Senator Ben Pangelinan has urged Undersecretary of the Navy Robert Work to take Pagat completely off the table.
Pangelinan made the suggestion in a letter the lawmaker wrote following Work’s visit to Guam on Jan. 20.
Pangelinan said he wanted to clarify the Pagat issue to avoid any misconceptions as well as provide his concerns regarding the Department Of Defense’s “net negative” footprint.
Pangelinan is Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Taxation, Public Debt, Banking, Insurance, Retirement & Land.
“The area of Pågat is not confined to the hiking trail leading to the Pågat Cave, rather it extends far beyond that to include the preferred site for the DoD live firing range,” stated the senator.
“When Governor Calvo or any other individual mentions the area of Pågat, we need to understand that the preferred site for the DoD firing range is located within that area. Pågat is a symbol and beacon of the Chamorro people’s heritage and should not be sold to the highest bidder,” wrote the senator.
The letter also stated that if DoD insists on having the firing range along Route 15, the military should proceed a couple of miles up Route 15 and bulldoze the Palm Tree Golf Course to do so.
Pangelinan also urged DoD to remain within its current footprint with regards to any military buildup related activities.
“This farce regarding a ‘net negative’ DoD footprint still implies that land will be taken. The people of Guam will not be so easily fooled by such deceptive semantics,” said Pangelinan.
“If there has been land controlled by the DoD, that it is willing to return, why only now are we seeing these statements? Instead of a ‘net negative’ DoD footprint, I insist that the people of Guam experience a ‘gross positive’ position, where lands will be both returned and not taken.”
The Pagat issue is beginning to be a bone of contention between Governor Calvo and his former colleagues in the Legislature.
The governor has said $15 billion that is expected to flow into Guam for the buildup is something that he will not take lightly.
Calvo is leaning toward signing the Programmatic Agreement which will release $1 billion in construction-related buildup.