NI mayor wants FTZs sans Public Lands help

Tudela wants mayors to have rulemaking authority

While he supports Sen. Sixto Igisomar’s (R-Saipan) bill that hopes to develop Pagan through free trade zones, Northern Islands Mayor Jerome K. Aldan doesn’t support the Department of Public Lands being included in its implementation.



“The present language in Public Law 18-16 is sufficient insofar as the implementation of the free trade zone in the Northern Islands without the DPL. The overriding problem is the DPL heretofore has not performed its ministerial duty in compliance with the mandates of the law,” Aldan said.

Senate Bill 19-29, aims to bring agencies together to set off the process of resettling Pagan and seeks to amend PL 18-16 on free trade zones so that the departments of Public Works, DPL, and Lands and Natural Resources, the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, and the Commonwealth Ports Authority can collaborate and cooperate with the Northern Islands mayor in identifying free trade zones on Pagan.

In reference to a hearing back in 2013, Aldan said issues were discussed which centered on the resettlement and redevelopment of the Northern Islands.

“What is needed is for the Senate to demand accountability from DPL relative to the implementation of PL 18-16 in its present form. Demand for answers as to the laxity in refusing to comply with said law. I am willing to appear before the appropriate Senate committee in the presence of DPL to inform the body on what was discussed during the forum with DPL in 2013, that until the present time, nothing concrete has been carried forward by DPL, except the upcoming Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation consultation meeting organized by the SNILD leadership and NIMO (Northern Islands Mayors Office),” Aldan said.

“To this end, SB 19-29 in its present form will further delay implementation of PL 18-16, as what is intended in SB 19-29 is addressed in PL 18-16 except a new feature in SB 19-29 that expressly provides for rulemaking authority to the mayor in the implementation of PL 18-16, which adds value to PL 12-20 as amended in PL 18-16. Other than this specific issue, NIMO respectfully recommends deletion of all other mandatory provisions in their entirety in the present SB 19-29. What is critical is the authority over rulemaking, which this bill includes,” he added.

Aldan said that he will soon submit to the Senate a proposed revenue-generating legislation relative to issuance of permit and assessment of fees that would provide a revenue base for the implementation of PL 18-16.

Aside from Aldan submitting his initial letter for SB 19-29, Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council chair Antonia Tudela also submitted a letter in regards to the bill by making the Northern Islands mayor the rulemaking authority.

“The council fully supports passage of SB 19-29 upon the specific amendments…amend the present language in Section 1 and replace with an unequivocal provision that provides the mayor with rulemaking authority to fully carry out the intent and purpose as provided in PL 12-20 as amended in PL 18-16 on FTZs for the Gani Islands,” Tudela said.

Tudela also proposed amendments on requiring the mayor to identify public lands pursuant to other laws for land use in consultation with the council and the legislative delegation.

Other amendments that she has proposed are for the respective mayors to work with the municipal council and DPL in the promulgation of rules and regulations, including authorizing the mayors to issue permits and assess fees, and report to the municipal council, legislative delegation, and the governor’s council on the management of and use of program revenue intended to implement the intent of FTZ program.

“Also require a portion of the program revenue to fund local entrepreneurial capacity building, workforce development, and venture capital on locally based trade and commerce and promotion of ecotourism in Gani,” Tudela said.

SB 19-29 was introduced on March 2015 and is now with the Senate Committee on Resources, Economic Development and Programs.

Jayson Camacho | Reporter
Jayson Camacho covers community events, tourism, and general news coverages. Contact him at

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