DR1 Daily News next update on Monday
Digital Republic launched by President Medina
Government says it has given 950 interviews, press says more timely communication is needed
Environment ministers of Haiti and DR meet in Port-au-Prince
New parks for Santiago City
Reinforcing controls at civil registry centers
JCE system down on 24 October 2017
Calls for new border resident card
Puerto Plata residents complain about Lifestyle Resort
Don Alvaro goes to court for his constitutional rights
Acento: It pays to be in government
Adozona: 2016 was a record year for exports
Urban contemporary dance at Palacio de Bellas Artes
Daddy Yankee booked for Olympic Stadium

DR1 Daily News next update on Monday
The next DR1 Daily News update will be published on Monday, 30 October 2017. The Monday issue will compile headline news for the previous Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Breaking news can be followed 24/7 in the Forums. See the DR1 Forum at http://www.dr1.com

Digital Republic launched by President Medina
On Wednesday 25 October 2017, President Danilo Medina launched the Digital Republic program at the Presidential Palace. Digital Republic is a combination of activities planned to reduce the digital gap. It is linked to the National Development Strategy. The government says a priority of the program is foster government transparency.

The program has four strategic aims: Education and Technology, Broadband for Everyone, Productive Digital Republic and Digital and Transparent Government.

The plan proposes to cut 20% off the prices of broadband internet. It also offers 27 new services to the general public. Among these is being able to download a high school certificate from the Ministry of Education, or pay traffic fines online, or denounce anonymously illicit drug sales points.


Government says it has given 950 interviews, press says more timely communication is needed
The government has announced that from 2 January to 20 October 2017, government officials have taken part in 950 interviews, which is an average of four per working day. The announcement was made as a response to the statement issued by the Dominican Daily Press Society (SDD) that called for more direct communication from the government.

The government responded with an analysis of interviews provided by the officers developed by the Office of Information, Analysis and Strategic Programming. The analysis stated that 141 printed press interviews had been carried out as well as 410 TV and radio interviews.

Nevertheless, Administrative Minister of the Presidency, José Ramón Peralta, said that they had read the document and felt it would assist in strengthening relations with the press and strengthen democracy.

The SDD says that the government ministers nor the President have been available for questions and answers by the press and rely on one-way communication, primarily through press releases sent out by the government departments.

Responding to the government reply of ministers having been available for 950 interviews, the president of the Dominican Daily Press Society (SDD), Persio Maldonado said he trusts the government will adopt measures so that there are more answers and greater access to the information. He highlighted the matter is not the number of official interviews, but rather the timely answers to the issues addressed by the press.


Environment ministers of Haiti and DR meet in Port-au-Prince
Minister of Environment Francisco Domínguez Brito signed collaborative agreements with Haitian environment authorities on 24 October 2017, in Port-au-Prince. Domínguez met in the Haitian capital with Pierre Simon Georges, in charge of environmental affairs in Haiti. As reported in a Ministry of Environment press release, both parties agreed to joint actions for bilateral and cross-border strengthening in environmental matters. The meeting will be followed up by technical missions.

Domínguez highlights in the press release the importance of both countries doing an in-depth study of the water needs of the island, especially focusing on the Macasías and Artibonito rivers that are born in the Dominican Republic but make up the main water supply for Haiti.

During the visit to Haiti, Domínguez also met with Guito Edouard of the Haiti Water and Sanitation Agency (Dinepa) and French ambassador in Haiti, Elisabeth Beton. Domínguez was accompanied by Dominican ambassador in Haiti Alberto Despradel, consul Jesus de la Rosa, environmentalists Nelson Bautista, Amadeo Escarraman, by the president of the Dominican Federation of Municipal Districts (Fedodim), also Tony Henríquez of the National Health Plan (Senasa).


New parks for Santiago City
The government has announced the construction of the Jardín Botánico “Profesor Eugenio de Jesús Marcano” and the Central Park to provide Santiago with over a million square meters of green public space. The recreational and educational areas have already been planted with thousands of trees of native species, including guayacán, caracolí, roble, campeche, candelón, arraiján, palms, cigua, almácigo, mara, guázara, olive, cabirma and others under threat of extinction.

The Central Park is going up on the old grounds of the Cibao Airport. There will be areas for children’s games, picnics, conference rooms, sports fields and bike paths.

The Botanical Gardens is being built in the north part of the city and will have three paths, riverside areas, a museum, bike paths, open spaces for families, plant collections and thematic gardens. Nelson Bautista said that the Botanical Gardens is 80% complete, and should be ready for a formal opening in early 2018. He said already the reserve receives hundreds of visitors every day. He said every week thousands of volunteers come to plant trees and work is ongoing on the roads leading to the Santiago Botanical Gardens.

Luis Polanco, executive director of the Cibao Ecological Society (SOECI), said that the two parks are the most important projects for the north region. He said the green spaces are essential for environmental sustainability of Santiago. The largest green space we have right now is no more than 5,000 square meters, he highlighted.


