President Jim Atalig and vice president Juanita Mendiola, on behalf of the Pacific Alliance of Municipal Councils, delivered the final draft of the proposals to the offices of Senate President Hofschneider (R-Tinian) and Speaker Villagomez (Ind-Saipan), seeking to amend the CNMI Constitution granting the municipalities a more uniform authority over their local jurisdictions.
The proposal includes more clarity on the municipal councils’ oversight authority over local offices that are legally established by law, appropriation and reprogramming authority over local budgets, and enacting local laws with the mayors having approval and veto powers. The extent of the municipal authority shall extent to all matters that are predominantly local in nature and not preempted by the state.
For many years the municipalities have sought such amendments through legislative initiative, but were always met with resistance. However, PAMC aims to launch public outreach and collect supporting signatures from the CNMI constituents to express their desire and hopefully place the proposals on the ballot through either legislative or popular initiatives.
“In either case, PAMC will attempt to secure the support of the people through petition drives” Atalig stated. “This is something that the people should decide if the legislature does not want to decide on its own.”
“Let the CNMI Legislature focus on CNMI-wide issues while the municipalities focus on their unique local needs and programs,” said Mendiola.
The first public outreach is currently scheduled to take place on Rota on Sept. 7 and 8, 2022. Detailed information will be announced later informing the public where and the time the public outreach will be held in each municipality. (PR)