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By Liberty Dones

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, May 4) - The Marianas Public Lands Authority has distributed a total of 146 homestead lots on Rota, representing the largest distribution of lots on the island in almost eight years.

The lot distribution, which was done through a lottery last Friday, was participated in by 148 eligible homestead applicants.

Eligible applicants are those who have completed their files and are personally on island.

Acting MPLA commissioner Frank M. Eliptico said the lots drawn were composed of 145 lots in Dugi and three lots in Sinapalo.

He said these included lots that were either revoked from previous homesteaders who failed to comply with permit requirements or lots surrendered by homesteaders for various reasons.

In his remarks, MPLA board member Nicolas Nekai said the lot drawing represented "the largest mass distribution of village homestead lots in almost eight years."

He said it was also an acknowledgement "of your direct lineage to your cultural heritage."

"Being a Northern Marianas descent and your cultural link to our Chamorro ancestry is one of the basic criteria that qualify you to be a proud recipient of this lot drawing," said Nekai.

He urged the lot owners to maintain and beautify their properties.

He also urged other agencies and other community partners to assist the homesteaders in terms of home financing.

In particular, he said homesteaders can seek financing assistance from the Marianas Public Lands Trust under its affordable home mortgage program.

Nekai acknowledged that homesteaders face a dilemma: lack of basic needs such as water, power, sewer systems, and other basic infrastructure in the homestead areas.

"These are an integral part of a planned development of a large community such as the Dugi subdivision," he said.

He expressed confidence that the board is "on top of these issues and it stands ready to ensure that sufficient lands areas are designated and made a part of the ongoing development projects."

The lot drawing, held at Rota Public Library, was reportedly attended by Gov. Juan N. Babauta.

MPLA said the government has so far awarded over 3,277 homestead lots on Saipan, 1,038 subdivision lots and 370 agricultural lots on Tinian, and over 861 home lots on Rota.

The government has been giving away 900 square meter of public lands to each homesteader for residential purposes since 1979.

May 4, 2004

Saipan Tribune: www.saipantribune.com


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