The Legislature has approved extending the lease of the lone Mobil Oil Marianas branch on Rota until 2033.
Acting at a joint session on Rota last Thursday, both the CNMI House of Representatives and CNMI Senate approved the lease extension proposal for the Mobil branch in Sasanhaya-Songsong, Rota after its initial 25-year lease term expired last year.
The Legislature approved the lease extension proposal from Mobil to extend its lease for 15 years via Joint Resolution 21-2, with a vote of 16-0 from the House of Representatives and 7-0 from the Senate.
Minority leader Rep. Edwin K. Propst (Ind-Saipan), Reps. Joseph Flores (Ind-Saipan), Joseph “Lee Pan” Guerrero (R-Saipan), Sens. Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian) and Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) were absent from the joint session. Rep. Donald Manglona (Ind-Rota) abstained, citing conflict of interest.
The lease extension proposal includes annual rental payments of at least 5% of the appraised fair market value of the property, which is about $82,000, but not less than the rental amount for the preceding five years at $28,604.
The proposal also includes public benefits of $1,000 a month in fuel for Rota municipal government vehicles as well as 10 safety cones, oil absorbent booms, and eight drums of firefighting foam for the Rota Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services.
The public benefits amount to about $220,000 over the 15-year period of the extension.
Reps. Tina Sablan (Ind-Saipan) and Janet Maratita (R-Saipan) both offered an amendment to J.R. 21-2, to authorize the Department of Public Lands to negotiate and incorporate into the final lease agreement increased public benefits to “support public education, health care services and programs, welfare and safety, and the environment on Rota” according to a statement from Sablan.
“…The amendment was drafted in consultation with Rota Sens. Terry Santos and Victor Hocog. Rep. Marco Peter moved to amend our proposal so that it would come from the Committee of the Whole, to which we agreed. The amendment was unanimously adopted,” she noted in a statement she later released after the session.
The Office of the Attorney General must first approve the final lease agreement—signed by both DPL Secretary Marianne Teregeyo and Mobil Oil Marianas—before the extension takes effect.