Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 12 Dec 2018 12am

Headlines:

     

     

     

     

     

    Tuesday, December 11, 2018-7:08:43P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Font Size

Settings

Senate’s failure to act on bill dismays zoning officials

ZONING Administrator Therese T. Ogumoro and planner Mary Ann B. Arriola left the Senate chamber shaking their heads in dismay on Wednesday after the senators unanimously decided not to act on a bill that the Zoning Office believes would enhance the islands and make it safe for the public.

Ogumoro and Arriola attended the Senate session expecting the passage of House Bill 18-71 which will require owners to maintain abandoned or vacant properties.

But the senators expressed concerns about the bill which was authored by Rep. Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero, IR-Saipan.

Sen. Pete P. Reyes, R-Saipan, asked why only the private sector has to maintain its property when there is government property that also poses hazards to the community.

“How about the abandoned government property and public land that have trash on them?” he asked.

Reyes said if the private sector has to spend money on unused property, the government should also be held accountable for public lands.

Sen. Jovita M. Taimanao, Ind.-Rota, said she does not think legislation is needed to tell people to clean up their property.

She also noted that the measure does not indicate where the $200 for the first offense and $400 for the second offense will go.

Senate Floor Leader Ray N. Yumul, IR-Saipan, said it is a good bill but Senate Vice President Victor B. Hocog,. R-Rota, moved to send it back to committee.

His motion was adopted by acclamation, and the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Resources, Economic Development & Programs chaired by Sen. Frank M.Borja, IR-Tinian.


Sen. Jack H. Borja, right, listens to Rep. Christopher D. Leon Guerrero, left, urge the senators to override the governor’s veto of his bill requiring drug tests for elected officials. Also in photo are Sen. Pete P. Reyes,  Sen. Jovita M. Taimanao, Sen. Frank M. Borja, Senate clerk Doris Bemudes, Senate President Ralph DLG. Torres, Senate legal counsel Antoinette Villagomez, Senate Floor Leader Ray N.Yumul and Sen. Frank Q. Cruz. Photo by Emmanuel T. EredianoSen. Jack H. Borja, right, listens to Rep. Christopher D. Leon Guerrero, left, urge the senators to override the governor’s veto of his bill requiring drug tests for elected officials. Also in photo are Sen. Pete P. Reyes, Sen. Jovita M. Taimanao, Sen. Frank M. Borja, Senate clerk Doris Bemudes, Senate President Ralph DLG. Torres, Senate legal counsel Antoinette Villagomez, Senate Floor Leader Ray N.Yumul and Sen. Frank Q. Cruz. Photo by Emmanuel T. Erediano

In an interview after the session, Ogumoro said she and Arriola provided “extensive justifications and tried their best to convince the senators to pass it now.”

She said they were disappointed by the “non-action.”

Ogumoro said it is an important bill because it will improve the quality of life and increase the value of property on the islands.

Arriola said the measure is for orderly development that will further enhance the islands as tourist destinations while making the community safer.

Ed Arriola, vice chairman of the Commonwealth Destination Enhancement Committee, told Rep. Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero in an email that many tourists love the atmosphere and overall experience on Saipan, but there are numerous buildings that are in dilapidated state.

One, he said, is the old MGM garment factory building in San Antonio. Although there are numerous former garment factories that are defunct, “this one stands out because it is in direct view of Beach Road and is located across from a school that serves thousands of children.”

He said the destination enhancement committee is in full support of H.B. 18-71 and hopes to see its passage soon, “not only to protect our citizens but also to ensure that our visitors walk away from our shores with nothing but beautiful images in their minds and cameras.”