Revised Programmatic Agreement Still Problematic

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Guam – In light of critical comments made by the Guam State Historic Preservation Officer, the “We Are Guahan” coalition, and members of the legislature the Department of Defense has revised their programmatic agreement. Nevertheless, lawmakers today have been discussing a resolution against the signing of either the original or revised agreement.

It’s still not good enough I think that the programmatic agreement is going to be a problematic agreement as we move to protect the heritage and the cultural resources of our Chamorro people with this military expansion,” said Senator Ben Pangelinan. He adds that the programmatic agreement as written takes away Guam’s rights to preserve it’s artifacts, its heritage, and its culture. Although there is a revised version it does not completely delete appendix d, but instead reduces the amount of projects in that appendix. As for the Pagat site, the way it it is currently written there appears to still be a loophole as the programmatic agreement refers to the FEIS’s plans for Rt. 15 which include the Pagat site.

Military buildup legislative chairwoman Senator Judi Guthertz is also very disappointed in the federal officials who are trying to get Guam’s State Historic Preservation Officer to sign off on the programmatic agreement. “It’s really unfair to the people of Guam this Programmatic agreement if signed will basically give the federal representatives a free hand to handle any historic antiquities that may be found on any lands intended for use on the military buildup to do what they want and not comply with our existing procedures and rules,” said Guthertz. She adds that she feels strongly that this is not in the best interest of the people of Guam.

Senator Rory Respicio says it is important that the legislature adopt the resolution in order to stand up to the Department of Defense and support Guam State Historic Preservation officer Lynda Aguon. “I just can’t believe that she is being forced as a mid-level classified Government of Guam employee to sign a programmatic agreement. I want to commend her publicly, I’ve been commending her publicly for her will to say that we got to have the people of Guam weigh in on this by way of public hearings and public discussions rather than just having her hand forced to sign this program agreement,” said Respicio.

Pangelinan is also adamant that this agreement is not in the best interest of the people of Guam. “We have one of the foremost experts Dr.Thomas King has given us some advice on this programmatic agreement and he said the best thing you can do with that thing is pour some cement on it and sink it into the Marianas trench.” Pangelinan adds that during last nights public hearing Guam State Historic Preservation Officer Lynda Aguon made it clear that if lawmakers pass the resolution she will not sign off on the programmatic agreement.