Guam – The Department of Defense finally held a public hearing on the Programmatic Agreement last night at Okkodo High School. The Programmatic Agreement is supposed to outline how DOD will deal with historic artifacts found during the construction projects associated with the buildup.
“We Are Guahan” and other groups had been asking for the public hearing on the Programmatic Agreement and the National Historic Preservation Act.
“We are Guahan’s” Leevin Camacho believes DOD tried to avoid having the hearing.
It wasn’t until the Guam State Historic Preservation Officer [SHPO] Lynda Aguon refused to sign off on the Programmatic agreement that DOD decided to hold the hearing.
The Guam SHPO wasn’t the only one pointing out that a public hearing was necessary. various organizations like “We Are Guahan”, Fuetsan Famalao’an, the Guam Boonie Stompers, the Guam Preservation Trust and the National Preservation Trust have all demanded that a public hearing be held to allow for more input into a plan that will affect Guam’s historic artifacts.
And even though DOD has finally agreed to hold a hearing, Camacho is sceptical about their motives. “One we have to question the timing of it we’re two days after the election how can we expect our elected leaders to be focusing on the details of this programmatic agreement which is very important,” said Camacho, adding “it’s basically gonna govern how DOD handles all of the projects moving forward.”
Camacho also says that because the election has dominated the media both in print and on the airwaves it’s been very hard to get the word out to the public about this public hearing on the programmatic agreement. “The last couple weeks have been so focused on the election I’m sure people who are concerned about historic properties are probably exhausted at this point,” said Camacho.
The programmatic agreement was supposed to have been signed before the record of decision was issued. Without it DOD must proceed with every construction project on a case by case basis.