Majority Floor Leader Kerai Mariur said the Senate is hoping to generate discussions from the public and support from its House of Delegates (HOD) counterpart with the proposed bills that aim to delay the implementation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary(PNMS) although there is little chance that President Tommy Remengesau Jr. will consider the measure.
Mariur echoed Sen. Frank Kyota’s earlier statement that despite Remengesau’s unlikely support for the bill, there is a push at the Senate to pass the legislation.
“We should put it out in the open and let the issue be discussed,” Mariur said.
The PNMS law is set to take effect on January 1, 2020 but will less than a year to its implementation, two bills in the Senate want it delayed for at least five years or a maximum of 10 years to allow more money to be put in to replace revenues loss from closing Palau’s waters to commercial fishing.
He said the delay would also allow the review of the law to ensure that better fisheries management would be put in place.
Mariur said the Senate would support the bill, as it’s the lawmakers’ duty to ensure that the government considers other sources of revenue to finance government operations.
He said the Senate would like the House’s support on the measure.
Two bills were introduced in November with both highlighting the lower number of tourists visiting Palau lowering the revenues from the Pristine Paradise Environmental Fee (PPEF).
One bill introduced by Senator Rukebai Inabo, called for the extension of the transition period for another 10 years.
While the bill introduced by Senators Kerai Mariur, John Skebong, Stevenson Kuartei , Aric Nakamura and Mark Rudimch asked for a delay of the implementation for five years.
Both bills took into account the declining tourism numbers that affecting Palau’s economy. (Bernadette H. Carreon)