Public hearings on resolution opposing Pagan militarization

Posted on Jan 28 2014

House Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) said yesterday that public hearings will be held on a joint resolution asking Gov. Eloy S. Inos not only “to oppose any and all” proposed U.S. military use of Pagan, but also “to oppose any increased military activities in the Northern Islands.”

“The resolution would be referred to a committee, most probably the Federal and Foreign Affairs Committee. Part of the process is the public hearings, to get public comments on the resolution,” Deleon Guerrero, main author of the joint resolution, told Saipan Tribune.

The joint resolution will be formally introduced on Friday during a tentatively set session at 9:3am.

“Pagan is a pristine, beautiful island. It should not be destroyed by military bombings,” Rep. Roman Benavente (Ind-Saipan), one of the co-sponsors of the joint resolution, said yesterday.

Once adopted by both the House and Senate, the joint resolution becomes the CNMI Legislature’s unified voice against the militarization of Pagan.

This comes at a time when Gov. Eloy S. Inos, along with Guam Gov. Eddie B. Calvo, is in Hawaii at the invitation of the U.S. Pacific Command for a briefing on the military’s plans in the region, among other things.

Deleon Guerrero said he would like to learn from the governor the results of the briefing in Hawaii upon his return from Hawaii.

Last week, the governor said he will not support artillery ranges on Pagan and Tinian for safety reasons, adding that Pagan alone is an “uphill battle.” It was the governor’s strongest statement to date on the military plans for both islands.

In the House joint resolution co-sponsored by most House members, lawmakers described the proposed Pagan use as “basically a military war game plan that demands continuous use and occupation of the entire island of Pagan for warfare functional areas.”

“The CNMI has legitimate concerns that certain proposed military operations on Pagan will adversely affect the socio-economic and other cultural concerns, including but not limited to geo-tourism, geothermal power generation, and planned resettlement,” the joint resolution partly reads.

Given the significant land, ocean, and airspace that the military has already taken into custody and control for national defense, the 18th CNMI Legislature “opposes the military’s proposed Pagan plan for combined-unit live fire trainings and maneuvers,” the resolution reads.

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