How a woman from Rota changed the course of GovGuam’s plight

This is a video of Benita Atalig Manglona, taken on Guam in early 2014 by Anton Ngata for then-Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo. She has been married to Vincent Manglona of Rota since 1982.

Ms. Manglona is from Rota. She was my co-worker in the Calvo administration, when I was the governor’s director of communications and she managed the cash of what would become a billion-dollar government and an historical $6 billion economy under Mr. Calvo. Her title was director of administration, arguably the most important and powerful cabinet position in the government of Guam, especially during the early years, when there was a major cash shortfall.

The current Leon Guerrero administration pats its back constantly for the ‘elimination’ of an $80 million budget deficit, but Mr. Calvo and Ms. Manglona dealt with and eliminated a $320 million budget deficit that came with a $100 million cash shortfall on the very first day we took office in January 2011.

That deficit was mainly consisting of tax refunds owed to people going four years back. Ms. Manglona led a team that paid almost all the overdue refunds within the first year of her becoming the director of administration. By 2014, not only was the deficit eliminated, several outstanding entitlements to government of Guam employees that were never recorded on the balance sheet were paid, a new high school was opened, Untalan Middle School was under construction, renovations to the hospital’s emergency room and ICU were completed, the police force had climbed to more than 300 uniformed officers, and the economy was booming.

This humble woman from Rota was a big part of those accomplishments that have yet to be replicated. After her service managing the government’s cash, Ms. Manglona went on to help the Guam Memorial Hospital as its CFO. Not only did she keep the hospital afloat through major increases in liabilities, she did what everyone – including Mr. Calvo – thought was impossible. She convinced the federal government to rebase Guam Medicare reimbursement rate, which to this day provides the hospital with tens of millions more in annual revenue.

Since Ms. Manglona left GMH, the hospital’s finances have fallen into disrepair again. An accountant by profession, she now is the proud owner of Benita Manglona, CPA, PC.

In this video, Ms. Manglona credits her drive, values, and worldview to her Rota roots. She talks about her family’s life in Rota, and their journey to Guam for educational and business opportunities after a law was passed that killed their enterprising pugua family business in Rota.

It doesn’t have to be that people from Rota need to go to Guam to provide for their families. What if the future held opportunity for prosperity for the people of Rota? What if Rota held the key to the economic prosperity of all the Mariana Islands?

This is not a far-fetched vision. Rota is the undiscovered diamond of our islands.

Rota is an enchanted island. The people there are Chamorros like no other, living our culture, traditions, and language in steadfast heritage. The air, refined by the heavens only, breezes cool and moist. The food is unmatched.

Rota is the most beautiful place on earth.




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