Lawmaker pushes for people’s vote on proposed military buildup

Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan) will introduce House Legislative Initiative 19-2 seeking to amend Article XIV of the CNMI Constitution to prohibit destructive military activities in the Commonwealth.

The initiative also “seeks to give the voters of the Commonwealth the opportunity to amass the force and effect of the Constitution to prohibit any and all forms of destructive military activities in the CNMI.” 

Demapan said he will introduce the legislative initiative in a House session this Thursday on Tinian

As with any other legislative initiative, passage will require the affirmative vote of three-fourths of each legislative house.

Demapan said if passed by the Legislature, then the Commonwealth Election Commission, pursuant to Article XVIII, Section 5 of the Commonwealth Constitution, shall place the legislative initiative before the people of the Commonwealth for a ratification vote in the next regular general election.

“The transformation of the CNMI from a tourist destination into an island chain upon which the U.S. military conducts live-fire training and bombing exercises is extremely troubling to the people of the CNMI,” Demapan said.

Demapan said he is proposing to add a new section under Article XIV of the Constitution that reads, “All forms of destructive military activities are prohibited in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  The Legislature shall enact laws necessary to enforce this section.”

Further, Demapan said any form of special use “restricted air space” will create significant adverse impacts on commercial flights that service the CNMI.

“Because this has become a major issue of contention for our people, I believe that it is most appropriate to give our people the opportunity to make their voices heard by their vote on this proposed amendment,” he said.

Demapan clarified that his initiative is specific to destructive activities such as heavy live-fire training and bombing exercises.

He added that in general, the people support the military and the principles of freedom, but not the proposals that seek to cause damage to the islands and the livelihood of the people.

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Joel D. Pinaroc | Reporter
Joel Pinaroc worked for a number of newspapers in the Philippines before joining the editorial team of Saipan Tribune. His published articles include stories on information technology, travel and lifestyle, and motoring, among others. Contact him at joel_pinaroc@saipantribune.com.

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