DR1 breaks for Labor Day holiday
DR’s Miguel Vargas and Haiti’s Antonio Rodrigue agreements
ID documents for Haitian residents in DR
CEI-RD’s Luis Henry Molina says time is right for more exports
National Council of the Magistracy to choose new judges for Constitutional Court
Education Minister Andres Navarro focuses attention on sexual abuse in public schools
Surveillance cameras detect 105,000 incidents
Catholic Church backs HPV vaccination ongoing
ECLAC shows strong economic growth in the Dominican Republic
Pro Consumidor is wrong: Take out 10% is in
Yimi Zapata wins UASD student council presidency 
Police short on funds for patrol fuel
Piccini says PEPCA is covering up list of names in Embraer bribery case
Pastor accused of sexual aggression in Puerto Plata
Police accuses employee for Kentucky Fried Chicken robbery
FIFA president Gianni Infantino visits football fields in Dominican Republic
Weekend rains
Wisin and Maluma together at Altos de Chavon

DR1 breaks for Labor Day holiday
The DR1 News Daily digest will not be published on Monday, 1 May 2017, on occasion of Labor Day, a national holiday. News will be compiled for the Tuesday, 2 May issue. 

Headline news may be published on the DR1 Forums that is open for posts 24/7. 
See http://www.dr1.com

DR’s Miguel Vargas and Haiti’s Antonio Rodrigue agreements
Ministers of Foreign Relations of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Miguel Vargas and Antonio Rodrigue, respectively, met on 27 April 2017 at the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Santo Domingo and agreed to restart the Bilateral Mixed Commission talks. The Bilateral Mixed Commission is where topics of cooperation, trade, investment, border security and migration are covered. The talks had been interrupted coinciding with trade violations incurred in by government officers in Haiti. 

The government of Haiti now agrees to not impose obstacles to trade. The governments also confirmed the sovereign rights of each country and the principle of non-intervention. 

On the agenda is a follow-up to the requests by Haitian nationals for Haitian documentation so they can complete their residency process in the Dominican Republic. As reported, an extension through June was given for the delivery of the documents. The agreement establishes a first delivery of 11,593 passports to its nationals, as well as other identity documents upon request to be provided by the new Haitian government. 

Regarding trade, the ministers committed to facilitate the flow of merchandise, strengthen formal trade, while increasing obstacles to contraband and offering opportunities for border market trade. 

It was agreed the Dominican Republic would contribute to the development of rice production in Haiti, provide advice on power generation, share experiences in support to medium-sized and small business and contribute to forestation on the border. 

Rodrigue says that Haiti wants to sell rum, garlic, mangos, plantains, legumes and  clothing in the Dominican Republic. 

Speaking to the press, he minimized the departing of the 400 Minustah soldiers in Haiti. He explained over the years, the country has prepared its own National Police to enforce law and order in Haiti. 

ID documents for Haitian residents in DR
The Embassy of Haiti has ready around 11,000 documents for Haitians that had requested identity papers from Haiti to regularize their status as part of the Dominican Republic National Status Legalization Plan (PNRE) that began in 2014. 

The Dominican government has given extensions to Haitians who have not been able to complete the process due to delays on behalf of the Haitian government. Most people in Haiti do not have identity documents, which creates a major problem for the Dominican Republic when these cross the border looking for work. 

The delivery of the documents began yesterday and is part of the Program for Identification and Documentation of Haitian Immigrants (PIDIH) of the Embassy of Haiti. These documents had been requested in 2014. 

It is estimated that around 200,000 Haitians have requested documentation from Haiti to regularize their status. 


CEI-RD’s Luis Henry Molina says time is right for more exports
The director of the Center for Exports and Investments (CEI-RD), Luis Henry Molina says the timing is right for more exports, highlighting conversations during a recent meeting of industrial free zone executives with President Danilo Medina. 

In addition, Molina says the country needs to focus on tourism, attracting more investment and on an increase in local production. 

He highlighted the vocational training efforts of the governmental Technical Professional Training Institute (Infotep). Interviewed on AN7 Amanecer, Antena Latina, he highlighted the importance of training in tourism and how the private sector and Infotep are working together. 

He said CEI-RD and the private sector are working together to detect where there can be opportunities for export. 


National Council of the Magistracy to choose new judges for Constitutional Court
President Danilo Medina will convene a working session of the National Council of the Magistracy (CNM) starting on 15 May 2017.  During the sessions, the council will need to replace at five judges of the Supreme Court of Justice, four judges of the Constitutional Court (TC) and five judges for the Superior Electoral Court (TSE). 

As reported in Diario Libre on 27 April 2017, the CNM will need to select or confirm 13 of the 16 members of the Supreme Court of Justice. At least two of the judges will need to be replaced, while the others could be confirmed in their posts. 

