Group announces the next three villages to receive signs (Saipan, The Marianas – Feb. 16, 2022) The Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers (GCEA), Co-Chairmen Governor Ralph DLG Torres and Jerry Tan, along with its Public Private Partnership (PPP) partners, proudly unveiled the first village entrance signs on Saipan in the village of Chalan Piao. Spearheaded by a group of friends and families from Chalan Piao, the village now has three beautifully painted signs that welcome visitors and residents to the "gateway to the south".
Governor Torres expressed, “I would like to extend my greatest thanks and appreciation to the friends and families of Team Chalan Piao, specifically GCEA Executive Director Chris A. Concepcion, Council Member Joe C. Guerrero, Cathy Attao-Toves, and Sean T. White, for spearheading the Chalan Piao village entrance signs project. I applaud their dedication to the beautification of our islands and the improvement of our quality of life through the Marianas Village Pride (MVP) campaign.”
Chris Concepcion, a longtime resident of Chalan Piao and the project’s co-leader, shares that the group envisioned the plan to construct village entrance signs to support the GCEA’s Marianas Village Pride (MVP) campaign. He said, "We aimed to beautify our village and to inform the public that they are entering Chalan Piao. Every village has its unique character, and the new signs help to convey the spirit and hospitality of the village.”
Concepcion further added, "Interestingly, archaeological records prove that Chalan Piao was one of the first areas in the Marianas to be settled by ancient Chamorros almost 4,000 years ago. The families in Chalan Piao have been here for generations. We take pride in our village because we have roots here. It's important to mark the borders of Chalan Piao not only for geographical reasons but also for informational purposes since many people are not aware of exactly where the borders are.”
The group completed its first MVP project in November 2021 by painting the medians that run along Chalan Piao’s main thoroughfare. Soon after, they got to work on finding the funding, contractors, and artists to bring the signs to life.
The project was a collaboration with various public and private organizations and a testament to what residents can accomplish through a shared vision. The Office of Grants Management, led by Administrator Epi Cabrera under the Office of the Governor, provided the funding for the construction of the village signs, while the Precinct 1 Minority Representatives – Rep. Angel Demapan, Rep. Lee Pan Guerrero, Rep. Joseph Flores, and Rep. Roy Ada – painted bamboo and native flora to adorn the signs. The PPP program, supported by the Crowne Plaza Resort Saipan’s public benefit fund with the Department of Public Lands, provided the paint for the artwork.
When asked about the artwork, Rep. Demapan shared that the group requested that bamboo be incorporated into the design. He also noted that in Chamorro, “piao” means “bamboo”, so Chalan Piao means "bamboo road". Visitors to Chalan Piao will see an abundance of bamboo stalks growing throughout the village. The Precinct 1 Minority Team designed the artwork to pay homage to the signature icon of Chalan Piao.
Rep. Demapan expressed, "This was a meaningful project for us because these signs help welcome everyone who enters the Chalan Piao area of Precinct 1. It was really special to have the four of us from the Minority Team paint these murals ourselves."
The Precinct 1 Minority Team also thanked the residents of Chalan Piao for their warm hospitality as they painted the signs over five days. Village residents brought refreshments making the project even more enjoyable.
“I encourage other groups of friends and families to get together and participate in the Marianas Village Pride Campaign. Initiatives like this help bring a sense of pride and belonging to the people of our respective villages. We have a whole new generation coming up, and this will help them learn about their villages. It will instill a sense of pride and responsibility to keep our environment clean and safe for everyone. Eventually, I would like to see each village stand out with its unique identity and maybe even have village festivals to highlight this,” added Rep. Demapan.
The completed signs are located at the three entrance points to Chalan Piao – As Perdido Road, north of Chalan Piao Plaza, and south towards DPA Car Mart. Chris Concepcion and the team are working closely with the Office of Grants Management under the Office of the Governor to build more village entrance signs in Rota, Tinian, and Saipan. The group announced that signs for Chalan Kanoa, Susupe, Garapan, and Navy Hill will be constructed next.
Concepcion added, “We encourage families, nonprofit organizations, businesses, community organizations, and individuals to join the MVP campaign by volunteering your time to beautify your villages. Village entrance signs are just one aspect of the MVP campaign. You can adopt a median, organize trash collection events, paint murals on abandoned buildings, clean the streetscape around your homes and businesses, clear overgrown vegetation, along with many more possibilities.”
Gov. Torres said, "Being an MVP also includes greeting everyone you come across with a warm and cheerful Hafa Adai and Tirow Woomi to adopting a median, sidewalk, or crosswalk near a school or community center in your village. I welcome our community to get involved and join the MVP campaign, which ultimately helps improve the quality of life in our islands, strengthens our bonds within the community, and makes our Commonwealth a beautiful place to live and visit.”
Governor Torres and the GCEA further thanked the partners: the Office of Grants Management, Rep. Angel Demapan, Rep. Roy Ada, Rep. Lee Pan Guerrero, and Rep. Joseph Flores, for contributing their time and efforts to make this project and future village entrance signs possible.
Together, We Can!
Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers