DR1 fights off Korean and Chinese spammers
President Medina continues to visit border region
Efforts to legalize around 300,000 Dominicans
Customs requests Haiti revoke defacto ban on 23 Dominican exports
Large increase in remittances
Ministry of Environment acts to stop contamination by detergent chemical
Janet Blandino Castillo is new consul for US west coast
Oscar de la Renta Expat Award
Gallup poll shows DR reject new constitutional amendment
PRM slow on issuing bulletins, Paliza and Mejia in the lead
Priest gives his name, but denies he has fathered children
Large drug haul in Jarabacoa
Ex La Romana mayor jailed
Father of jailed woman murdered
Honors student murdered by police private
Puerto Plata still under alert

DR1 fights off Korean and Chinese spammers
The technical explanation for the slow site and downtime affecting DR1 this past week:
For the past few days you may have noticed DR1 a little slow or inaccessible at times. DR1 and its host has been under a sustained attack, by thousands of automated bots originating from Korean and Chinese spammers. The attack did not specifically target DR1, but a number or sites and hosts in the same IP address block.

We have been working with our hosts and Cloudflare (server security) to get the attack under control and kill off and block the automated bots. Thanks for your patience while we work on getting things back to normal.

President Medina continues to visit border region
On Sunday, 18 March 2018, President Danilo Medina returned to the border and visited Restauración, where together with his task force, he met with local representatives. The residents said that they needed electricity provided to 15 communities, the completion of a hospital and a truck for the fire brigade. They also asked for an ambulance, the paving of nine kilometers of roads and a bus for the community of La Rosa to be used by 85 students.

The task force is made up by officials of the Dominican Agrarian Institute, the ministries of Agriculture, Public Health, Sport, Education and the Agriculture Bank.


Efforts to legalize around 300,000 Dominicans
An estimated 300,000 Dominicans do not have legal identities, a situation that affects entire families. A recent effort to correct the situation is bringing together ten universities and several government institutions to take actions to help these socially excluded persons.

Signing the agreement are the Attorney General Office, the Supreme Court of Justice, the Specials Programs of the Presidency, the Central Electoral Board, the Federation of Dominican Municipalities, among others.

In the Dominican Republic, parents have 30 days to declare a child. When this doesn’t happen in time, a lengthy and sometimes costly procedure must be undertaken.

The participating universities are: Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD), Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), Universidad Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU), Universidad APEC (UNAPEC), Universidad del Caribe (UNICARIBE), Universidad Federico Henríquez y Carvajal (UFHEC), Universidad Tecnológica de Santiago (UTESA), Universidad Central del Este (UCE), Universidad Abierta para Adultos (UAPA), and Universidad de la Tercera Edad (UTE).


Customs requests Haiti revoke defacto ban on 23 Dominican exports
Customs Agency director Enrique Ramírez has requested that the Haitian authorities lift the ban on 23 Dominican foods and industrial products. He said the request has met with some receptivity among officials of the Haitian Customs Agency and the Ministry of Economy and Finances of Haiti. The Haitian authorities have periodically restricted the entry of these 23 products over the past two years. Ramirez made the request on Thursday, 15 March 2018, during a meeting with Haitian officers at the Haiti National Bank convention center in Port au Prince.

"We proposed to address the issue. Dominican exporters are interested in the normalization of trade, but Haiti is also expressed the need standardize compliance procedures with Haitian importers. The purpose of this meeting is to normalize the conditions so that both customs agencies can collect what corresponds to them," said the Dominican customs director.

Jorell Janvier, speaking on behalf of the Haitian customs agency, insisted that the Haitian government has not imposed a ban, per se, but rather has preferred that these imports enter by seaports where customs controls are more efficient.


Large increase in remittances
In January 2018, family members in the Dominican Republic received a total of US$522.4 million in remittances, an increase of 18.5% over January in the previous year. According to data from the Central Bank, this is the largest percentage increase from January one year to the next for the past eight years.

The majority of the remittances, 74.31% of the total, came from the United States. Experts believe that the tightening of the immigration policy and the threat of potential deportations have led expat Dominicans to increase in the amount of money flowing into the country from the US. Expats in Spain sent back 12.81% of remittances.

In January the average per transaction was US$228, but some countries had a higher average such as Switzerland with US$403, Spain with an average of US$383, France with US$360, Germany with US$309 and Italy with US$291.