Reinforcing controls at civil registry centers
The Central Electoral Board ordered reinforcing controls at all birth declaration offices that operate at public hospitals. Actions were ordered to strengthen security for the PARC System (Program for Access to the Civil Registry) and ID List (Maestro de Cedulados) to avoid forgeries and other irregularities.

Earlier this year, former judge Juan Miguel Castillo Pantaleón had disclosed irregularities at several offices.

El Nacional had access to an internal communication dated 18 October 2017, in which the Secretary General of the JCE, Hilario Espiñeira, admitted that there have been many cases in which women who are not pregnant lend their IDs or photocopies of these documents to others who are pregnant so these expecting mothers can give birth and register their children.

As reported in El Nacional, the board of the JCE accepted the recommendations made by the inspectors department of the JCE after investigating the claims of mafias that were illicitly using Dominican ID documents.


JCE system down on 24 October 2017
Dozens of people who visited the Central Electoral Board (JCE) officers on Tuesday, 24 October 2017, had to be turned away, due to a system-wide electronic failure at the Central Electoral Board Offices on Tuesday, 24 October 2017. As reported in Listín Diario, security team closed the doors to the JCE so that the press could not take photographs of the long lines as people queued up for the services.

Many customers complained that they had been mistreated by JCE security officers, who abruptly shut the doors and allegedly aggressive prevented anyone from taking photographs of the long lines.

Many complained that the behavior of the JCE was disrespectful and abusive. Some people tried their luck at other JCE offices, but to no avail, as the system failure affected JCE offices across the whole country.


Calls for new border resident card
Florinda Rojas, director of the National Institute of Migration of the Dominican Republic, is encouraging the Migration Agency (DGM) to create a border resident card that would facilitate the movement of people who depend on bi-national trade on the border with Haiti.

"There are many people who depend on border trade," said Rojas. "There is also the informal trade, which is the one that generates a larger economic movement, particularly at the border crossing of Dajabón, where the movement of traders of both countries is almost continuous,” she said, promoting the creation of the special permit.

Rojas pointed out that border markets are a lifeline for more than 300,000 people, according to the organizations of traders and carriers of the provinces bordering Haiti.

She explained that this card would avoid the need for these people to have a passport, a visa or have to pay taxes when leaving or entering any of the territories. Rojas said an investigation is already underway to quantify the number of people that would benefit.

As reported in Haiti Libre online news portal, Rojas expressed his satisfaction with the relations with the new government of Haiti, describing these as “very good.”


Puerto Plata residents complain about Lifestyle Resort
The Neighborhood Group from Playa Cofresi, in Puerto Plata has complained that the Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club (LHVC) is taking over and privatizing the beach and the company has destroyed and built on green areas in complicity with the municipal and national authorities linked to Tourism and the Environment.

Chris Coates and Amaury Germán McKinney, president and lawyer of the association, respectively, say that the actions of LHVC are illegal and in addition the hotel chain is presenting areas of the beach as private and in addition allowing no one on the beach unless a hotel guest.

The residents complained that the hotel is also dumping waste into the ocean at night, destroying the mangroves to make a cement floor and convert the beach into a private area for their guests.

The neighborhood group complained that the hotel has closed the public access way and built a wall over five feet tall all along the coast.

Coates and McKinney said that no one has addressed their complaints - not the municipal authorities or the ministries of Environment or Tourism, even though the hotel constructions violate the prohibition to build structures within 60 meters of the water’s edge.


Don Alvaro goes to court for his constitutional rights
On Wednesday 25 October 2017, the Superior Administrative Court (TSA) heard the request from the Z101 broadcaster Álvaro Arvelo, asking them to annul the resolution from the National Commission of Public Spectacles and Radio (CNEPR) that suspended him for 20 days, following disparaging comments he made about Dominican Republic founding father Juan Pablo Duarte on the program El Gobierno de la Mañana.

His lawyers say that Don Alvaro’s constitutional rights have been violated, and call for the broadcaster to be allowed to exercise his right as a journalist. The lawyers say the resolution violates Article 69 and 6 of the 2015 Constitution.

In addition, other members of the program explained that what Arvelo shared on the program were not his exclusive thoughts, but those of other historians, which the Commission should have investigated before imposing the ban.


Acento: It pays to be in government
Acento is carrying a report on the multimillionaires in the Medina cabinet. The report reveals that the stated wealth of the ministers and President Danilo Medina and Vice President Margarita Cedeno adds up to around RD$3 billion. The report only takes into account the written statement of wealth, a legal requirement.

As of 2016, government ministers are required by Decree 92-16 issued by President Danilo Medina himself to present their Tax Agency (DGII) tax payments for the declared amounts. The Newsletter 5 of the Social Laboratorio Father José Antonio Esquivel listed most of the ministers as not complying with the requirement of filing their DGII tax certificate of payment of taxes for the declared worth.

