Government has to make tough decisions, says Angel Demapan

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THE government has to implement austerity measures so it can continue to provide critical services to the public and protect jobs, the governor’s chief of staff, Angel Demapan, said in an interview.

“In response to the current economic challenges, we are making sure that we continue to operate the government within our means,” he added. “It comes down to decisions that are necessary but unpopular.”

It was a tough decision to make, he said, referring to the government’s across-the-board budget cuts.

Because of the steep decline in tourist arrivals following the novel coronavirus or Covid-19 outbreak in China, the CNMI government has projected a shortfall of $40 million in fiscal year 2020.

“The situation calls for bold and decisive leadership,” Demapan said.

In the meantime, he said, the CNMI government is closely monitoring the situation in Japan and South Korea where Covid-19 cases have soared.

South Korea, China, and Japan are the CNMI’s three major tourism markets.

“We’re trying to make sure that we are aware of the latest updates in those and other countries as we adjust our marketing efforts,” Demapan said.

He added that the CNMI’s priority is to remain a coronavirus-free destination. “There are still a lot of countries out there whose people are free to travel, and we’d like them to know that the Marianas is open.”

He said the administration and all its partner agencies have taken every step to make sure that the CNMI remains a coronavirus-free destination.

“We will continue those efforts because that is our priority: to make sure that our community remains healthy and safe,” Demapan added.

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