20,000 scholarships to study a teacher career
Lessons learned by Finland explained to DR
Emergency systems activated for Irma
Drones to be used for 911 operations
Daniel Pou urges change in border surveillance
Drug contraband in ceramic bananas uncovered
Study looks into local access to financial products
Mother and son accused in Emely Peguero murder
After 13 years in court, Canoa and Morfe get two years in jail
Volleyball to get elite training center at Olympic Center
Guloya Pocket Theater Festival starts 7 September
Luguelin Santos wins gold in Diamond League’s 400m

20,000 scholarships to study a teacher career
Ministry of Education (Minerd), the Ministry of Higher Education (Mescyt) and the National Institute for Teacher Training (Inafocam) announced a major push to get students to pursue a teaching career. The government has 20,000 full scholarships available for students interested in studying primary or secondary education in universities throughout the country. The scholarships include tuition and a monthly stipend to encourage full time studies.

Those interested in receiving a scholarship must to take standardized tests as a first step. For more information, call 809 535-8006, extensions 103, 104, 105 and 106 or write to buzonbecas@inafocam.edu.do


Lessons learned by Finland explained to DR
Maaret Viskari, the director of Global Education at the School of Professional Education for Teachers, at Häme University of Applied Sciencies, Finland, was in Santo Domingo last week to present to the Dominican educational community the unorthodox Finnish education system. During her talk organized by the National Technical-Professional Institute (INFOTEP), Viskari highlighted that the success of the technical educational model in Finland is evidenced in that half of the students in Finland choose technical professional training. Those who desire can pursue academic higher education.

Speaking at the event, Viskari highlighted that one of the reasons for the Finnish success is the high level of the teachers. She explained teachers have masters studies, a minimum of three years working experience in their area and on average are 40 years old.

Viskari is a specialist in the design of professional development programs in the field of pedagogy and education. INFOTEP invited her to visit to share her experiences in the design and implementation of the "Teachers for the Future" program, which she currently supervises in Brazil.

The director of INFOTEP, Rafael Ovalles, stressed that the activity seeks to socialize successful experiences of other countries that can be applied in the Dominican Republic.

The presentation took place at the National Theater with the participation of 1,500 persons.


Emergency systems activated for Irma
All emergency systems are activated in the Dominican Republic as the country closely monitors Hurricane Irma as it moves west to the Caribbean. The efforts are coordinated by the Center for Emergency Operations (COE).

On Sunday, 3 September 2017 in the evening, with Hurricane Irma already Category 3, the National Metereological Office (Onamet) issued an early watch from Saona Island to Cabo Engaño on the east coast and then all the way north to Cabo Francés Viejo on the north coast. Gloria Ceballos, director of Onamet, said the effects are expected to be felt starting on Wednesday, 6 September, and mainly on the north side of the Central Mountain Range and on the north coast.

President Danilo Medina ordered a Monday, 4 September morning meeting at the Presidential Palace to coordinate preventive actions, as reported by Minister of Public Works Gonzalo Castillo.

The Ministry of Public Works announced it has readied heavy equipment to act to clear major roads in the case of the country suffering a hard hit.

The Dominican Republic is in the path of the major hurricane as it moves to the west. The country could be affected by major rainstorms and winds by Thursday, 7 September.


Follow the DR1 Weather Reports at
Read DR1 Forum community recommendations to prepare:

See the Onamet website at:

Drones to be used for 911 operations
The director of the Dominican Civil Aviation Institute (IDAC), Alejandro Herrera advanced that efforts are underway to use drones as a complement to the 911 Emergency System, as reported in Diario Libre. He said that several institutions have requested permission and these will be used for ambulatory medicine transport. He said IDAC technicians have already carried out 37 test flights with drones carrying pints of blood to far away points in the country. The tests were supervised by air navigation experts and medical staff and proved the use of drones is feasible and effective.

Daniel Pou urges change in border surveillance
Security expert Daniel Pou says the Dominican military have failed the country in regards to border security. Pou says profiteering has prevailed before national interests among the military stationed at the border.

Pou recommended the military no longer be left in charge of border security. He says they have done little to control illegal activities at the border. "I have always seen low returns for how immigration at the border is administered by the military. I have always believed that a police force with a good accountability in the border area should be created, and that the military act in the second line," he said.

Pou said that the country has more than 40 years counting on the military to stop illegal immigration. But when you go to the border you realize that "the military are conducting business with the national sovereignty."

