The House of Delegates (HOD) has adopted the resolution that proposes to amend Palau’s Constitution which cited the need to correct inaccuracies and dispel ambiguity in the language of the supreme law that defines the country’s territory.

HOD’s Committee on Judiciary, Governmental Affairs (JGA) and Human Rights, in a transmittal letter addressed to Speaker Sabino Anastacio dated November 7, has recommended to add a few words to Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution which describes Palau’s physical territory.

According to the letter, the 26th amendment to the constitution by the 2nd Constitutional Convention had failed to establish clarity on the description of Palau’s boundary and has instead generated more confusion.

The Committee proposes to remove the language on specific baselines and directional orientations.

“The removal of this language alleviates confusion related to the boundaries of the Republic and provides the Olbiil Era Kelulau (Palau National Congress) the opportunity to formalize and adjust the baselines by legislation,” the transmittal letter reads.

The committee also wishes to add the words atolls, reefs, and shoals and also indicate the word “sovereignty” in its language.

“…the change of language would reflect that the Republic has the power to govern its airspace, seabed, subsoil, water column, insular shelf, and continental shelf but that this power may not be absolute,” the letter further reads.

If passed, the proposed amendment will be included on the ballot for the November 2020 general elections for the citizens to vote on based on Palau’s constitution. It shall garner the approval of majority of the votes and not less than ¾ of the states before the amendment will take effect. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)