Veterans Affairs installs temporary fence at Marpi cemetery

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TO prevent the further “desecration” of  the Veterans Cemetery in Marpi, CNMI Office of Veterans Affairs Executive Officer Stanley T. Iakopo has installed a temporary fence in the area.

Two weeks ago, Iakopo met with the Department of Public Lands and cattle ranchers to address the issue with loose cows and cow manure at the cemetery.

“Since then, there have been no changes and no improvements,” Iakopo said in a phone interview.

On Tuesday, he met with Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and officials of the Office of  Grants Management to identify funding for a temporary  fence.

On that same day, he said RNV Construction began installing the temporary fence which is made of wood and is about four feet high.  

The goal is to secure the area where the veterans are buried, he added.

“There is only one entry point [near the parking lot]. So now,  the cows can’t graze at the cemetery,” Iakopo said.

As for a more permanent structure, Iakopo said they are now in the process of ordering materials.

He said the permanent fence will be made of steel, and he expects that  the project will be completed by November.

The budget for the temporary and permanent fences is $8,000, Iakopo said.

“There is no logical explanation to justify the desecration of the graves of our veterans who fought for and defended our freedom,” Iakopo said.

He said loose cows defecating on the veterans’ graves is disrespectful and unacceptable as he again asked the ranchers to be responsible for their cows.

“They know what their cows are doing. They know that they are responsible, but I am taking full responsibility for protecting our veterans’ graves,” he added.





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