Manuel Antonio Saleta García to direct Santo Domingo Metro
Bosses urge companies to wait for business reclassification
Rafael Paz named to National Competitiveness Council
Civil Aviation Institute backs renovation of southwest airports
Profamilia survey shows 74% Dominican women in favor of the right to abortion
Traffic accidents cost public insurance company RD$725 million in past 16 months
Nuncio Okolo transferred to Ireland
18-year old sent to custody after assaulting a classmate
Moline and Martha Heredia out of jail
La Familia Reyna sweeps the film industry awards
Casa de España presents La Oreja de Van Gogh 

Manuel Antonio Saleta García to direct Santo Domingo Metro
President Danilo Medina appointed engineer Manuel Antonio Saleta García on Friday, 12 May 2017, to replace the longtime director of the Santo Domingo Metro Office (Opret), engineer Diandino Peña. Peña was the talk of the town after he was interviewed by investigative journalist Alicia Ortega during the Monday, 8 May TV investigative show El Informe de Alicia Ortega on Channel 9. During the interview, Ortega took Peña by surprise asking him about his multiple offshore accounts. 

A man with a low public service profile, Saleta García has made a career mostly for his work in major hydroelectric dams in the Dominican Republic. He also worked at the Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE). 

He has also been professor of engineering at the UASD and INTEC, as reported in the Listin Diario.  He is a magna cum laude graduate in engineering from the UASD with a master’s in seismic engineering at the Universidad Central in Caracas, Venezuela.

After leaving CDEEE and INDRHI, he became manager of Consulcon, an engineering firm. 

The appointment of the new director comes at a time the Santo Domingo Metro is affected by delays in the completion of the second part of the second Metro line due to reported mayor delays in budget allotments.

Bosses urge companies to wait for business reclassification
The Dominican Employers Confederation (Copardom) has instructed its members to wait until 30 May 2017, to apply the minimum wage increase ordered by the Ministry of Labor. The wage increase then would be retroactive to 1 May. 

In a note to members, Copardom says that the 20% increase that is to be phased in 13% in May and 7% in November can only be applied after the Ministry of Labor sends an official communication to Copardom members outlining the reclassification of companies. 

The note states: “Private employers cannot apply a wage increase without having been notified of the reclassification of companies. This is because if a company is reclassified as a micro enterprise, the wage scale would be different than the present classification. Copardom says the reclassification should have been published a week ago by the Ministry of Labor. 

Meanwhile, the president of the Association of Industries of Herrera, Antonio Taveras Guzman, urged the government to implement the reclassification that was approved in a law passed on 19 December 2008.

Rafael Paz named to National Competitiveness Council
President Danilo Medina appointed Rafael Ramón Paz Familia as the new executive director of the National Competitiveness Council (CNC). He replaces Andrés van der Horst who was named deputy minister at the Ministry of Economy, replacing Juan Reyes who had resigned. The appointments are in Decree 167-17. Paz at the moment of his appointment served as executive vice president of the National Business Council (Conep).

Civil Aviation Institute backs renovation of southwest airports
The director of the Dominican Civil Aviation Institute (IDAC) Alejandro Herrera said during a TV talk show on Sunday, 14 May 2017, that the government would be carrying out improvements at the Maria Montez International Airport in Barahona and the Cabo Rojo domestic air field in Pedernales. 

Herrera said that President Danilo Medina had inspected the Cabo Rojo airport after flying in when taking investors to see Bahia de las Aguilas, a beach area that will soon be open to tourism investments. 

“Logically, for there to be multi-million dollar investments in Bahia de las Aguilas there has to be extensive renovations of the Cabo Rojo in Pedernales and Maria Montez in Barahona airports, as well as general improvements all the services and infrastructure in the area,” he said when interviewed by Héctor Herrera Cabral on D´Agenda on Telesistema, Channel 11.

Herrera also spoke of the continued increase in the number of flights to the Dominican Republic. He said in the first quarter of 2017 there has been a 1.28% increase in air operations. He said so far this year 500 more flights have come compared to air traffic in 2016. He stated that so far in 2017, there has been a rebound in the number of flights to Puerto Plata and La Romana, as well as Samana. He said the Dominican Republic is enjoying a boom time for air transportation and tourism is stimulating the economy.

Profamilia survey shows 74% Dominican women in favor of the right to abortion
A recent survey documents that abortion is more common among young people than legislators want to accept. President Danilo Medina recently vetoed the Penal Code approved by the National Congress for a second time for including articles that impose absolute restrictions on abortion in the Dominican Republic. 

A recent survey of university students carried out by ProFamilia, the family planning organization, revealed that 74.5% of women polled favor that a woman with health problems that put her life at risk, be able to seek an end to the pregnancy. The same survey showed that 72.7% favor abortion in the case of congenital malformation. 

Of the 2,436 female university students at three universities revealed that 12% of these admitted to having aborted, and 42.7% of these were induced. 67.1% said they knew of cases of induced abortion, and 69.4% said these were mostly caused with home preparations, while 50.7% said they used pharmaceuticals. 

The study, “Situation of abortion in the Dominican Republic consulted 2,436 women at the UASD, UNPHU and INTEC in six regions – Greater Santo Domingo, East, Southwest, Cibao Central, Northwest, and Valdesia. 

It was carried out by Germania Estevez and Francisco Caceres for Profamilia. Of the women surveyed, 86% were under 30years and 24% were under 20 years. 

The study recommends that evidence based information be used to take national decisions regarding abortion, and regarding legislative initiatives that affect the sexual and reproductive rights of persons. It also recommends guaranteeing early sex education to prevent unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. The study recommends implementing norms, protocols and guidelines for timely abortions, and recommendations to prevent deaths of women due to clandestine abortions.

