After lengthy research, countless discussions, and consultations with the Marianas Public Land Trust board of trustees, members of the community, solicitations of comments from the different branches of the CNMI and municipal governments, non-profit organizations/associations, and public hearings on Saipan, Tinian and Rota the proposed Constitutional Amendment of Article XI, Section 6(d) is finally moving forward.
The proposed constitutional amendment of Article XI, Section 6(d), called “House Legislative Initiative 20-01, House Substitute 1, House Draft 2 (H.L.I.20-1, HS 1, HD 2)” finally passed the House of Representative during its first day, sixth regular session on July 30, with 19 members present, one absent, all voting in favor of the amendment.
When I was sworn into office in January 2017, I immediately initiated the research processes. I reviewed the Covenant Article VIII, Sections 801-806, and the CNMI Constitution Article XI, Section 6(d) and consulted with legal counsels to gain a better understanding before initiating the introduction of H.L.I. 20-01, HS1, HD2.
The above proposed constitutional amendment aims to abolish certain specific provision under Article XI, Section 6(d) which states “…The trustees shall transfer to the general revenues of the Commonwealth the remaining interest accrued on the trust proceeds …” and replace it with “The trustees shall transfer the accrued interest into a separate account to be distributed to all eligible persons of Northern Marianas descent every year, except that the trustees may retain the amount necessary to meet reasonable expenses of administration. To be eligible to receive the portion of the fund distribution, all persons of Northern Marianas descent are required to register at the Marianas Public Land Trust office. The Marianas Public Land Trust office shall issue an official ‘Northern Marianas Descent Card’ to all eligible persons of Northern Marianas descent for use for the distribution of the accrued interest funds. The Marianas Public Land trustees shall be authorized to establish rules and procedures to effectuate the intent of this section.”
It is my intention to appear and be aired on the radio station for public presentation and question-and-answer session as the initiative progresses.
As I have promised the CNMI public during my political campaigning in the 2016 election processes that I will pursue the constitutional amendment of Article XI, Section 6(d), I am now officially reporting to the general public on the status of my action. I am very humbled, thankful and very pleased with the favorable support of all the members of the 20th House of Representatives. Thank you very much and ghilisow!
Alice Igitol is a member of the CNMI House of Representatives of the 20th CNMI Legislature.