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Ancestral Lands Commission says 180 properties still unclaimed

By Arvin Temkar

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 17, 2012) – Private property that was taken by the U.S. government for military use decades ago was returned to the rightful owner, said David Camacho, executive director of the Ancestral Lands Commission.

In a ceremony at Adelup on Wednesday, Glorina Perez Quitugua signed the deed to four hectares of land in Radio Barrigada. She accepted the land on behalf of the original landowner, her deceased father Antonio Mafnas Quitugua.

The land commission, which returns federal excess land to original landowners or their heirs, still has 180 properties that are unclaimed, Camacho said.

The U.S. government seized land all over the island between the 1930s and the 1960s, including more than 600 acres in Radio Barrigada, Camacho said. The land was owned by the federal government until it was handed over to the Government of Guam in 2001.

Since then, Guam's government has been trying to return the land to its original owners.

Antonio Mafnas Quitugua was identified as the owner of a piece of Radio Barrigada land late last year, Camacho said.

Glorina Perez Quitugua, who is turning 79 next week, said she hadn't known that she was entitled to the land – she thought it was still under federal control.

"I am so delighted," she said.

She said she hasn't yet decided what she will do with the property.

"It was a really, really surprise birthday gift from my father," she said.

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