Traffic accidents cost public insurance company RD$725 million in past 16 months
The executive director of SeNaSa, the government medical insurance company, Chanel Rosa Chupany announced that the company has paid RD$725 million to cover the medical costs of victims of traffic accidents over the past 16 months. The payments were made to 48,501 SeNaSa affiliates, according to a press release. These statistics indicate an average 100 cases a day are submitted by SeNaSa affiliates to the insurance company over the period from January 2016 to April 2017.

Apostolic Nuncio Okolo transferred to Ireland
The Vatican announced Apostolic Nuncio Jude Thaddeus Okolo is being sent in the same position to Ireland. He had been appointed to the post in 2013 after his predecessor, Josef Wesolowski, was recalled following TV investigate reports tied him to child sexual abuse in the Dominican Republic during his seven year term. 

Okolo served four years in the country. He made the announcement after officiating a mass at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. The news release by the Vatican did not specify Okolo’s replacement.

18-year old sent to custody after assaulting a classmate
18-year old Daniel Alberto Lopez Vazquez (Cuchi), accused of slapping, punching and hair pulling of a classmate at a Bayaguana public high school in Monte Plata, turned himself in to the authorities. The prosecutors ordered him to serve three months preventive custody. 

The case went viral after it was shared on social media. Lopez initially hid, but was turned over to the authorities by his father and a lawyer. An arrest warrant had been issued for Lopez.

The video shows Lopez beating up a female classmate at the Liceo Educativo Felix Rafael Nova. 

The 15-year old victim told Diario Libre that she does not know why her classmate beat her. Her father, Samuel Guini, said that Lopez is known for previous violent aggressions in the school. 

The Ministry of Education says it is providing legal and psychological assistance to the victim and family.

Moline and Martha Heredia out of jail
20 years have passed since the murder of 12-year old Jose Rafael Llenas Aybar. The reminder comes after the release from Najayo jail on 5 May 2017 of Juan Manuel Moliné Rodriguez, who at the time when 18 years old was sentenced to 20 years in jail for his complicity in the murder. The main culprit in the case, Mario Llenas Aybar, is serving a 30-year sentence for the death of his first cousin. The child was stabbed 34 times. Mario Llenas Aybar was 19 years old at the time. Investigations showed the murder was carried out on 4 May 1996. 

The media also is reporting the release of Latin American Idol winning singer, Martha Heredia, who was in jail after being caught trafficking in 1.8 kilos of heroine. She was arrested at the Cibao International Airport in Santiago prior to traveling to New York with the drugs in her high heels. She was sentenced to seven years in jail. She pleaded guilty in court and was sentenced in August 2014 to seven years in jail. 

La Familia Reyna sweeps the film industry awards
The inspirational story of the rebel eldest son of a prosperous family who returns to his home in Constanza after living abroad and sets off a series of events that will help forget old feuds swept the Adocine La Silla Awards, in its fourth year. The comedy/drama won 15 awards, including Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Script. The film was directed by Tito Rodríguez, with a script by Carlos Quezada. The lead roles were by David Maler, Danilo Reynoso, Adalgisa Pantaleon and Cuquín Victoria. 

The Adocine awards ceremony was televised the evening of Friday, 12 May 2017 from the Casa San Pablo in Santo Domingo. 

The winners of Adocine awards were:
Best Film: La Familia Reyna
Best Director: Francisco (Tito) Rodríguez) (La Familia Reyna)
Best Script: Carlos Quezada (La Familia Reyna)
Best Actress: Adalgisa Pantaleón (La Familia Reyna)
Best Actor: David Maler (La Familia Reyna)
Best Costumes: Gina Terc (Loki 7)
Best Makeup: Giselle Jiménez (La Familia Reyna)
Best Sound Design: David Hernández (La Familia Reyna)
Best Documentary: Caribbean Fantasy (Johanne Gómez)
Best Song Track: Canción de redención (Cuentas por cobrar)
Best cinematograpy director: Francis Adames (La Familia Reyna)
Best Musicalization: Tiziano Fajardo (La Familia Reyna)
Best Production Design: Ezequiel Reyna (La Familia Reyna)
Best Producer: Danilo Reynoso (La Familia Reyna)
Best Short Film: Andrés Farías (Tiznao)
Best Art Director: Ezequiel Reyna (La Familia Reyna)
Best Comedy: Tubérculo Gourmet
Best Editing: Gina Giudicelli (La Familia Reyna)
Best Visual Effects: Ticky Giuski, Alejandro Pérez, Guillermo Molina, Argenis Santos (Catastrópico)
Best Special effects: Luis Rivera, Jaime Castillo (Catastrópico)
Best Secondary Actor: Cuquín Victoria (La Familia Reyna)
Best Secondary Actress: Evelyna Rodríguez (La Familia Reyna)

Casa de España presents La Oreja de Van Gogh 
To celebrate its 100 years, Casa de España, the social and sports club on the Malecon, has announced the presentation of Spanish pop group La Oreja de Van Gogh and Spanish ballads singer Alex Ubago. La Oreja de Van Gogh recently released their successful new album, “Planeta imaginario”. Also appearing that evening will be Dominican singers Covi Quintana and Manny Cruz and DJ Mark B. The event that starts at 6pm is a production by SkyPro.

The presentation will be on Saturday, 10 June 2017. 

Casa de España was founded on 1 July 1917 by a group of visionary Spanish immigrants. The concert is part of Festivalia 2017 organized by the club. 

Tickets are for sale online for non-club members at