amazing start to push forward so that youth become more active in engaging their peers. There are a lot of things that adult can do to intervene and to help with prevention but it is most effective when they hear it from somebody who had experience the way that they have,. I think it is very effective means of communicating with their peers and hold event like this where they are able to share their thoughts,” she said describing the topics discussed at the summit.

    Leaders from Kagman High School lead the discussion on sex education. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

    Moreover, Pangelinan said student-presenters showed themselves as experts because as they researched each topic and made an effort to make their fellow students understand, adding that, the topics presented were reflection of concerns among the students.

    Associate Education Commissioner for Curriculum and Instruction Jackie A. Quitugua said she had been working with the student leaders since the planning stage in December.

    “I shared with them the data on Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which gave them the idea of what issues that needed to be addressed.

    Quitugua said she was impressed with the outcome of the student-led summit.

    “Once we empower our children and trust them that they have the potential and believe that they can do it, then anything is possible. They have impressed us and touched our hearts and our mind to support them and serve them in anyway we can.”

    One of the guest speakers Kagman High School teacher Gerard Van Gils encouraged the students “to step the curb and walk through impossible to reach your goal.”

    Van Gils shared his experience during his brief stay in Vietnam before settling in on Saipan. He vividly remembered one experience where he was unable to reach his hotel room which was just across the street from where he was standing.

    He described that the street was busy with hundreds of motorcycles, which hindered him to cross the street. He was scared to step up the curb and walk, the teacher admitted.

    When he saw a local just walked through the passing motorcycles, he walked up and crossed the street.

    “I just stepped up the curb, walked through impossible and reached my goal. I know where you are standing. I know where you want to go. I know that in between those two places is impossible. I know the place you want to be and the barrier and you think that the moment you step up, it will be chaos and confusion and danger. Step up the curb. Walk slow and steady and accomplished your goal,” was his encouragement.

    In an interview, he said he hoped that sharing his experience would help them overcome their difficulties that they have.

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    CNMI reading whiz students honored

    April 30th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    Achieve3000 student awardees. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

    SEVENTY five public and private students from the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands have been awarded recognition by Achieve3000 for gaining highest reading level, it was learned yesterday.

    The awardees – kindergarten, elementary and high school students – were given medals and certificates during a simple  awarding ceremony held at Kagman Elementary School last April 16.

    Achieve3000 is the leader in online differentiated literacy instruction. For 16 years, it has been reaching students at their individual reading levels to deliver significant learning gains.

    According to Julie Eckard, Achieve3000 international curriculum and implementation manager, the company has been a partner of CNMI schools in achieving goal for the students to reach college and career ready and be globally competitive when they graduate.

    “We have had amazing successes over the years – improving students reading scores and helping them do better in school,” Eckard said.

    “The partnership between Achieve3000 and the school district is amazing. It has taken hard work all the way to administrators, the teachers, and the board of education. Everybody is working together in a partnership. It sets really clear goals and expectations and holding everybody accountable, which is why we have been able to have such great success.”

    CNMI Education Commissioner Glenn Muña said the awardees were the students who met their lexile goal and the recognition was not just for students, but for teachers and parents as well. He said through the partnership with Achieve3000, they were building their students to become proficient readers which will help them do better in Math and Science too.

    “We have seen improvements to children, most especially who have put a lot of effort,” he said.

    Oleia Elementary School teacher Roselle Carreon said she has her students’ reading level improved tremendously.

    “Not only they gained lexile level, but the program also improved their writing skills. Achieve3000 focuses in reading but then the learning extended to writing component as well.”

    She said the program has helped the teacher monitor the children’s improvement.

    “This year, I have 15 students out of 25 that have already reached the college mark, which is amazing.”
    Saipan Southern High School students Ruth Park and Mark Regin Villanueva said the program has helped them with their studies.

    “It helped me grown on my vocabulary. My lexile level, when I started the program three months ago, was only 1,100. I gained 300 points,” Villanueva said.

    “Achieve3000 has helped her improve writing summaries and helped her improve her reading comprehension skill. Through reading, we also learn about what is happening around the world,” Park said, adding her lexile level now is 1,350 points.

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    Government personalities and the public marched together against sexual violence in Saipan

    April 29th, 2018

    By Lori Lyn Lirio

    The children’s desire is to make “the CNMI a safe place for kids.” Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

    OVER 300 people, including students, community and government organizations participated in the recently held Walk and Roll Against Sexual Violence held at Chalan Kanoa.

    Compared to last year, the number of participants doubled this year, which according to 2018 Sexual Assault Awareness Month or SAAM chairperson Kiki I. Benjamin “showed more people care about the issue of sexual violence and that they are much more empowered to speak out.”

    Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence executive director Maisie Tenorio said the April 18 SAAM march aimed at getting everyone to join the movement to end sexual assault and child abuse and neglect.
    Earlier, in an acting capacity as governor, Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog signed a proclamation designating April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.

    “We are walking here in Chalan Kanoa because in order to end sexual assault, in order to end child abuse and neglect, we need to educate ourselves and spread awareness what these issues are and get everyone to join our movement,” Tenorio said.

    JROTC Manta Ray Battalion lead the Walk and Roll Against Sexual Assault and Child Abuse march. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

    This month’s theme “Embrace your Voice.”

    “Our voice is so important because victims of sexual assault, victims of child abuse and neglect they are very afraid and very ashamed to speak out,” Tenorio added.

    “It is our job, as members of this community, to help them by speaking out for them.”

    Tenorio said sexual assault and child abuse is happening in the community. She encouraged everyone to step up and help someone who is experiencing sexual abuse or child abuse.

    “It is hard to speak out against sexual assault and child abuse and we know that, but we are asking everyone here that this village should be courageous to speak out even if it is hard,”she said, adding speaking out for victims empowered the latter to do the same.

    “They need us. They need to hear that you are with them. They need to hear that you support them. They need to know that here at CK if they are being harmed that if they speak out and try to get help we are going to rally around them, support them and we are going to make sure that they get the justice that they deserved,” Tenorio told the participants.

    Mount Carmel School president Galvin Deleon Guerrero was one of the people who showed support to the movement.

    “It was inspiring to see so many people show up for such an important event. Many victims of sexual violence do not report such crimes, so it’s important to come together as a community to support them and raise awareness. By speaking out against sexual violence, we join in solidarity with victims to send a clear message that sexual violence and assault will not be tolerated in our community.”

    Saipan Southern High School JROTC Manta Ray led the SAAM march. Members of the Department Public Safety, Division of Youth Services, Attorney General’s Office, and Karidat also joined the Walk and Roll.

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