There are several initiatives being considered on Article XII that would change certain provisions such as the 25 percent blood quantum to “even a little degree” to be considered an NMD. Also being considered is extending the 55-year limit on lease to 99 years. These proposed changes will not fix the problems with Article XII. So long as the restrictions or conditions remain, private landowners do not have complete and absolute ownership of their land. What is good about owning a land when you have no control over it? Can you use it for example as collateral for a loan to build your house, or send your children to school to advance themselves? What about for medical emergencies? Shouldn't landowners have the ability to sell their land if they choose for the optimum amount of financial gain to be able to attend to personal needs and emergencies?
The answer is that so long there are restrictions or conditions on land ownerships; private landowners will not be able to realize the full potential of their personal property. By the way, which is more valuable? Land under Article XII or education? Education is more valuable, because you can advance yourself and in the process can buy things including land. You can have land but if you do not have the means (education) you will be limited as to what you can do. We have moved from being self-sustaining farmers and fishermen to a cash economy. We are no longer as bound by the land as our ancestors. There are many people with land but are cash poor and can't do anything to advance themselves. There is talk about land and culture. Is culture really tied to land? Culture is what we practice whether we have land or not. Culture is changing over time. There are many examples of changes in our culture. The reality is that we are changing and will continue to change. We are not the same as our ancestors. We are different from just 25 years ago. We are even different from 10 years ago.
Those that favor Article XII talk about saving land for future generations. What is the meaning of this? Are we saying that private landowners are the incapable of managing their land? What if we want to sell our land now for something we really need? Do we favor that because of future generations? Shouldn't it be left to the individual landowners to decide about their future family members regarding their land? Close examination of Article XII is actually working against the very people that it was supposed to protect. One thing that the initiative fails to address is adoption. Under Article XII, the adopted child under 18 years old takes the blood quantum of the adopting parents no matter that the adopted child is not of Chamorro or Carolinian blood. In fact, if the adopting parents are 100 percent NMD, then the adopted child is 100 percent. Yet, a natural born child to a parent where one is a non-NMD is only 50 percent NMD. How do you figure this out? Without any reservation, the correct answer is to abolish Article XII so that private landowners can regain absolute land ownership. This way, landowner can decide what is in the best interest for them and their families as to what to do with their land without restrictions. Abolishing Article XII will force anyone to sell his or her land. Instead, it will give complete control and ownership of your land. Think about it.
Efrain F. Camacho