Those that need to be replaced are judge Julio Castaños Guzmán, who resigned to take on his new responsibility as president of the Central Electoral Board (JCE), and judge Martha Olga García Santamaría and Dulce Rodríguez de Goris, given that they have reached the retirement age for judges (75 years). Also, Diario Libre reports that judge Víctor José Castellanos has stated he would like to retire, citing health reasons. 

Of the 13 judges of the Constitutional Court, the terms of four judges expire on 22 December 2017. These judges were elected in 2011 to serve a six-year term. 

The NCM needs to choose the replacements of the five judges of the TSE: Mariano Rodríguez, Mabel Féliz Báez, José Manuel Hernández Peguero, John Guiliani, and Fausto Marino Mendoza. 

The members of the Council of Magistrates of the Nation are: President Danilo Medina, Attorney General Jean-Alain Rodríguez, Supreme Court of Justice president Mariano Germán Mejía; Supreme Court of Justice judge Frank Euclides Soto Sánchez; the president of the Senate Reinaldo Pared Pérez and the president of the Chamber of Deputies Lucía Medina, both of the ruling PLD party, and opposition senator José Paliza and deputy Josefa Castillo, as representatives of the party with the second largest representation in Congress, both of the PRM. 

El Nacional reported on 27 April 2017, that six of the eight members of the CNM have very strong ties with the ruling PLD party. 

Education Minister Andres Navarro focuses attention on sexual abuse in public schools
The Ministry of Education announced it has appointed a commission to study sexual abuse in public schools. The announcement came after a social science teacher was accused of molesting 13 children in a school in Salcedo. 

Minister of Education Andres Navarro ordered the investigation of two more public schools and demanded that measures be taken to prevent future cases nationwide. 

He instructed the legal affairs director of the Ministry, Juan Luis Bello, to assist the affected families in their legal cases against the child molesters. 

Navarro said that thus far, two teachers have been accused of sexual abuses in public schools. “This has caused a great deal of concern for families with school-age children throughout the country, and the Ministry understands it is crucial to guarantee the security of children,” he said. 

Likewise he expressed concern that in the communities cases of child abuse are not promptly reported and that the directors of the schools or regional education districts have not taken sufficient action to investigate and act upon any case where there is a suspicion of child abuse.  

Navarro has ordered an in depth investigation into the case of the public school where a teacher has been accused of molesting 12 girls and a one boy. That teacher was ordered to serve a year in preventive custody. 


Surveillance cameras detect 105,000 incidents
Deputy Minister of the Presidency Zoraima Cuello, the governmental liaison for the 911 Emergency System, says that the system’s surveillance cameras have detected many cases where units have been sent even before a telephone call has been received. 

In a TV interview on Despierta RD, she said the method has been effective in assisting in the solving of brawls and robberies. She also says it serves to prevent and solve crimes. She mentioned cases of drug sales, conflicts and street problems have been resolved thanks to the surveillance cameras that are installed in the cities covered by the 911. 

She said some 1,305 cameras are installed in Greater Santo Domingo, at strategic points where there is a greater concentration of people. She said there are plans to install an additional 1,521 cameras in Puerto Plata, Santiago and Greater Santo Domingo, where security will be bolstered in the Colonial City, the state university UASD and Ciudad Juan Bosch. She mentioned 200 new cameras will be installed in the Colonial City in addition to the 123 already in place. 

She also mentioned they are working with private companies to bolster their surveillance service. 

She told the general public that anyone wanting to check out the images at any given point can request this information from the Public Ministry. 


Catholic Church backs HPV vaccination ongoing
The Ministry of Public Health’s on-going campaign to vaccinate 9 and 10-year old girls against the Human papilloma virus is the talk of the town. The vaccination helps prevent girls from contracting cervical cancer, a major cause of death in the Dominican Republic. The vaccines that reportedly cost RD$10,000 each are being applied free to public school students and at Roman Catholic Church-ruled schools nationwide. 

In the United States, the Center for Disease Control (CD) recommends 11 to 12 year olds get two shots of the HPV vaccine pro protect against cancers caused by HPV. The second dose is recommended 6-12 months after the first shot.

In Santo Domingo, the media publicized the case of one Catholic school, Consa, whose director spoke out against the vaccination. However, the Roman Catholic Church later contradicted the position of Consa and publicly supported the need for the vaccination. 

Public health officials argue that if the vaccination is applied to nine year old girls and if a booster shot is given the next school year, these girls will be protected against the HPV cancers. Health experts say that the vaccine will reduce risk of cervical cancer by 70%.  

In the Dominican Republic approximately 500-600 women die of cervical cancer each year, and the number of incidences of this type of cancer is increasing. Cervical cancer is reportedly the second highest cause of mortality in women in the country. 

