As PNC previously reported and many have come to experience, “excess” land that is given back by the Federal Government can only be used for “public purpose” which just creates a barrier for original landowners who either want to get their land back or get compensated for it.
In response to this, Delegate James Moylan filed legislation yesterday that would change the current language of Public Law 106-504, which was enacted in 2000, and notes that excess lands that are returned have to be utilized for “public purpose”.
The “Guam Excess Land Return Act”, if enacted, would mandate the Government of Guam to establish a process for transfers of excess land to their original landowners or their heirs if such prior ownership can be verified by official records.
“The legislation merely addresses the tail end of the process, which is to ensure that original landowners or their heirs would have the opportunity to obtain any excess lands which are returned by the federal government. It would merely bring some righteousness in cases where there is documentation in place clearly evidencing the names of the original landowners during the date when the land was transferred” said Delegate Moylan.
In the past, many ancestral landowners have spoken up and urged to have US law 106-504 amended. This measure is a response to the pleas the people of Guam have made.
“I am sick and tired of hearing, because of 106-504, we can’t do anything with it, if you don’t give it (the land) for the hospital, they’re gonna take it back. I really get frustrated with that,” says Vincent Cabrera–original landowner.
“You are our leaders, fight for us,” Cabrera continued.
Moylan assured there are still many acres of land under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government, adding that the work is far from over, and his office will continue to advocate and pursue efforts to ensure these lands are returned to Guam’s families.