President Danilo Medina
2012: RD$21,744,279
2016: RD$23,005,429
Difference: RD$1,261,149

Vice President Margarita Cedeño
2012: RD$21,122,605.200
2016: RD$27,026,722.00
Difference: RD$5,904,116

Administrative Minister of the Presidency José Ramón Peralta
In 2012 declared RD$145,356,357.00
By 2016, declared RD$269,155,707.80, an increase of RD$123,799,350.80

Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo
2012: RD$19,021,639
2016: RD$27,0555,775
Difference: RD$8,034,136

Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo
2012: RD$145,379,852
2016: RD$504,656 443
Difference: RD$359.2 million

Foreign Relations Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado
2011: RD$391,545,108
2016: RD$694,605,700,
Difference: RD$303,060,592

Agriculture Minister Angel Estevez
2016: RD$171,309,520
Difference: RD$33,379,448.

Interior and Police Minister Carlos Amarante Baret
2012: RD$16,000,000
2016: RD$25,552,798
Difference: RD$9,552,798

Public Health Minister Altagracia Guzman Marcelino
2012: RD$16,083,000
2016: RD$25,440,570
Difference: RD$9,357,570.33

Environment Minister Francisco Dominguez Brito
2012: RD$11,163,026
2016: RD$19,654,886
Difference: RD$8,491,860

Superior Education, Science & Technology Minister Alejandrina Germán
2012: RD$7,550,000
2016: RD$13,781,205
Difference: RD$6,231,205.

Youth Minister Robiamny Balcacer
2012: RD$7,806,250
2016: RD$13,955,981
Difference: RD$6,149,731

Labor Minister Jose Ramon Fadul
2012: RD$19,305,593.00
2016: RD$25,382,838.50

Education Minister Andres Navarro
2012: RD$20,140,729
2016: RD$27,331,918
Difference RD$7,191,189.00

Energy and Mines Minister Antonio Isa Conde
2012: RD$71,761,959
2016: RD$72,645,112
Difference: RD$883,152.6

Hacienda Minister Donald Guerrero
2016: RD$768,321,216

Culture Minister Pedro Verges
2016: RD$44,837,772

Defense Minister Ruben Paulino Sem
2016: RD$35,545,163

Sports Minister Danilo Diaz

Economy and Planning Miniser Isidoro Santana
2016: RD$28,502,955

Women Minister Janet Camilo
2016: RD$15,689,256.50

Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Castillo
2012: RD$39,407,064
2016: RD$35,849,234.30
Difference: -RD$3,557,829

Industry & Commerce Minister Nelson Toca Simo
2016: RD$31,029,725


Adozona: 2016 was a record year for exports
The Dominican Association of Export Free Zones (Adozona) highlighted that the trade free zones sector exports in 2016 made up 58% of all Dominican exports. 2016 was a record year for Dominican free zone exports that reached RD$5.5 billion.

The president of Adozona, Federico Domínguez Aristy, shared the results during the annual lunch of the organization. Attending was Administrative Minister of the Presidency José Ramón Peralta, representing President Danilo Medina.

Domínguez said Dominican free zone exports were shipped to 131 countries. Some 163,146 are employed at the industrial parks, while an estimated 200,000 additional indirect jobs are created as a result of demand by the free zone industries.

“Our sector is responsible for the enviable global position of the Dominican Republic as the leading exporter of cigars in the world,” said Domínguez. He highlighted the Dominican Republic is also the leading exporter of cotton apparel. He said that for the United States we are the second largest provider of electrical switches and wool coats, and the fourth in surgical instrument exports.

"It should be noted that this strong performance is due in large part to the fact that the Dominican Republic has maintained political and economic stability in recent years, the result of more than 50 years of uninterrupted social peace," Domínguez added.

Gerardo Gutiérrez, director of the Mexican Federal Authority for the Development of Special Economic Zones, was also a featured speaker at the event. Gutierrez highlighted the importance of the free zones to reduce the economic gap between the north and south of Mexico and increase the competitiveness of the nation.

“The Dominican Republic Free Zone Law was one of the international references we used for the Mexican model that offers income tax, trade, social security exemptions. Also training and other local incentives,” said the keynote speaker.

A recent McKinsey study commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank reveals that the five sectors able to generate the most jobs, aside from tourism, are footwear, medical instruments, pharmaceuticals, electronic and electric products and call centers operating under free zone tax free models.


Urban contemporary dance at Palacio de Bellas Artes
Royalty Dance Company presents 70 contemporary dancers on stage at the Palacio de Bellas Artes on Saturday, 28 October 2017 at 8:30pm. “The Royalty Experience” is a production by Erick Guzman.

The Royalty Dance Company recently won an award at The World of Dance Panama 2017 championship. Choreographer and director Erick Guzman was the choreographer for Perfectus Quorum that won the best musical of the year in the 2016 Soberano Awards. He also participated as choreographer for the Soberano Awards 2017 and the HEAT Awards of HTV.


Daddy Yankee booked for Olympic Stadium
Puerto Rican singer Daddy Yankee (King of Reggaeton) is booked for a Saturday, 16 December 2017 performance at Santo Domingo’s Felix Sánchez Olympic Stadium. Daddy Yankee is in a peak moment of his fame after “Despacito,” where he is an invited singer with Luis Fonsi, has climbed to the top of the music world.

Previously, Daddy Yankee had set the pace for reggaeton with his single, Gasolina.