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Senators pass Resolution 48

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Lawmakers passed Resolution 48, sending a symbolic message to the federal government they will not tolerate the people of Guam's rights being trampled on. The $300 million fight over Fena is just as much about the fight for democracy, in what's supposed to be a democratic society here in Guam.

"Apparently we should stop teaching it in our schools because it doesn't apply here," said Senator Mana Silva Taijeron, with Senator Sam Mabini adding, "It is an affront to our democratic process."

The National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision that not only would sell Fena back to the Government of Guam for $300 million, but also allows the Navy 33% control over the Consolidated Commission on Uutilities. Resolution 48 sends a message to congress that Guam shouldn't have to pay a single cent for Fena.

Because for one, our island's men and women in the armed forces are already paying the ultimate sacrifice. "Doesn't that count for anything?" said Senator Ben Pangelinan.

Resolution 48 also objects to the Navy having a seat on the CCU, with Senator Frank Blas saying, "There's no place else in this nation where the U.S. federal government has imposed its will has imposed itself on a state or local board or commission." Taijeron continued, "What's next - are we going to have to make room in this legislative hall. For their representation here?"

Senator Tony Ada added, "What are they going to do if we don't put the Secretary of Sefense a one-third voting member on the CCU. Have the Air Force and the Navy his representative escort him to the CCU and have the military guard stand guard."

Lawmakers were clearly frustrated with Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo and questioning why she didn't mention the CCU's provision to senators last May when the defense bill was passed and signed into law. Blas added, "Why didn't she tell us."

Blas read a response from Bordallo he received earlier this month. "While I did not support the 33% voting representation component of the provision. I recognize this clause can be negated through negotiations or amended if needed."

"Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo please do your part, because that's your job. Correct this now," said Senator Judi Guthertz. Many senators believe the time for negotiating is over. "I'm really ready to go to federal court and say what the hell are we here?"

Because just passing a resolution won't be enough.

Blas said, "How many more times are we going to have to cry and beg on a piece of paper that you and I both know they don't even read?"

Whether it be in the form of a lawsuit or congressional "retraction", Senator Aline Yamashita said it best: "We must be smart and we must be bold and we must be dramatic."

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