by Rachael Shisei – EM TV News, Madang
The Manam resettlement process of moving those displaced Manam Islanders to a new location will go ahead, despite the Manam Resettlement Authority (MRA) Bill not being heard in parliament last year.
Resettlement of the Manam Islanders to Andarum in the Joseph Staal District of Madang has to happen one way or another because the people are suffering.
“The people are really suffering, especially at the care centres. The food crops are no longer growing well, because the same soil has been used for 12 years now and is no longer fertile,” the Manam Resettlement Project Coordinator, Paul Akuram said.
The Resettlement Coordinator went on to mention that there is little, or no assessments at all regarding money coming in, how it is spent, and whether or not the relief supplies are enough.
“The relief supplies provided now last for a maximum of two weeks, that’s not enough, relief supplies should be something that can last the people for months,” the coordinator said.
Work has already begun at the resettlement site with teams of surveyors to complete and compile reports in order to help secure funding from overseas agencies, for expenses of moving into another community’s land.
Now the Manam Islanders are the country’s Internally Displaced People (IDPs), and should have been given first priority by both the national and the provincial governments. That’s not happening, which is where the Manam Resettlement Bill comes in.
Akuram said the PNG Constitution, the Organic Law and the Madang Provincial Administrative Laws all support the Islanders’ move to push for the MRA Bill to be passed in parliament.
“We are legally certified, it is just our Local MP, the Member for Bogia, John Hickey, who hasn’t been around to help us.”
The people through their leaders are pleading to the government to help, especially in resettling them, saying their votes are also counted in elections, and they have the right to be helped.