I'd been meaning to look through the documents to find out how the islands of Asuncion, Maug, and Uracas came to be protected by our Constitution, but didn't actually sit down to sift through them until yesterday afternoon.
One of the things I wanted to know was whose idea was it to protect the islands and how did this discussion come about?
I discovered that only Maug, Sariguan, and Managaha were protected by the first ConCon. It wasn't until the second ConCon that the islands of Asuncion, Uracas, and Guguan received conservation status.
Well, I'm still digging, but I was able to find the following conversation, which took place on July 15, 1985, exactly 23 years ago today:
President H. Guerrero: Secretary Nabors, can you read Committee Recommendation No. 29?Just so you know, President H. Guerrero is Herman T. Guerrero, Secretary Nabors is William B. Nabors, Delegate King is Esteven M King, and Delegate Villagomez is my Dad, Ramon G. Villagomez.
At this point Secretary Nabors read Committee Recommendation No. 29 in its entirety, as follows:
"COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION NO. 29.
"A PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
"To amend Article XIV, Section 2 to include two other uninhabited islands to be protected and preserved.
"BE IT ADOPTED BY THE SECOND CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION:
"Upon ratification pursuant to Section 5 of Article XVIII of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Constitution and Public Law No. 4-30, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is amended as follows:
"I. Effective upon ratification, Section 2 of Article XIV is amended to read:
"'Section 2. Uninhabited Islands. The island of Managaha shall be maintained as an uninhabited place and used only for cultural and recreational purposes. The islands of Maug, Uracas, Asuncion, Guguan and other islands specified by law shall be maintained as uninhabited places and used only for the preservation and protection of natural resources, including but not limited to bird, wildlife and plant species.'"
Delegate Villagomez: Correction.
President H. Guerrero: Delegate Villagomez?
Delegate Villagomez: The correct pronunciation is not "Gu-an" but "Gu-gu-an."
President H. Guerrero: I believe "Guan" is the proposed name for Guam.
Secretary Nabors: Let's be progressive.
President H Guerrero: The Chair is ready to entertain its adoption. Delegate Villagomez?
Delegate Villagomez: Mr. President, (in Chamorro)
Delegate King seconded the motion.
Delegate Manglona: I'd like to translate that in English for the benefit of one of the delegates in this Convention. Delegate Villagomez has just moved to adopt Committee Recommendation No. 29 and has been seconded.
I'll continue to dig through the documents to see if I can find any record of the conversation that led up to Committee Recommendation No. 29 (my father was a member of the Second ConCon Committee on Personal Rights/Natural Resources), but I can now say with all honesty that my father is the person that first motioned to protect the three islands within the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument (excluding Maug, of course, which was protected by the First ConCon).
How cool is that?