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House panel OKs resolution against ‘increase in destructive military presence’ in NMI

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THE House Committee on Federal and Foreign Affairs on Tuesday endorsed for adoption House Joint Resolution 21-8, which requests the governor “to oppose any increase in destructive military presence or training in the Northern Mariana Islands, including all proposed military use of the Mariana Islands.”

The committee chairman, Rep. Luis John Castro, said all the other committee members present — Reps. Tina Sablan, Ivan Blanco, Ralph Yumul and Joseph Leepan Guerrero — approved H.J.R. 21-27.

Castro said members and officials of Our Common Wealth 670, which helped draft the resolution, were also present during the committee meeting.

He noted that the resolution has gone through the public hearing process for over a month, and nobody in the community spoke against it.

Lawmakers and members of Our Common Wealth 670 pose after a public hearing in March. Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

He believes that the resolution will not affect the partnership of the administration with the federal government.

Rep. Sheila Babauta, who introduced the resolution, said, “Thank you, chair, and thank you members of the FFA committee. I just want to express my strong appreciation for you hosting three public hearings, one on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, to really encourage the community's input. I'm very happy and pleased that [the joint resolution] has been adopted."

She added, "I really also want to recognize [Our Common Wealth 670] for all of their efforts. I think this is a good step moving forward and I am here to support the committee and the resolution in any way."

The committee is now working on a report that will be submitted to the House.

 

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