“What members of PPLA did was wrong” stated President Surangel Whipps Jr., of Palau Public Land Authority’s (PPLA) decision to issue out leases to people within land area of Ngebudel, Airai, adjacent to Palau International Airport.
There are reports that people with leases within this area have received notices to halt any expansions or constructions due to the status of the land.
President Whipps revealed that the certain land lots adjacent to the airport, on both sides of airport were purchased by the United States as part of the airport, to support airport activities.
“The reason PPLA has the title and not Airai State was because they were purchased for the purpose of supporting airport operations,” reported Whipps.
Whipps further revealed that he was working with Airai State Government to open up leases at Oikull area of Airai to address the displacement issue of those who acquired leases from this area of Ngebudel, Airai. About a 100 lots are expected to open up in the Oikull area for leases according to Whipps.
PPLA during a public hearing held by OEK issue justified their decision by saying that they did so to address the housing displacement issue.
Whipps added that both Olbiil Era Kelulau (national congress) and himself believe that what PPLA did was wrong and that they have told PPLA to correct the problem.
PPLA had issued out nearly 50 leases within Ngebudel area of Airai to individuals and organizations seeking to build homes and establishes offices. Some of the leases are said to be within the area purchased for airport support operations.
Meanwhile, Olbiil Era Kelulau (congress) have introduced a bill mandating PPLA to turn over public lands within state jurisdictions to those states’ Public Land Authorities and to manage only lands reserved for national purposes including those identified under the Compact for US military use.