Northern Islands Mayor Jerome Aldan looks forward to today’s trip to Pagan with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres along with members of the Legislature and the U.S. panel consisting of Office of Insular Affairs Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas Esther Kia’ana and Steve Eisner.
Aldan believes that the trip to the island along with the 902 talks is a good way to emphasize Pagan’s need for assistance.
“It’s a great opportunity for her (Kia’aina) to come up and see for herself why my office and the rest of the folks and residents are really asking for assistance through the Office of Insular Affairs,” said Aldan. “She can be there and see for herself what is missing on those islands and hopefully we could get some kind of assistance from the OIA.”
Another objective of the trip is to show the U.S. panel the homestead program in Pagan. According to Aldan, they are working closely with the Department of Public Lands not just for the sake of Pagan, but also for the other islands.
“We’re working with DPL now as we speak. Yes, we are working on Pagan, but not just Pagan, we’re working on the other islands as well. We are targeting Pagan because it is the easily accessible area, and not only that, there were subdivisions that were done prior to what we’re going to do now.”
Aldan shares that the homestead programs will be helpful by providing the residents of the Northern Islands proof of ownership of land.
“This will help us, the residents of the Northern Islands, have some form of ownership once the programs are implemented in the Northern Islands. Not only that, the homestead waiver act is also being included in this process because we should not forget the people that were there ever since and who have submitted claims to the DPL for their properties in the Northern Islands, not just Pagan, but also all the other inhabited islands at one point in time,” said Aldan.