Ministry of Environment acts to stop contamination by detergent chemical
Ministry of Environment and Dominican Port Authority reported a leakage of Tergitol, a chemical used to manufacture detergent, poisoned the waters of the Haina River causing the death of fishes and other fauna in the area. The Port Authority said the damage happened on Sunday evening and emergency protocols were implemented to control the leakage. The Ministry of Environment and the Port Authority are preparing a report on the situation.

Foam in the waters ticked off the neighbors to the problem. The damage was attributed to a break in a pipe. A cistern truck suctioned off around 5,000 gallons with affected waters in Playa Gringo, said the Ministry of Environment in a note. The Ministry attributed the contamination to the company, Brenntag Caribe that warehouses chemicals. Residents in the area told El Dia this is not the first time toxic materials leak into the river waters.

Brenntag describes itself as a global market leader in chemical distribution. The company is headquartered in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany, and operates a global network with more than 480 locations in more than 70 countries.
Brenntag connects chemical manufacturers and chemical users. The company supports its customers and suppliers with tailor-made distribution solutions for industrial and specialty chemicals.


Janet Blandino Castillo is new consul for US west coast
Janet Blandino Castillo replaces Celeste Jimenez, the long time Dominican consul for the west coast, who passed away in July 2017. Blandino Castillo will be based in Los Angeles.

The west coast consulate is responsible for consular services required by the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, Alaska and Hawaii.

Blandino was appointed on 19 February 2018. She holds degrees in both law and business. In the past, she has served as vice consul at the Dominican consulate in Miami, and deputy director at the Passports Office in Santo Domingo.


Oscar de la Renta Expat Award
The Ministry of Foreign Relations is promoting abroad the Oscar de la Renta Award for Dominican expats. Nominations for the award are being received until 21 May 2018. The International Dominican Migrant Award Mr. Oscar de la Renta was created to recognize the positive contributions of Dominicans living and working abroad.

Nominations can be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Relations and Dominican missions abroad. The award nominations are open to first and second generation Dominicans.

The awards have the support of the Oscar de la Renta company and family. The award was created by the Dominican government in Decree 242-17.


Gallup poll shows DR reject new constitutional amendment
Dominicans eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election told Gallup-Hoy pollsters they do not share the enthusiasm of Medina administration officials for a possible reelection of President Danilo Medina. To the question if the polled person was in agreement with President Danilo Medina amending the constitution for a second time, the response was overwhelmingly against this. 22.6% said they were totally in disagreement, 44.3% in disagreement, 1% neither in agreement or disagreement, 23.1% in agreement, 6.6% in total agreement, and 2.5% no comment.

President Medina is banned by the 2015 Constitution from running for President in 2020. This is the same constitution that was amended so he could run for reelection in 2016.

Answering to the question of who the polled would like to be the next President of the Republic, Luis Abinader of the leading opposition party received 18.8% of preferences, President Danilo Medina and former President Leonel Fernandez of the ruling PLD tied with 14.8%, Vice President Margarita Cedeño received 7.2% and Guillermo Moreno of Alianza País, a minority party, received 6.6%.

Answering to the question of who should be the PLD presidential candidate, 19.7% said Danilo Medina and 18.7% former President Leonel Fernandez, 4.4% Vice President Margarita Cedeño, while most of those who were polled uncertain who would be the candidate.


PRM slow on issuing bulletins, Paliza and Mejia in the lead
The president of the National Organization Committee of the Dominican Revolutionary Modern Party (PRM), Tony Raful, said that the second bulletin with the results of the internal elections held on Sunday, 18 March 2018, issued on the afternoon of Monday 19 March with 17% of the votes had been counted shows that Puerto Plata senator Jose Ignacio Paliza had 80.69% of the vote for president of the party, followed by 01.73% for Geanilda Vasquez and 8.57% for Jesus Feris Iglesias.

Carolina Mejia, former vice presidential candidate for the PRM in the 2016 election, lead in votes for the secretary general position. With 15.52% of these votes counted, she had 69.57% of these, followed by 22.82% by Jesus Vasquez, 4.68% to Leonardo Faña.

Despite the late arrival of the electoral materials, Raful said that the elections had been success, and that the vote in those municipalities that did not receive electoral materials on time would not affect the national candidates.

A report in Diario Libre said that the outcome is evidence of the strong leadership of former PRM presidential candidate Luis Abinader and former President Hipólito Mejia, Carolina Mejía’s father.


