Outgoing lawmaker touts accomplishments

Rep. Felicidad T, Ogumoro, right, delivers her farewell speech on the House floor as Representatives Angel A. Demapan and Antonio P. Sablan listen in yesterday's House's sine die session. (Jon Perez)

Rep. Felicidad T, Ogumoro, right, delivers her farewell speech on the House floor as Representatives Angel A. Demapan and Antonio P. Sablan listen in yesterday’s House’s sine die session. (Jon Perez)

Rep. Felicidad T. Ogumoro (R-Saipan) would leave the Legislature proudly after managing to author or co-sponsor several bills that were signed into laws that address critical issues in the Commonwealth. The veteran lawmaker decided not to seek re-election after her term ended in the 19th CNMI Legislature.

Ogumoro served in the first and second legislatures and came back in the 17th where she became part of the legislative body for the next six years. She was recently elected as vice president of the local GOP.

She thanked all of her colleagues for their support and understanding, and appreciated the hard work shown by the Legislative Bureau in the last two years during her speech in yesterday’s sine die session at the House of Representatives’ chamber inside the Hon. Jesus P. Mafnas Memorial Building.

“In spite of our differences, disagreements, and at times heated debates, we were able to work together as true leaders to pass key legislation that would make a difference in the lives of the people of our great Commonwealth,” said Ogumoro, who also commended the leadership displayed by Speaker Rafael S. Demapan (R-Siapan) and vice speaker Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan).

She introduced bills that would address the issues on education, health, public safety and fire, the economy, infrastructure development, community programs, cultural and language preservation, and political interests and rights under the CNMI Constitution and Covenant signed with the United States government.

Public Law 19-63 that aims to create a commission that would examine the CNMI’s political status with the U.S. and P.L. 19-70 that extended the deadline and procedure for absentee ballots were some of the bills that she authored.

She considers PL 19-63 as her biggest accomplishment as it would give the Commonwealth a chance to examine the CNMI’s current political relationship with the federal government. “To determine whether that relationship is working in their favor or not, and more importantly, whether their rights guaranteed under the Covenant are truly protected.”

“As I continue to emphasize, it is extremely important that we closely assess our political relationship with the U.S. so we could fully comprehend the events that have occurred since the signing of the Covenant in l975 which, if we do not put a stop to, would deprive us of all that we rightfully own, leaving us landless and marginalized in our own land.”

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court’s 2005 ruling that the CNMI does not hold title to its submerged lands, extending U.S. immigration laws in 2008 without consulting the people of the Commonwealth, former U.S. President Geroge W. Bush’s unilateral designation of the National Marine Monument that covers 92,000 square miles of the CNMI’s waters, and the Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling that upholds the decision of the CNMI U.S. District Court that allows non Northern Marianas Descent to vote on issues relative to Article XII are some of the issues that have an impact in the Commonwealth.

She said the 19th Legislature also worked closely with the administration of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog as the CNMI showed strong signs of economic recovery as evident in the recent collection of an approximately $265 million in gross revenues.

Ogumoro then wished her colleagues the best of luck and also advised them to continue to push for legislative issues that have a direct impact in the CNMI. “I pray for our continued success, and as we celebrate our accomplishments.”

“I ask that we continue to do all we can to allow our small island nation to become a strong and sustainable Commonwealth, where the right to control the [CNMI’s] resources and destiny CNMI continue to remain in the hands of the people of these islands, and where an improved quality of life is enjoyed by all who reside here.”

She also introduced two controversial bills, one of which is HB 19-82 that aims to abolish the Department of Public Lands and establish the Marianas Lands Corp. with a board of trustees having the power to manage and control public lands.

Ogumoro was also the author of HB 19-186 that would repeal and re-enact certain sections of PL 16-51 like giving the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. board of trustees the powers and duties of governing, managing, and controlling its affairs. The CHCC’s chief executive officer possesses the said powers with the seven-member board having only an advisory role.

The community expressed mixed feelings on both bills with some agreeing with Ogumoro’s pieces of legislation while others are opposing it.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.