He also criticized the recent announcement of posting of military at the public hospitals on the border, supposedly to discourage Haitian women from coming to give birth. Pou said the posting of military at the public hospitals is an ethical clash for the doctors who have a commitment to assist all patients regardless of migratory, economic, race or religious status. Pou said that if any action is taken to impede a woman from having access to giving birth at a hospital could be used by international media against the country.

Pou said that not even at private clinics dare to deny assistance to a woman who comes to give birth, regardless whether the person has medical insurance or not.

He argued that the presence of undocumented Haitians coming to give birth in Dominican hospitals is a consequence of the poor surveillance work of the armed forces in their task of preventing the arrival of undocumented immigrants from the neighboring nation.


Drug contraband in ceramic bananas uncovered
The National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) reported the confiscating of 589 green ceramic bananas that were being exported by the Port of Manzanillo in Montecristi. Intelligence operation led narcotics agents, accompanied by state prosecutors, to search a freight container with cargo destined for Europe. Upon breaking open a ceramic banana a fine white powder was found, suspect to be cocaine that was sent to the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (Inacif) for verification. The investigation continues.


Study looks into local access to financial products
The Dominican Republic ranked 20th of 26 countries in the 2017 Financial and Digital Inclusion Project (FDIP) Report: Building a Secure and Inclusive Global Financial Ecosystem. The report was released by the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

The FDIP evaluates commitment to and progress toward financial inclusion across a set of 26 geographically, politically, and economically diverse countries, including the Dominican Republic.

“Countries have increasingly recognized that advancing access to and usage of affordable, secure formal financial services can contribute to their development objectives,” write FDIP authors Robin Lewis, John Villasenor, and Darrell West. However, further opportunities for progress remain.

As part of its aim to provide policymakers and others with information that can help improve financial inclusion efforts, the FDIP team produces an annual report and scorecard that measure countries on four “dimensions” of financial inclusion: country commitment, mobile capacity, regulatory environment, and the adoption of traditional and digital financial services.

On the 2017 scorecard, the Dominican Republic received 64% of the total possible points across all four dimensions, meaning it ranked 20th out of 26 countries on overall score.

Other interesting findings pertaining to the country include:
The Dominican Republic’s overall score increased by two percentage points over last year, when it received 62% of the total possible points, and its rank remained the same (20th).

The Dominican Republic received its highest score (78%) in the mobile capacity category.

The creation of subagents and mobile banking facilities by institutions like Banco Popular Dominicano has expanded the number of people who have access to financial products.

Instituting a national financial inclusion strategy and developing a comprehensive electronic money regulatory framework would further the Dominican Republic’s financial inclusion efforts.

Countries included in Latin America were: Mexico (79%), Brazil (79%), Colombia (78%), Chile (74%), Peru (72%), El Salvador (69%), Dominican Republic (64%), and Haiti (60%).


Mother and son accused in Emely Peguero murder
After on Wednesday, 30 August 2017, the Attorney General named a high-level commission to investigate the case of five-month old pregnant 16-year old Emely Peguero, the case moved ahead. The teenager, who was five-months pregnant, had been missing since 23 August when she told her parents she had go to a medical appointment. She left the family home at 8:30am with her boyfriend.

After the high-level commission was created, on the early morning of Friday, 31 August, a body of a young woman was found. The body that was in a bag inside a suitcase in a farm in La Guama, Cayetano Germosen, Espaillat province that was eventually positively identified by relatives of the victim.

The preliminary autopsy conducted at the INACIF in Santiago on Friday, 1 September, revealed that the probable causes of death were a combination of internal bleeding of the uterus due to an induced abortion and blunt blow on the head with sinking of the skull and cerebral bleeding. The autopsy indicates the blow occurred while the girl was still alive.

Prosecutors are investigating to determine others who may have been involved in the case, including who was the physician who carried out the abortion and who transported the body.

The San Francisco de Macorís prosecutor ordered three months pre-trial custody for 20-year old Marlon Martínez, lead suspect for the murder of his girlfriend. He had confessed to the murder and said he deposited the body at the Hatillo garbage dump. The media reported that Marlon Martinez was an honors student to the point he was chosen to represent his Colegio Continental in San Francisco de Macoris during a student debate held at the University of Harvard in Boston.

His mother, Marlin Martínez, was ordered to Rafey-Mujeres jail in Santiago for three-month pre-trial custody. She was also fired from her job as deputy director of the Passports Office in Salcedo, and the PRD party, removed her from their affiliation. The PRD was a major ally of the ruling PLD into the 2016 presidential election. Initially, the family of Peguero had expressed concern that the political influence of the mother would impede the case to advance through the judicial system.

