Taman: Don’t Forget Landless Locals
By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff
Monday, 14 May 07
REPRESENTATIVE Candido B. Taman on Friday said he voted against the resolution granting a 25-year lease of public land to Marianas Resort Development Co. Inc. because there are still thousands of landless locals waiting for homestead lots.
Taman, R-Saipan, said the government invites investors but seems to have forgotten homestead lot applicants.
Department of Public Lands homestead division director Jerome K. Aldan said there are 3,489 pending applications for homestead lots.
Applicants who comply with requirements, rules and regulations are granted a 929 square- meter lot for residential purposes.
Although the homestead division still hopes it will be able to accommodate the applicants, records show that lots for 11 homestead projects have yet to be issued to applicants, the number of which continues to increase.
Two homestead projects that started in 2003 have issued lots to 42 applicants.
The projects include the 1.9 hectare homestead project in Kagman IV and the seven-hectare area in Dandan II.
Taman said the government should balance the interests of investors and the local people when it comes to giving out public land.
The Senate and the House of Representatives have adopted a joint resolution granting the approval of MRDC’s request to lease 136.5 hectares of public land on Tinian for an 18-hole golf course as well as a hotel and casino that will be constructed in the next two years.
“If we can give MRDC a total of 1.3 million square meters of public land for its casino operation, why can we not provide our own people with 929 square meters of it for a home?” Taman said.