Igisomar wants to develop Pagan through FTZs

If it were up to him, Sen. Sixto Igisomar (R-Saipan) would work to develop Pagan instead of handing it over to the U.S. military for live-fire training.

“We have the military trying to take over the islands and here you are sleeping…we need to do free trade zones,” he told Saipan Tribune after speaking to the Rotary Club of Saipan yesterday at Hyatt Regency Saipan.

Igisomar said his bill, Senate Bill 19-29, aims to bring agencies together to set off the process of resettling Pagan.

SB 19-29 seeks to amend Public Law 18-16 on free trade zones so that the departments of Public Works, Public Lands, and Lands and Natural Resources, the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, and the Commonwealth Ports Authority can collaborate and cooperate with the Northern Islands mayor in identifying free trade zones on Pagan.

“Instead of just doing a resolution, I want it to become a law that they have to do, because the original law [PL 18-16] is lacking on who should coordinate it and it was lacking in pushing the matter,” Igisomar said.

“These people better get their stuff together by actually coming together and communicate with Northern Islands Mayor Jerome Aldan and initiate this so we can start free trade zones,” he added.

Igisomar said that Aldan has reached out to him for his help in trying to kick-start the Northern Islands economy.

Aldan said it has been years since P.L. 18-16 was created as a tool to diversity the CNMI economy, specifically the Northern Islands. If free trade zones were identified, economic activities for diversification that are environment-friendly, suitable to tourism, related businesses, industry, and commercial activities can start.

“Funding will be a challenge, but that is something I hope we can address at a different time, but right now identifying the agencies is a priority and then they can bring up the cost,” Igisomar said.

“We need to do this so we can finish the homestead acts, we need to find a way to bring the people back and resettle them. So these things are parts that need to work,” he added.

When asked if this is also intended to stop the military from acquiring Pagan, Igisomar said it isn’t about stopping the military but resettling people.

“It is alternative zero [as far as the military’s plans go] and it is not even a discussion,” he said.

Other Northern Islands residents have also urged for the resettlement of Pagan. Igisomar believes this bill will ease the woes of Northern Islanders.

“I want to give them infrastructure after identifying free trade zones, so there would be a reason for the people to go there. You need a reason for an economy to be built there, so you’ve got to put the infrastructure there to make a living and not just live off the land,” he said.

SB 19-29 was first introduced in March and is now being with the Senate Committee on Resources, Economic Development and Programs.

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Jayson Camacho | Reporter
Jayson Camacho covers community events, tourism, and general news coverages. Contact him at jayson_camacho@saipantribune.com.

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  • richard

    all talk, for 30 years, the politicians have said they want to develop this island and that island, but no money and no work ethic to do it.

  • Ioanes

    Develop Pagan “through FTZ?” Isn’t FTZ designed to protect manufacturing and production from federal and local taxes? What’s there to manufacture up there? Rota’s tourism is FTZd supposedly to ensure that all business activities relating to tourism aren’t supposed to be taxed. Has this worked or was FTZ used because it sounds strangely luring?

  • Captain

    You guys cannot even pay CUC and so many other obligations and you want to develope Pagan in an attempt to “block” the Military and homestead.
    While I would like too see Pagan repopulated it is inconceivable to be able to do this prior to any military involvment.
    You guys are good at changing laws when they suit your own personal needs but are incapable of running the Govt. on a day by day basis.
    Few of you live in the real world.

    • Ioanes

      Hi Captain: At least we’ve learned the art of sending our government deep into the ditch of bankruptcy!

    • Juanita Mendiola

      First of all the military’s plan for Pagan requires CNMI government approval. If there is a plan to develop Pagan and repopulate it then it should take precedence over any military plans. Second, regardless of how inefficient our government is now, it is no less the same as any young country trying to build itself. It is called growing pain. Frustratingly painful, but it is a pain better lived with than the one the military is planning for us and our islands.

  • Juanita Mendiola

    Enough talk! Just move! If it viewed as an attempt to stop the military plans then so be it. Just do it!

  • Tinalakattne Yantitiyas

    I am unsure what exactly “FTZ” is but Sixto just trying to come up with a solution. Cap -even U.S Gov is not free of mistakes, cronyism etc. At loans, you can call it “KMOP” (keep mil off Pag) and you still going to complain. Richard, not all going to agree with process but main focus is to keep the zero option. More even, we need to try everything to keep Pagan free of DEPLETED URANIUM. Destruction of Farallon is enough. @ Six, all for Pagan and its people. Not for personal interest I hope.

  • phillip mendiola-long

    please sign the online petition to stop the bombing of our islands:

    http://www.tinyurl.com/StopIslandBombing

  • richard

    Work ethic not addressed, but plant bettlenut trees and they all will come to Pagan.

  • degkai

    One of the reasons why the military wants Pagan Island is that there is NO ACTION from the local government in implementing its Land use plan for the Northern islands, Since the eruption in 1981,permits for homestead and farm land use has remain idle. Enough talk, Enough making new plans, Enough wasting of time,Actions is what is needed Now or the military will take over the islands. Implement the homestead and farmland use as soon as possible.

  • HeadHunter

    Great job Senator. Whatever it takes. What is being done now matters.

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