DEPARTMENT of Public Lands Secretary Marianne C. Teregeyo said she has already notified public land encroachers to vacate the property or pay for it.
In an interview after she was sworn in on Tuesday by Gov. Ralph Torres, Teregeyo said of the nine encroachers that her department has identified, five are people of Northern Marianas descent and the rest are foreigners.
Teregeyo said of the nine, two have come forward and provided documents to DPL.
“There are five NMDs that I’m aware of who built their homes on public property, so I have sent letters to them. Some of the encroachers who are foreigners also built homes on public property. In the past they were given notices by the department, but this time they have been given 30 days to comply. Some of them are corporations and some are just regular buildings or homes, and they have not been paying for using public land.”
Teregeyo said she has already forwarded some of these cases to DPL’s legal department to see how they can collect payments.
Governor Torres asked Teregeyo to prioritize the homestead programs for the three main islands and the Northern Islands.
“DPL is an important department because it represents us, and the secretary will represent not just us but future generations,” Torres said after swearing in Teregeyo.
Teregeyo said she prays every day that she will be able to do what is right as she knows that her position involves a huge responsibility.
In an interview, Torres reiterated that expediting the issuance of homestead lots on Saipan, Tinian, Rota and the Northern Islands is among his top priorities, and he and the DPL secretary will sit down to discuss it.
“We will have a short-term goal and a long-term goal. The short-term goal is to issue those homestead lots — expedite the homestead in Koblerville and work on the Northern Islands homestead. We want to make it a reality for all islands, all together,” the governor said.
Teregeyo said the number of homestead applicants has declined since many of the applicants have married and if both applicants are married, their application becomes one.
She earlier said that infrastructure funding is needed to fully implement the homestead program.
Source: Marianas Variety