The campaign has a cost of RD$150 million and is funded by the Ministry of Education, with the Ministry of Public Health providing the staff for the implementation of the campaign. The campaign seeks to reach 190,000 students. 

According to the CDC, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active people get it at some point in their lives. There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers. The vaccines can prevent these health problems from occurring.

The vaccination is critical in the Dominican Republic, given that this country has one of the highest incidences of early sexual activity in the region. 


ECLAC shows strong economic growth in the Dominican Republic
The most recent report from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) reveals that in 2017, the Dominican Republic will grow at an above average rate of 6.2%. Overall, the countries of Central America and the Dominican Republic (the CARD region) will experience an average growth rate of 4.5%. This compares to a figure of 1.3% for Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole.

The new report, “Central America and the Dominican Republic: Economic Evolution in 2016 and Perspectives for 2017. A Preliminary Overview”, prepared by ECLAC, indicates that growth will be sluggish primarily due slower growth in the United States economy. 

Growth rates forecast for other CARD countries are: 
Panama (5.9%), Nicaragua (4.7%), Costa Rica (3.9%), Honduras (3.4%), Guatemala (3.3%), and El Salvador (2.2%). 


Pro Consumidor is wrong: Take out 10% is in
An editorial in Diario Libre yesterday corrects ProConsumidor, the governmental protection agency, that recently ordered Kentucky Fried Chicken to return to a customer the 10% gratuity charged on a take out order. Diario Libre says that the Supreme Court of Justice had already decided in 2007 on the case of employees who sued a business for removing the 10% gratuity on the bills. Contrary to the ProConsumidor recent decision, the higher-ranking Supreme Court of Justice ruling had ordered the company to reinstate the 10% gratuity on takeout and delivery. 

The Diario Libre editorial, by managing editor Ines Aizpun, explained that the 10% gratuity is distributed among the employees and is an important salary complement. It is known that in many cases represents more than the employees regular pay. 

As is, then, the only savings when purchasing takeout is not having to pay the extra 10% that is customary for service. On deliveries, customers usually tip the delivery man the 10%. 


Yimi Zapata wins UASD student council presidency 
With 38% of the vote, Yimi Zapata, was chosen president of the Federación de Estudiantes Dominicanos (FED) during the student council election at the UASD state university. The election had been suspended on 24 March 2017, when violence erupted leading the death of Daniel Castillo.  

With 800 votes pending to be counted, Enerio Rodríguez, president of the electoral commission, said that Zapata had 11,575 votes or 37.98%. His candidacy was backed by the alliances of the Frente Estudiantil Socialista Democrático (FESD), in turn backed by the opposition political party PRM; the Frente Estudiantil Flavio Suero (FEFLAS) and the Frente Estudiantil Amín Abel Hasbum (FELABEL).

The runner up, Rafaelito Valenzuela, of the alliance Vanguardia Estudiantil (VED) and Grupo Estudiantil Independiente (GEI), obtained 10,030 votes or 32.92%. He will be chosen organization secretary for the FED.  

The third place winner was by the Fuerza Juvenil Dominicana (FJD) with 2,677 votes, or 8.75%. The FJD candidate would hold the press and communications secretariat. 

There were 182,478 students eligible to vote in the election, but only around 31,000 did so, or around 16.7% of the total. 


Police short on funds for patrol fuel
The perceived reduction in the Police patrols may be due to the Police having to ration money that normally would be available to purchase fuel for the patrols, according to a creditable source, reported El Nacional. The Police have incurred a RD$70 million debt with fuel suppliers. 

As reported on 27 April 2017, El Nacional says the same source said that the Police Department has an overall RD$3 billion debt that has made it impossible to fully apply the Police salary increases that President Danilo Medina had announced to the nation in his 27 February address. 

According to Police insiders, the agents are unhappy that they are being overworked.  The delay in the promised pay incentives has contributed to a sense of low morale among the officers. While in the past, the Police agents could go home for lunch, now they are on 12-hour shifts. The source told El Nacional that many times the agents are ordered to work using their police motorcycles, but are told to fill up the bikes using their own money. 

“The situation is so critical that in some regions, such as is the casa of La Romana, where patrols are sent from San Pedro de Macorís, the agents are sent on a 12-hour shift but have to get there hitchhiking, and are not even given money for a meal or a bottle of water. This is shameful for the Police,” said the interviewed general. 

He lamented that the regional directors are having to ask businesses to contribute money for fuel for their patrol vehicles. 

Responding to the complaints, the spokesman for the Police General Nelson Rosario said “all is normal” in the Police Department. “It is not true that the police vehicles do not have fuel. All the units are patrolling normally and are refueling normally and without incident,” he said. 