Priest gives his name, but denies he has fathered children
Father Rogelio Cruz has admitted to declaring more than a dozen children as his, but he denies they are his biological children as his own Salesiana Order, part of the Catholic Church, is now stating.

However, Father Rogelio said there are other priests and even bishops who have sons and daughters, and he has evidence of this he could present.

Being interviewed on the radio program Cuentas Claras, Cruz said he would happily undertake any DNA test to prove he has not fathered any children.

He explained that he had declared children in Nagua and Cristo Rey (Santo Domingo) where he worked as priest when their parents were unknown..

He accused the church of lying to try and discredit him to pressure him to leave the country and desist of his campaign against mining operations.


Large drug haul in Jarabacoa
The National Drug Control Agency (DNCD), with the help of the Public Prosecution Service, has dismantled a drug trafficking network in Jarabacoa, La Vega province, which was supplying the local market.

During the raid, more than 1,000 portions of different drugs were confiscated with the total weight exceeding one and a half kilos, and three men were arrested. There were 1,112 packages of drugs; 994 were a white powder, thought to be cocaine, and the rest were presumed to be marijuana.

Also confiscated were cell phones, a jeep, two motorcycles, a pistol, bullets, a bullet proof vest, a weighing scale and cash.

The DNCD are now searching for other members of the network.

In the last day or so, around the country the DNCD reports to have carried out 641 raids, confiscated more than 9,000 portions of different drugs and arrested 271 people.


Ex La Romana mayor jailed
The former mayor of La Romana, Juan Antonio (Tony) Adames has been sentenced to two years in jail and fined RD$4 million for the violation of Law 3143 regarding nonpayment for work carried out by citizen Luis Alberto Castillo Cedano.

The sentence was imposed by Judge Esmirna Ortega, in La Romana, where the prosecutors were Magdalena Polanco and Darío Morla, who alleged that Tony Adames, during his time as mayor, contracted the services of Luis Alberto Castillo Cedano to do four sculptures of sports stars for the Juan Pablo Duarte Park. However, even though the work was completed on time, the artist was never paid.

Adames was placed under house arrest in December 2015 having been suspended as mayor when accused of corruption.


Father of jailed woman murdered
The father of Diana Alejandrina Batista Céspedes (Elaine) has been killed by a shot to the head. Batista Cespedes, was extradited from Spain and sentenced to 30 years in jail for ordering an act of arson to burn down a home where four people died in the municipality of Tamayo, in Bahoruco province.

Saulo Batista (Palonga) was found dead in agricultural land in an area known as Uvillita, of the municipality of Vicente Noble, Barahona province,

The authorities still not known why Batista Cespedes was killed and his body has been taken to the Regional Center for Forensic Science (Inacif) in Azua for an autopsy.

Batista Céspedes was convicted along with Ángel Marcos González Andújar, who burned down the home in the community of Santana in January 2012, resulting in the deaths of 82 year old, Andrés Brito Casilla, his wife of the same age, Altagracia Serrano Alcántara, his granddaughter Romency Brito Nova, 18 and his great granddaughter Rossibel Brito Nova, aged 5.


Honors student murdered by police private
A police private was the person who killed student Albert Ramírez Alcántara one day before his graduation at the Universidad del Caribe (Unicaribe). Nieves Luis Sierra Gómez, who fled the scene of the crime with the victim’s cellphone, used his service weapon to kill Alcantara.

Police director, Ney Aldrin Bautista, announced at a press conference that they had handed over to prosecutors, irrefutable evidence that Gomez was responsible for the crime and has since been dismissed from the force and handed over to the legal authorities.

Ramírez, aged 28, was attacked and murdered while walking to his house La Victoria, Santo Domingo North. He was due to graduate the following day with honors in Education with a mention in Mathematics and Physics. The theft of his cellphone was the motive for the crime.


Puerto Plata still under alert
The National Meteorological Office (ONAMET) has announced that the warm weather will continue as the wind is coming from the east southeast, due to a system of high pressure. However, a weather front located to the north east of the country over the Atlantic Ocean will bring thunderstorms.

In the bulletin issued on Monday, 19 March 2018, Onamet maintains its alert for Puerto Plata province, due the ground being already saturated. The heavy rains have led to flooding in the town. Overflowing rivers have brought mudslides.

Onamet urges the population of the area to be aware of the continuing risks as the rains will primarily affect the north, northeast and southeast and part of the Central Mountain area and the Septentrional mountain range.