Ministry of Labor okays new RD$15,447 minimum wage
Education minister offers dialogue with teachers
“Water Plan” for the East: Dominquez Brito
AMET begins citizen awareness campaign
New cancer center opens in Higüey
Farmers say DR-CAFTA will harm the entire Cibao
IMF publishes working paper on DR tax administration reforms
Lajun turns away garbage from East Santo Domingo
ITLA branch in Salcedo
New free legal hotline for Dominicans abroad
Rivers and farmlands under threat by mining in San Juan Valley
Goldquest promotes “responsible mining” 
Pawa boosts cargo to USA
Boston Red Sox to revamp their Dominican training academy
Navy 10K-5K, Triathlon 
Venezuelan immigrants tell their story



Ministry of Labor okays new RD$15,447 minimum wage
The Ministry of Labor confirmed the 20% minimum wage increase agreed upon last week by labor and government members of the National Salaries Committee. The third party of the committee, the employers, rejected the raise arguing that a new reclassification of businesses by size had to be carried out with a differentiation of wage levels for each. The AIRD alerted the higher minimum wages discourages businesses from incorporating. Likewise, it discourages hiring and mostly affects jobs for young people.  The business sector has said it will contest the wage increases. 

Resolution 05/2017 of the Ministry of Labor instates a minimum wage of RD$15,447 a month for companies with assets of RD$4 million or more. Those working in companies with assets of RD$2 million to RD$4 million need to pay a minimum wage of RD$10,620. Minimum wage of companies with assets of less than RD$2 million has now been increased to RD$9,411. The resolution also orders a wage increase to RD$13,032 for private company watchmen. 

http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...minimo-del-20-


Education minister welcomes teachers back to talks
Education Minister Andres Navarro invited members of the executive committee of the Dominican Teachers Association (ADP) that represents public school teachers to a meeting on Friday, 7 April 2017, to discuss how teachers will make up classes that were lost as a result of teacher work stoppages. During a press conference, Navarro said on Wednesday, 5 April, that at some schools the academic year will have to be extended. 

As reported in Diario Libre, Navarro said that the change in the attitude of ADP leadership could enable reactivating the agreement that had been reached last March. That agreement included a 10% salary increase starting August 2017. 

Last week, Minister Navarro had announced the suspension of talks with the teachers after the union president Eduardo Hidalgo had openly expressed support of teachers’ walkout in Barahona. Navarro had announced that teachers would be hired to replace the striking professionals. 

http://www.7dias.com.do/el-pais/2017...-maestros.html


“Water Plan” for the East: Dominquez Brito
Environment Minister Francisco Domínguez Brito announced the beginning of a “Water Plan” for the entire eastern region of the country. During a talk held at the Federico Henriquez y Carvajal University in La Romana, the minister said the plan seeks to rescue the main river watershed areas for the region to guarantee the sustainability of the quantity and quality of the water. 

The Ministry says the water plan contemplates eliminating riverside slums, constructing water treatment facilities, reforesting riparian zones, planting native trees in open pastures and eliminating charcoal production. 

According to 7 Dias news portal, the minister pointed to the Ministry’s efforts in the conservation and restoration of the Valle Nuevo National Park and the importance of protecting water resources for human consumption. He likewise pointed out that the Los Haitises National Park is the source of most of the water for the eastern section of the country.


AMET begins citizen awareness campaign
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (AMET) began on Wednesday, 5 April 2017, a program to make drivers and pedestrians more aware of traffic laws in order to prevent accidents during Easter Week. Easter Week is the peak of domestic travel in the country. This year it starts when classes are called off on Friday, 7 April through Sunday, 16 April. The peak travel days are Thursday and Sunday. 

The program consists of signage somewhat akin to the old Burma-Shave humorous signs of yesteryear, informational pamphlets and luminescent vests for motorcyclists at different intersections along the main thoroughfares of Greater Santo Domingo. 

Diego Pesqueira, the AMET spokesman, told reporters from the Diario Libre that these efforts will be extended throughout the country beginning Monday, 10 April, when the main efforts of the Holy Week accident prevention campaign will go into full force. AMET, together with other government agencies, will deploy dozens of vehicles and thousands of agents and volunteers throughout the country in an attempt to reduce the tragic loss of life that makes headlines during Easter. 


New cancer center opens in Higüey
The government-owned National Oncological Institute has opened a hospital in Higuey to offer services to cancer patients living in San Pedro de Macoris, La Romana, El Seibo and Hato Mayor. In the past, patients had to travel to Santo Domingo to receive cancer treatment. The new hospital is located at the JN Plaza on Libertad Avenue and is headed by the oncological surgeon, Claudia De los Santos Batlle. 

The new medical center will provide consultations as well as clinical treatment, chemotherapy, early diagnosis and multi discipline procedures. Specialists cover medical oncology, surgery, gynecology, hematology, cardiology, psychiatry, nutrition, urology, and the care and pain management. 


