Senator’s bill removes DPL obligation to pay land compensation judgments


Sen. Edith E. DeLeon Guerrero (D-Saipan) has introduced a bill that seeks to remove Department of Public Lands’ obligation to pay land compensation judgments.

DeLeon Guerrero stated in Senate Bill 22-76 that the Commonwealth Code provides that DPL pays its debts, liabilities, obligations, operational expenses, including land compensation judgments, from its Operations Fund bank account.

The senator said the court has ruled that land compensation cannot be paid from the revenues generated from the management and disposition of public lands.

However, she said, land compensation for the expansion of water and wastewater systems is authorized using American Rescue Plan Act funds under the CNMI 2021 Recovery Plan Performance Report.

DeLeon Guerrero said the purpose of her bill is to amend 1 CMC Section 2803(c ) to remove the payment of land compensation judgments by DPL.

In response to Saipan Tribune’s inquiry, the senator said that the proposed legislation will only affect cases moving forward.

She said her reading of the recent Marianas Public Lands Trust ‘s annual report and discovery of ARPA funds set aside for land compensation prompted her to introduce the bill.

DeLeon Guerrero said DPL funds for their operational expenses are primarily sourced from public land lease revenue collectively owned by those of Northern Marianas descents.

She said the savings clause provides the protections for prior land compensation judgments and should not be affected by the proposed bill.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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