The Peguero case was one of three recent cases of assaults of young women that have occurred under a new focus on such crimes by the authorities over the weekend. Looking for the body of Peguero, the authorities found on Thursday the body of 18-year old Dioskairy Gómez, in the La Ceniza de Sierra Prieta area of Fantino, Sánchez Ramírez province. She had gone missing on her way to the university. An autopsy was ordered.

A third body of another young woman, 18-year old Rosalinda Yan Pérez was found buried inside a house under construction in Nigua. Her former boyfriend, 30-year old Julio César García, is the lead suspect. He is under arrest together with suspect accompalice 38-year old Francisco Javier Peña. Relatives of Yan Pérez said her boyfriend murdered her because she refused to continue the relationship.


After 13 years in court, Canoa and Morfe get two years in jail
The Court of Appeals in Puerto Plata sentenced Gabriel Antonio Mora (Canoa) and Eddy Morfe to two years in prison for a RD$185 million municipal diversion of funds in the Cabarete Municipal District after 13 years of a seemingly unending legal battle. The appellate court also fined Canoa for a sum in excess of RD$800,000 and Eddy Morfe to RD$900,000.

The case was heard because of the efforts of foreign resident Michel Gay-Crocier who spearheaded the fight to put a stop to the abuses made by the municipal officer with strong ties in the central government.

Judges Juan Suardí García (president), Xiomara Tineo Reyes, Francisco Antonio Sánchez, Miguelina de Jesús Beard and Aloide de Jesús Matías Cueto issued the ruling on 1 September 2017.

As reported in Cabarete Noticias, Eddy Morfe attended the reading unlike Canoa who did not appear in the reading of the sentence.

The Puerto Plata Appeals Court with the new ruling revoked the sentence of September 1, 2014, where both had been relieved of having to reimburse the RD$185 million pesos in the district council of Cabarete. The public ministry was represented by the Office of the Special Prosecutor for the Persecution of Administrative Corruption (PEPCA).

Quiterio Cedeño, president of Cicom news agency, has been following the case all these years and highlights how it took 13 years, two audits, even the involvement of former Attorney General Francisco Domínguez Brito, major damages to the Cabarete Lagoon, for the ruling to be heard. Cedeño says the ruling is ridiculous compared to the amount of taxpayer money that was stolen. “But it is an important achievement when having a justice where there are rarely convictions or rulings against those who steal public money. In this battle it is noteworthy the absence of organizations, business people, political parties and all those who are concerned about corruption.”


Volleyball to get elite training center at Olympic Center
Cristóbal Marte, the man responsible for the women’s volleyball system in the Dominican Republic that has produced top globally ranked teams, announced the project to build an elite training center for volleyball at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center is far advanced.

Marte and head coach Marcos Kwiek shared details of the project with Diario Libre. They announced the Ministry of Sports has agreed to donate the land where the sports project he presides would develop the elite training center. He said the center would be located behind the military station on the side of the Av. Máximo Gómez.

It would have six volleyball courts, a training room, meeting rooms, video rooms, a weightlifting room, rehab room, stock area, dorm, mess hall. He said he has asked for a 40-year span for the land in order to make the investment.


Guloya Pocket Theater Festival starts 7 September
Hurricane Irma allowing, the 7th Guloya Iberoamerican Pocket Theater Festival opens Thursday, 7 September in Santo Domingo. Three plays from Thursday to Sunday will be performed on weekends from 7 to 24 September 2017.

The first play on the program is “Banco de Parque” starring Maria Castillo and Manuel Chapuseaux from 7-10 September at the Teatro Mandrágora.

The second weekend (14-17 September) it will be Cyrano de Bergerac, petit format, starring Lorena Oliva, directed by Manuel Chapuseaux at the Teatro Alternativo.

On the third weekend (21-24 September), Viena Gonzalez and Claudio Rivera and Orestes Amador star in Frankenstein at the Teatro Guloya.

The showings will be Thursday through Saturday at 8:30pm and at 6:30pm on Sundays. Tickets are RD$500 general admission, and students with ID RD$400. For more information, call 809 685-4856.


Luguelin Santos wins gold in Diamond League’s 400m
After winning gold with his brother in the 4 x 400 relay in the University Games in August 2017 in Taiwan, Luguelin Santos raced for the gold in the Diamond League in his 400m event. He clocked in at 45.67, ahead of Rabah Yousif (46.10) and Martyn Rooney (46.29) of Great Britain.

23-year old Santos became famous for winning a silver medal in the 400 meters in the London 2012 Olympics.