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Tensions Loom Over Two Separate Manam Resettlement Bills

by Rachael Shisei – EM TV News, Madang

Tensions are looming over the fact that there are two separate Manam Resettlement Bills yet to be passed by parliament. 

One was proposed by the Bogia MP, John Hickey, known as the Manam Boisa Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, and the other was proposed by the Madang Governor, Jim Kas, titled the Manam Restoration Authority Bill.

The Andarum people of Bogia District, the proposed area of resettlement for the volcano-displaced Manam islanders, want the government to come clear, especially as the matter involves giving away their customary land.

“There are 11 of us clan leaders in the Andarum area, and we have not agreed to anything as yet, until political leaders pushing this bill come down to our level and negotiate with us,” said Peter Yamtok, Clan leader of Raptuk in the Andarum area.

According to Bogia representatives, the bill by their MP to resettle the islanders, and rehabilitate, seems fair.

“We support the Bill by the local MP John Hickey, because he not only talsk about the resettlement of the islanders on our land, but rehabilitation as well,” said Joe Viaken, a Andarum landowner.

The representatives explained that they are not against the resettling of the islanders on their land, but are calling on Governor Kas to work together with their local MP  to make the bill happen.

“I’m calling on the Madang Governor, as the Regional Members, please team up with MPs of districts whose projects you support, before pushing for bills to be passed,” said Viaken.

Meanwhile, the Manam islanders, obviously in dire need to be resettled as soon as possible, have expressed frustrations because of the confusion of the two separate bills.

They too are calling on the Madang Governor to work together with their local MP for their sake, and for Madang Province as a whole.

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