Farmers say DR-CAFTA will harm the entire Cibao
Spokespeople for farmers in the Cibao Valley fear the disappearance of Dominican crops such as rice, and pork and poultry production, as the grace period granted to local producers under the US and Central American free trade agreement (DR-CAFTA) comes to an end. Approximately 50% of the economically active population in the Cibao Valley is employed in the farming sector.

The National Confederation of Farmers and members of the Association of Small Poultry Producers from Moca and Licey expressed their concerns to Dominican legislators and those of the Central American Parliament that attended the meeting, as reported in Diario Libre.

The Cibao region produces some 70% of the nation’s rice and more than 90% of eggs and pork products.  

Miguelina Alba, a spokesperson for the poultry producers, noted that more than 60% of the national poultry production is concentrated in the Cibao. The farmers and the legislators agreed to a work plan that will propose revisions of certain clauses in DR-CAFTA. 

Farmers say they cannot compete with the prices of imports given the farm subsidies provided by the US government to their producers. 


IMF publishes working paper on DR tax administration reforms
The IMF has published a working paper on tax administration reforms in the Caribbean. The report focuses on challenges, achievements and next steps. 

Read the report here:
http://www.imf.org/en/Publications/W...xt-Steps-44800
http://www.imf.org/external/country/DOM/index.htm


Lajun turns away garbage from East Santo Domingo
The Mayor of East Santo Domingo Alfredo Martinez complained on 5 April 2017 that the Lajun Corporation has prohibited that municipality from using the landfill at Duquesa. He said this could generate health problems within eastern Santo Domingo.

The municipal authority explained that the administrator of Lajun wants to increase charges from RD$3.0 million to RD$12.0 million per month for the municipality to use the services of Duquesa. 

Speaking on the radio program “La Super 7 en La Mañana” on 107.7FM, Martinez said that Lajun had sent them documents calling for their signature in recognition of past arrears, but the mayor said that since he felt they did not owe Lajun any money, they refused to sign the documents. And then on Tuesday, 4 April 2017, Lajun refused any and all trucks from East to Santo Domingo from entering the facility. 

Martinez said that the decision by the company that manages the Duquesa landfill site violates the agreement signed between the Ministry of Environment, the Dominican Municipal League and the Dominican Municipal Federation in which Lajun committed to work with all of the mayors to find a solution to the increase in the tariffs and fees charged by the company. 

http://www.7dias.com.do/portada/2017...ingo-este.html


ITLA branch in Salcedo
The government-owned Technological Institute of Las Americas (ITLA) announced a branch of the Greater Santo Domingo technology center would be opened in Salcedo, Hermanas Mirabal province. ITLA is working with the Fundación Liceo Científico and the Casa de la Juventud of the province. 

ITLA will provide the programs management and the teachers. The Fundacion Liceo Científico will provide the location, equipment and administrative staff. Casa de la Juventud will promote the courses and support center activities. 

The agreement was signed by José Armando Tavárez, rector of ITLA; José García, president of the Liceo Científico and Elena González, president of Casa de la Juventud.

http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...rmanas-mirabal


New free legal hotline for Dominicans abroad
The National Council for Dominican Communities Abroad (Condex) has opened a hotline to provide free legal assistance to Dominicans living in the United States. The hotline number is 1-866-266-3395. 

Ramiro Espino of Condex says the service was considered important, given the changes in migration policies enacted by the Trump administration and the challenges they present to Dominican migrants. Espino estimated more than two million Dominicans live in the United States and several thousand Dominicans have not yet regularized their status. 

The hotline was announced during a conference on Migratory Reform by lawyers Brunilda Bonilla and Genesis Labuto at the Dyckman Seventh Day Avenue Church in New York. The lawyers are specialists in custody, migration and deportation. 

http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...dentes-en-eeuu


Rivers and farmlands under threat by mining in San Juan Valley
Deputy Fidelio Despradel (Alianza Pais) proposes declaring San Juan Valley a mine-free zone. He expressed concern over the recent exploration concessions granted by the Dominican government to foreign companies. Despradel is pushing to declare the Yaque del Sur River basin that provides water for the Enriquillo and San Juan de la Maguana Valley area, an area free of mining. 

Despradel specifically mentioned the GoldQuest Corporation that expects to begin exploitation of mines in the Enriquillo and El Valle areas, known until now for their fertile farmlands irrigated by the Yaque del Sur, San Juan and Mijo rivers. 

He expressed his opposition to the concessions that threaten water sources in Padre Las Casas, Azua and San Juan de la Maguana. He called for the population to oppose alliances between the authorities and wealthy foreign businessmen interested in developing mines in these areas that are important sources of water for the country. 

“That all the population of the south of the Republic knows, as a national deputy, I am willing to initiate any action possible to impede this perverse plan to open mining exploitations in the water-producing zone.”

