GUAMANIANS GET LAND BACK FROM MILITARY

By Gene Park

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Nov. 16) - Yesterday's deed-signing held by the Guam Ancestral Lands Commission left Ignacio Pangelinan a very happy man.

Pangelinan's family was one of the seven who had their land returned to them yesterday after Gov. Felix Camacho signed over the deeds. The ceremony took place at the commission's Anigua office.

Land deemed excess federal property in Barrigada, Dededo and Piti was turned over to several families.

Pangelinan said about 200 acres of land was returned to his family. He said he plans to give the land to his four children and six grandchildren.

"For myself, I'm getting old. The future is what I'm looking toward," said the 51-year-old political science teacher at George Washington High School. "It's been a long and hard battle."

Pangelinan urged other families to speak to the commission about having their land returned.

The Mangilao resident said the Harmon lots, adjacent to Route 3A, were once owned by his great-grandfather, Joaquin Leon Guerrero Aguon, before it was taken by the military.

Pangelinan, a member of the Guam National Guard, noted that "this doesn't mean that we are anti-American or anti-military."

According to Pacific Daily News archives, landowners were compensated about $12 per acre for the land when they were removed.

The Guam Ancestral Lands Commission was created by former Gov. Carl Gutierrez in 1999 to investigate and record information about ancestral land claim settlements. The commission also is in charge of returning land deemed excess by the federal government.

More land soon may be turned over to other families.

On Monday, the Navy officially relinquished claim to 101 acres of land to the local government in a quitclaim signing.

Under Guam law, the governor must transfer the land to the commission, which will determine how the land will be used.

That land is divided into four parcels, three of which are located near Old Apra Harbor and one located near the U.S. Naval Station, according to Pacific Daily News files.

November 17, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

 

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