Economic marginalization of NMI


It’s a fitting decision by the region’s leadership to ask President Obama to cancel plans to expand the Pacific Remote-Islands Marine National Monument of the Western Pacific.

A decision to expand the area could rob the indigenous people of these islands of more islands via a federal policy that has nothing to do with our future wellbeing. The Antiquities Act is a federal law that grants the U.S. president unilateral authority to declare certain public lands across the country national monuments that eventually turn into national parks.

It’s a slick federal tool (over 100 years old) on land acquisition that has more than its share of controversy across the country. It’s a questionable plan, though the only thing I could draw from it is its use as an antidote to counter island nations, through the South Pacific Forum, pushing for a 500-mile EEZ over the current arrangement. Nah! These island countries won’t settle for U.S. federal law that interferes with their sovereign rights. We shouldn’t tacitly approve of it either!

The plan reeks of the stealthy and steady cultural annihilation, environmental poisoning, economic marginalization and remilitarization of the islands. Tiny islands and the sea are the only two God-given gifts we know about since birth. Since time immemorial we’ve fished and farmed them to this day. It’s part and whole of our collective traditional spirit conveyed to us via the torch of ancestral leadership.

Beyond the acquisition, there are opportunities ahead for sea and seabed resource development. Would not the expansion curtail such an effort in the near and far term? Now what if every other island is taken via the Antiquities Act? Who then would own these islands? Would the indigenous people benefit from the planned expansion? The land and the sea are the only thing we have for the future our children.

Who are behind such an insidious plan? What if seabed resources are discovered and ready for exploration and sale, who owns them—the indigenous people or owners of the monument? Could we check if our illustrious and esteemed Delegate Kilili is anywhere nearby? Or is he parroting a clueless President Obastard?

Toying with marijuana
Our southern neighbor is likely to see use of marijuana placed on the ballot for voter determination. I think the crux of the issue is its use for medicinal purposes.

Here we want it for every other purpose! Call it medicinal, the issue remains one requiring thorough review especially if it is allowed for casual or leisurely purposes. Rummaging through some materials I happened upon new report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area titled The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact. The impact of legalized marijuana in Colorado has resulted in:

The majority of DUI drug arrests involve marijuana and 25-40 percent were for marijuana alone.

æ In 2012, 10.7 percent of Colorado youth ages 12-17 were considered current marijuana users compared to 7.55 percent nationally. æ

Drug-related student suspensions/expulsions increased 32 percent from school year 2008-09 through 2012-13; the vast majority was for marijuana violations.

In 2012, 26.81 percent of college age students were considered current marijuana users compared to 18.89 percent nationally, which ranks Colorado third in the nation and 42 percent above national average.

In 2013, 48.4 percent of Denver adult arrestees tested positive for marijuana, which is a 16-percent increase from 2008.

From 2011 through 2013 there was a 57-percent increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits.

Hospitalizations related to marijuana have increased 82 percent since 2008.

The study was by Charles D. Stimson, a leading expert in criminal law and detention policy at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial studies.

RP honors national heroes
The Pearl of the Orient (Philippines) celebrates (a national period this month) its national heroes who fought in Asia’s first anti-colonial revolution to free the Philippines from her conqueror, Spain, more than 200 years ago.

An editorial in the Philippine Daily Inquirer related, “Place and date are still controversial after all these years—but there can be no controversy about the deeper meaning of the national holiday: It recognizes that moment in our history when the most successful uprising against the Spanish colonial authorities took place, when the nation that had been imagined by writers like Jose Rizal and Marcelo H. del Pillar began to take actual shape, under the leadership of organizers like Andres Bonifacio and generals like Emilio Aguinaldo.

“Even more: Today’s holiday recognizes the heroism and self-sacrifice of thousands of ordinary people who took part in the revolution. They fought under different leaders, in different provinces, using different tactics. The memoirs and anecdotes they left behind reveal the contradictions inherent in a revolution, but many of them saw themselves as caught up in a popular undertaking. (Alvarez’s memoirs, in particular, paint poignant portraits of a people enjoying sudden liberation.)”

I made mention of this event if only to recall whether we also have leaders worthy of recognition for freeing the CNMI from colonialism? There’s Chief Quipuha who murdered Fr. San Vitores over religious change from local paganism to Catholicism. But is there anybody else in history worthy of historical accolades for fighting against colonial Spain? Don’t know anybody in this category. Share your view if you come across one.


If anything, the march to real self-government is about 250 years off mark. Until we buckle down to cultural and traditional self-realization of our collective value, only then would there spark a serious move for greater self-rule. Right now, the fatal influences that co-opt neocolonialism makes this journey one difficult navigational chart to follow.

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

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