By Lori Lyn Lirio
A LAW exempting from business license fees individuals who educate others, especially the younger generations of Chamorros and Carolinians, about the local culture was passed before the local Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Island legislature.
This was learned after the Indigenous Affairs Office Resident Executive Roman Tudela Jr. expressed support for House Bill 20-180 which aims to provide exemption to individuals who educate others and the younger generation of the Chamorro and/or Carolinian cultures’ customs, history and traditions and for other purposes.
He said the bill, if passed, will further maximize the utilization of the elderly who have vast knowledge in Chamorro and Carolinian culture.
Introduced by Speaker Ralph Demapan, H.B. 20-180 is expected to pass and become law.
According to Tudela the IAO and the Carolinian Affairs Office have taken initiatives in exerting efforts to promote the indigenous cultures by hosting conferences, workshops, summer camps, and others.
“We approached Speaker Demapan to see if they can waive the requirement, at least for the procurement purposes, of these people who are knowledgeable of our customs and traditions,” he said.
Tudela explained that the procurement regulation policy requires the government offices that any individual they hire for professional service must have business license.
“The IAO, CAO’s awareness programs are culturally-related and we only have few people that we can tap. They cannot get a business license because we do not get their services on a regular basis.”
“Sometimes we only get them for consultation and we tried to extract information from them. Requiring them to have a business license would be very difficult for us and for these people – most of them are elderly but have vast knowledge in our culture.”
He said these elderly people still carry a lot of knowledge the younger generations do not know.
“They are willing to teach us, share with us and show us our tradition. We would like to, at least, compensate them for making the information available I have to pay this incentives for them to share their knowledge.”
“They are cultural practitioners that do not have business license. Our office needs these people. In the absence of a business license, they are unable to take part in assisting to promote and prolong the values that embody the Chamorro and Carolinian cultures.”