Friday, August 03, 2007


A little over a year ago, four Filipina ladies came into my office in Garapan to offer up their volunteer labor to help us plant trees. They were led by Marites Castillo and they belonged to a group called Multisectoral Overseas Worker Movement (MOVER).

We were more than happy to have them help and that weekend we planted 7 Flame Trees along Beach Road. The weekend after that we planted 11 more. Every single weekend since then we have worked together to plant trees, clean beaches, and so on and so on.

For their untiring service, I had them nominated for an USDA Earth Team Award.

As many of you know, they won.

In between nominating them and awarding them with the plaque, the active members of MOVER, the volunteers that I saw week in and week out, decided to disolve the group called MOVER, which was limited to Filipino membership, and create a new group that allowed anyone interested in volunteering to join, regardless of race (sorry, that was a long sentence).

They called the group Friends of the Mariana Islands (FMI). They count Filipinos, Chamorros, Carolinians, Americans, and Koreans as members.

With MOVER no longer in existence, Ken and I decided to award the Earth Team Award to the people we saw at the weekly events, the members of FMI.

We gave them the award at the Beautify CNMI annual banquet.

A few weeks later Ken received a letter from someone using MOVER letterhead telling us that we had given the award to the wrong group of people. Then we found out that this person had hired an attorney to sue FMI for the award.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Do you really think I don't know who deserves this award? I wrote a letter to the editor letting these people know that the award belonged to Marites and her volunteers.

I thought the issue was dead.

I was wrong.

In last Saturday's Saipan Tribune, the new MOVER is again claiming that they are the rightful owners of the award:

Fernandez said the group took a short break late last year due to internal reorganization and restructuring. Also, the group's members needed to take a rest in its community service activities such as regular cleanups and others.

Fernandez clarified that MOVER Inc. is separate from the Friends of the Mariana Island, a new group formed by former officer Marites Castillo. Fernandez said the members of FMI are also from MOVER Inc.

In April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the Earth Team Award to the Friends of the Mariana Islands but the trophy and award was named after MOVER Inc.
A six month break to rest? Check out the Beautify CNMI blog or the FMI blog. You'll see that Marites has not "taken a break."

Also, while some of the members are from MOVER, many of the members are not. MOVER members are all Filipino. FMI invites all residents of the CNMI to join their group.

And yes, the trophy was named after MOVER, but when it was awarded, MOVER did not exist. It was dissolved.

So please stop saying that the award is yours. Please stop saying bad things about FMI. Read my blog. Read the Beautify CNMI blog and the FMI blog. Look through the archives of the Saipan Tribune and the Marianas Variety.

FMI and Marites are untiring in their service to the CNMI. The people attacking her want nothing more than to take credit for work they didn't do.

That makes them assholes.

I wish the new MOVER luck in their future endeavors, but until I see them participate in a single environmental activity, they should just shut the fuck up.


Anonymous said...

"some of the members are from MOVER, many of the members are not. "

Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't this mean they have participated in enivor. activities?

Marites said...

All i can say now is ----- Thank you so much Angelo.

Peter Bae said...

Is the actual trophy made from gold and diamonds? They might just want to bling out like Kanye and Jay Z.

Thanks for the email address, by the way. The article made it to the letters to the editor section yesterday.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

The trophy is a piece of wood. I found out this morning that the new MOVER thinks the award came with a cash prize. It didn't.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Does this mean that the new Movers won't be invited to your birthday part, Angelo?

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Ahhhh, cash prize, that would explain it.

In fact, as I remember I once walked by and took some photos of you when you were planting one of those trees, Angelo. Does that qualify me for the cash and the award? I sweated.


Lito said...

it's like this when you award a group that doesnt exist anymore, shouldnt you still give it to the group, get a representative or former member to accept it, then when it is revived give it rightfully back to them? cmon, marites is your baby that's why you are raving mad about it. piece of wood? cmon, tell that to USDA. piece of wood indeed. marites is a puppet being controlled by you. i pity those filipinos being used by selfserving people like yourself

Anonymous said...

you shouldve nominated the people behind FMI and not the group, MOVER. Since its been named after the group, give it to them, then treat the FMI group to a hearty meal!

Anonymous said...

You really need to understand that Movers is still in existence and some of your friends have moved on from it veryb bitterly, in fact! Maybe you should talk to the real organization. You have a problem in many issues because you never look at both sides or the facts. You support blindly your pals and friends. Too bad for will never get it

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Thank you for reading my blog. Please continue making comments.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

MOVER was dissolved so we gave it to the representatives who had won the award.

MOVER was only recreated because they thought there was a cash award associated with the prize.

I like many of the people in the former and new MOVER, but the people trying to take the award for work they did not do are vindicitive assholes.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Let me repost my original letter to the editor:

Letters to the Editor
Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Awards belong to FMI

Please allow us the opportunity to congratulate Ms. Marites Castillo and her untiring team of volunteers on winning the 2006 USDA Earth Team Group Award and the 2007 Governor’s Beautify CNMI Environmental Steward Award. We appreciate their past service as members of MOVER and now as members of Friends of the Mariana Islands (FMI).

We have heard that there has been some talk in the community and that there has been some confusion as to the proper recipient of these two awards. USDA and Beautify CNMI handed over these two awards to the group of individual volunteers from MOVER and FMI who, under Ms. Castillo’s leadership, have volunteered with Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council and the USDA Earth Team as part of the Beautify CNMI coalition.

Ms. Castillo and her volunteers have given their time to Beautify CNMI every weekend for 12 months straight. The three people creating this confusion came to one tree planting event almost a year ago, didn’t help out at the event, and then left after they were prominently featured in a group photo. Do you seriously think we didn’t notice?

Let us be as clear as we can: As the former president of MOVER and the current president of FMI, these two awards belong to Marites Castillo and to the members of MOVER and FMI with whom she has volunteered her time. If you were one of those people, even if you only came to just one event with the intention of only getting your picture taken, I encourage you to tell the world that you were a winner, but the plaques stay with Ms. Castillo.

I hope this clears up any confusion.

Angelo Villagomez
Rep. Cinta M. Kaipat

EJ said...

wow, someone is angry! come on, why cant we all get along