31 Mar 2014
- By Junhan B. Todiño - email@example.com - Variety News Staff
THE Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council is urging the Senate to pass House Bill 18-109, saying it “deserves our support and approval.”
The bill introduced by Rep. Trenton B. Conner of Tinian will compel the Department of Public Lands to grant homestead lots to residents of the Northern Islands.
The House has already passed the measure but DPL is against it.
Municipal council chairman Ramon B. Camacho said the legislation should be passed by the Senate “without any further delay” because lawmakers since the first Legislature “have taken every means to facilitate the distribution of homestead lots to the residents of Rota, Tinian, and Saipan but not for the residents of Northern Islands.”
“Why this discriminatory practice has endured this long is enigmatic at best,” he added.
In 1979, he said the First Legislature passed Public Law 1-42 that provided for a village homesteading program.
In 1981, he added, the Second legislature passed what became Public Law 2-13 which authorized the then-Marianas Public Land Corporation (DPL’s predecessor) to waive homestead requirements relating to agricultural homesteading in effect prior to Jan. 9, 1979.
More laws about the homesteading program were later enacted, including Public Laws 8-9, 11-96, 14-66, 11-96, 16-50, 17-26, among others, Camacho said.