Marianas Variety, Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Kaipat: Volunteerism is the answer
By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff
SOME consider it a big challenge. Beautify CNMI! calls it a big opportunity.
Rep. Cinta Kaipat-Covenant Saipan and one of the group’s leading lights, said although everyone on island agrees that it has to be kept green and clean, most believe that the government does not enough money or manpower to do it.
This is precisely the “excuse” that motivates Beautify CNMI!, she said.
“We want to prove that there are still a lot of things that can be done despite our limited resources,” she added.
Volunteerism is the key.
“If we volunteer then we can overcome the lack of manpower and the lack of funding,” Kaipat said.
She said Beautify CNMI! was created to draw people together to act as one in making the island a better place to live.
The idea for the group came to her while discussing an off-island article written about the Mariana islands.
The article was written from the perspective of tourism and it made Kaipat believe that “we can still improve things around this island.”
She said she knew there were a lot of residents who share her vision of beautifying Saipan through volunteerism.
“I knew there were a lot of people who, though silent, really care for the environment,” she added. “We have to do something so that people who live here can have a clean environment which can attract the type of tourists that can help our economy.”
Among the other “green-minded” people she knows is the Division of Environmental Quality’s Tina Sablan whom she had seen going out year after year on cleanup drives with volunteer groups like MOVER.
“She was the person I had in mind — someone whom I would like to get involved in it. Tina Sablan was then busy working on a recycling project,” Kaipat recalled.
Kaipat went to see Sablan, other DEQ personnel and representatives from the Saipan Mayor’s Office to discuss her vision for Beautify CNMI!
“We just started talking about what it was that we wanted, so I got up and said, ‘I would like the government and people in the community to come together and do something under a simple concept’ — and that is, all of us should take responsibility because we can’t always rely on the government to do everything,” she said.
Kaipat recalled that the plan was discussed further in more meetings, which also led to the creation of a restoration committee headed by Angelo Villagomez.
Beautify CNMI!’s first activity was recycling and it was followed by the planting of flame trees along Beach Road.
And the rest is history that continues to be made.