After vetoing an initial draft of the bill, Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio approved a legislative proposal creating a government agency within the Department of Lands and Natural Resources to oversee public parks and recreational facilities in the CNMI.
Public Law 11-106 or the Parks and Recreation Act earmarks special funding to the new Division of Parks and Recreation to ensure maintenance, improvement and beautification of these sites.
But Tenorio said such funds “must still have to be specifically identified and appropriated through the regular process of an appropriation bill before such money could be expended.”
Sponsored by Rep. Oscar M. Babauta, the measure was vetoed earlier by the governor due to concerns on some of its key provisions, including functions of the agency.
Lawmakers said the division is necessary to unburden DLNR from administering parks and recreational facilities on the island whose number has jumped since 1979.
Maintenance of these sites has become increasingly difficult without the power to charge fees, promulgate regulations and enforce rules, according to the measure.
The new law is expected to support moves in the Legislature to take over the American Memorial Park’s administration from the U.S. National Parks Services. (BS)