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Last updateThu, 19 Sep 2019 12am

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    Wednesday, September 18, 2019-9:21:19P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Demapan supports referendum on military proposal

REPRESENTATIVE Angel Demapan says he supports the Pacific Islands Society’s call for a referendum on the proposed military training exercises on Tinian and Pagan.

“I strongly believe that there is no greater voice than that of the people,” he said on Thursday.

“The proposals that have been put forth by the military stand to drastically impact our way of life and alter the economic and physical landscape of our pristine islands.

Angel Demapan

“Because of the nature and magnitude of this proposal, I agree that a referendum will ultimately signal the true sentiment of the people. It is quite obvious already that there is overwhelming opposition from the community towards the military’s proposals for Tinian and Pagan.”

Demapan said he has been in communication with Pacific Islands Society president Eddie Walsh.

“I conveyed my support for their project. I’m pleased to see that they have officially launched their effort to join the people of the commonwealth in our quest to protect our limited resources,” Demapan added.

He said this is one of the reasons he introduced House Legislative Initiative 19-2 which reads, “All forms of destructive military activities are prohibited in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.”

“The initiative, if passed by the Legislature, shall then appear on the 2016 election ballot for the people to vote on,” Demapan said. ‘In so doing, I am hopeful that when our people cast their votes on the matter, our voices will be heard with finality.”

Press Secretary Ivan Blanco, for his part, said direct citizen action is certainly something that should never be discouraged.

However, he added, “a public referendum will take time to come together during this comment period.”

He said the administration “acknowledges that while there are some individuals and non-profit groups both within and outside the CNMI who have begun signature drives and suggest other possible actions, the most important matter at this time is creating an administrative record in the Navy’s newly proposed project. Accordingly, this administration sincerely appreciates the extension of time granted for receiving public comments up to Aug. 18, 2015 (Chamorro Standard Time).”

Blanco said they also greatly “appreciate the support and the discussion of possible alternative courses of action from friends around the world and particularly in the Pacific Region such as the Pacific Islands Society, an independent and non-governmental organization that develops and implements projects that inspire and empower Pacific Islanders around the world.”

But Blanco said the National Environmental Policy Act also provides a process for local residents particularly those who are going to be most affected by the military live-fire training plans to have their comments and opinions heard on the planned military live-fire trainings on Tinian and Pagan.

“This administration continues to encourage local residents and supporters from outside the CNMI to provide their comments and concerns through our website (http://www.cnmieis.org) in order that their voices are heard in the process that is ongoing right now.”

Acting Gov. Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres, in a separate statement, said that “I continue to urge everyone concerned about the planned military live-fire trainings to provide written comments…so that your voice can be heard. Tell the Navy the specific reasons you are against or for the planned military live-fire training on Tinian and Pagan. Your comments can help shape the future outcome of our islands.”