The source told El Nacional: “The Police Department has no money. We are facing a difficult situation. The paid scholarships in universities for police have been suspended because millions are owed to the schools, but no one says anything nor goes public in defense of the future professionals of the institution,” said the complaining general. 


Piccini says PEPCA is covering up list of names in Embraer bribery case
The lawyer of Carlos Piccini, in preventive custody in the Embraer corruption case, said on Thursday, 27 April 2017, that the Anti Administrative Corruption Prosecution Agency (PEPCA) is covering up the names of the persons who received the US$3.5 million bribes to ensure the approval and purchase of the eight Super Tucano aircraft. 

Piccini is the only person who has been jailed as a result of the case. He has been in preventive custody for seven months at Najayo Jail. Former Minister of Armed Forces Rafael Peña Antonio, also investigated in the case, was released from jail on 19 August 2016. Businessmen Daniel Aquino Méndez and Daniel Aquino Hernández, also named in the case, were released after agreeing to wear electronic bracelets and be available for questioning. 

Lawyer Alejandro Tejada told the press he has requested that the Third Instruction Court order PEPCA to deliver the proof gathered during the course of the investigation into the bribes for the aircraft procurement. 

“The Public Ministry is purposefully not following the trail of the US$3.5 million that supposedly were delivered in bribes. They have the names and the Public Ministry says there are persons who can only be tried by the Supreme Court of Justice. Then we want to know who those persons are,” he said. 

"The Public Prosecutor's Office obviously was pursuing the $ 3.5 million that was supposed to be handed over for bribes. They have the names and the Public Ministry says that there are people who need privileged jurisdiction, so we need to know what those people are, "Tejada said. He complained that the Public Ministry is only prosecuting the company that supposedly received US$100,000, also General Rafael Peña Antonio who was Minister of the Armed Forces at the time, and aviation colonel Piccini. 

The lawyer said that the Public Ministry is hiding the identities of the person who received US$2.5 million and US$920,000 in bribes. He said his defendant did not receive any bribe money. Judge Danilo Amador is in charge of the case. 


Pastor accused of sexual aggression in Puerto Plata
A pastor, identified as Melvin David Quiroz, is accused of sexual aggression against several women in Puerto Plata. The women had consented to have sex with him after he convinced them his “semen had curative properties.” 

The Puerto Plata prosecutor said that the pastor has been remanded to three months of preventive custody while investigations are ongoing to determine if there are more victims and if it is possible that the pastor could have had sex with a large number of women from his congregation, as reported in El Caribe. The pastor was arrested in March.  


Police accuses employee for Kentucky Fried Chicken robbery
The National Police arrested Kentucky Fried Chicken employee, 29-year Leidy Yarisbel Pichardo and is accusing her of having masterminded the April 2017 robbery at a fast food store in Santo Domingo. 

Her accomplices are identified as brothers 37-year old Ezequiel and 30 year old Enmanuel de la Cruz Tejeda, and 20-year old Luis Manuel Hernández who implemented the armed robbery. The three men confessed they had been contacted by Pichardo Ogando to carry out the robbery. They admitted to having shared robbery earnings of RD$332,000. 

The Kentucky Fried Chicken robbery was at the Av. Rómulo Betancourt branch, in Bella Vista after closing. 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino visits football fields in Dominican Republic
The president of the International Football Federation (FIFA), Gianni Infantino is in the Dominican Republic arriving on 9am on Friday, 28 April 2017 for a day-long visit. The stopover is part of his American tour. 

During his stay he will visit different football installations and make recommendations. 

Osiris Guzman, president of the Dominican Football Federation (fedofutbol) said it is a privilege to host Infantino. 

Also on his agenda is a visit with President Danilo Medina and a luncheon with Minister of Sports Danilo Díaz and the president of the Dominican Olympic Committee, Luis Mejia. 

Weekend rains
The National Weather Office (Onamet) forecasts rains for the weekend. Onamet says starting Sunday, the weather will improve. The Center for Emergency Operations (COE) is alerting that floods could continue. The population is alerted to avoid crossing rivers. 

Onamet says the rains will affect practically all over the country, but especially the northwest, southwest, north, northeast, central mountain range and border provinces. 21 of the 32 provinces and the National District are under alert. 

Wisin and Maluma together at Altos de Chavon
23-year old Juan Luis Londoño Arias (Maluma) is coming for a Saturday, 17 June 2017 performance with Puerto Rican Wisin. 

Maluma is a Colombian urban music singer, songwriter and record producer. The visit is part of his  Maluma World Tour 2017. Maluma is promoted his track "Felices los 4," This will be his first concert in the country. 

Puerto Rican reggaeton singer, Wisin, will be sharing the Altos de Chavon stage with him. 

See more upcoming events at http://www.dr1.com/calendar