He announced he would introduce a resolution in the Chamber of Deputies that would prevent mining from affecting the water levels of the San Juan River, that are today under threat due to a public relations campaign promoted by the Ministry of Mining. 

http://hoy.com.do/fidelio-despradel-...re-de-mineria/


Goldquest promotes “responsible mining” 
Julio Espaillat, president of Goldquest Dominicana, the local branch of the Canadian mining firm Goldquest Mining Corporation, will speak on responsible mining, as the mining company prepares to start gold and copper exploitation operations in southwestern San Juan de la Maguana province, Dominican Republic. The title of Espaillat’s speech is, “Opportunities for Responsible Mining and the Dominican Economy.” 

The event is sponsored by the Dominican Republic Petroleum Mining Chamber (Camipe), and the Commonwealth Round Table in the Dominican Republic and its members the British, Canadian, Trinidad & Tobago and India chambers of commerce. 

The Goldquest operations have raised concern and have been criticized as potentially harmful to farming interests and water sources in the San Juan de la Maguana province. 

The event will take place on Thursday, 20 April 2017 at 8am at the Santo Domingo Sheraton. Cost is RD$2,500. For reservations: Tel 809 476-6951. 

http://www.goldquestcorp.com/index.p...uest-in-the-dr
http://www.barrigaverde.net/?q=node/51292


Pawa boosts cargo to USA
Pawa seeks to become Dominican exporters best friend. The airline is servicing the Miami-Santo Domingo route with a daily cargo flight with ample space for cargo and personalized service to customers, said Alexander Barrios, public affairs director for the airline.  The cargo service is offered jointly with Las Americas cargo. 

The capacity is 10,000 lbs. per flight, with the facilities to transport fruits, vegetables, flowers, perishable merchandise, personal goods, medical equipment, apparel, accessories manufactured in free zones and tobacco products, among others. 

Pawa began servicing Dominican routes in August 2015. 

https://www.pawadominicana.com/en/ou...ices/air-cargo
http://acento.com.do/2017/economia/8...stados-unidos/


Heat wave reminds all summer is coming
Reports from the National Meteorological Office (Onamet) are that it is hot and is going to get hotter. Temperatures above 32°C (90°F) have been reported in Santo Domingo. At the Haitian border towns of Dajabón and Jimaní, temperatures were well above 35°C (95°F). 

According to weather forecaster José Medina the hot temperatures are caused by the solar radiation and lack of cloud cover. He observed warm breezes are flowing in from the east and southeast. The heatwave is influenced by the system of high pressure over the Atlantic Ocean that is causing air from upper levels of the atmosphere to descend.

All is not completely bleak, however, and brief showers have been forecast for Santiago, Duarte, Monsignor Nouel, San Cristóbal and Samaná. 

Meanwhile, Onamet also alerted small craft in the Atlantic from Montecristi to Samana to navigate carefully because of seven-foot seas. 

http://www.listindiario.com/la-repub...ras-en-el-pais


Boston Red Sox to revamp their Dominican training academy
While Boston Red Sox fans still are coming to grips with a Red Sox lineup without Big Papi, David Ortiz, the team announced a revamping of their training academy in the Dominican Republic. 

NBC TV program interviewed Red Sox president Sam Kennedy who says the team aims to bring the 15-year old facilities up to modern standards that other clubs have in the country, including the Chicago Cubs and LA Dodgers. 

Kennedy, executive vice president for business affairs Jon Gilula, Chairman Tom Werner and former players, David Ortiz and Pedro Martinez toured the facility this winter to take stock in the work that needs to be done. 

http://www.csnne.com/boston-red-sox/...plex-dominican


Navy 10K-5K, Triathlon 
The Armada’s TriArmada is set for this Saturday, 8 April 2017 with runners taking off from the Sans Souci Naval Base at 6:30am for the run along Avenida España. The Dominican Armada organizes the race. 

Then on Sunday, 9 April from the Sans Souci Naval Club at 8:30am competitors will participate in the Triathlon Armada 2017 in the categories of sprint and duathlon, 14-15, 16-19, Sub-23, Elite, Master. 

http://www.marina.mil.do/portal/inde...6624&Itemid=12


Venezuelan immigrants tell their story
A group of popular soap opera actors from Venezuela are in Santo Domingo for a Thursday, 6 April 2017 performance at the Galeria 360 of the comedy “Venezolanos Desesperados. ” The drama tells six life stories of Venezuelan immigrants, with the good, bad and not so good of being away from home. 

Among the actors is Astrid Carolina Herrera, a winner of the Spanish Goya award. Others are Hilda Abrahamz, Amanda Gutierrez, Jean Carlo Simancas and Luis Gerónimo Abreu. 

Tickets are RD$1,200-RD$4,000 for sale online at Ticket Express and at the Escenario 360 box office. 

For more information on ongoing and upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar