Next DR1 Daily News Update: Monday, 9 December 2019
Government begins paying Christmas wages on 5 December
Colombia and DR to promote joint business and investment
Government garners sufficient votes to pass the complementary budget
Senate approves borrowing US$525 million more
US$97 million loan for Greater Santo Domingo aqueducts
CDEEE and Fonper take over Punta Catalina
PRM AND PRSC propose measures to improve automated voting
Finjus: Extinction of Domain Bill is urgent
Alicia Ortega interviews Colombia Police commander on the arrest of Cesar el Abusador
Dominicans spend RD$6 billion for Good Friday purchases
Pepín Corripio honored by Spanish daily
David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez to the Red Sox’s Hall of Fame
MLB players to pick up plastic wastes at city beach to set an example
What it costs to hire a Dominican orchestra
Merengue Dancing at the Barceló Santo Domingo

Next DR1 Daily News Update: Monday, 9 December 2019
The next DR1 Daily News update will be published on Monday, 9 December 2019. The Monday issue will compile headline news for the previous Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Breaking news can be followed 24/7 in the DR1 Forums. See DR1 Forum at

Government begins paying Christmas wages on 5 December
The National Treasury (Ministry of Hacienda) announced the first payments for the 2019 “Christmas salary” will be disbursed on Thursday, 5 December. The government will be making RD$19.9 billion in payments for the “13th salary” this month. The total does not include the amounts allocated to the decentralized government entities and the municipal entities.

By law, every employee in the Dominican Republic receives, on or before 20 December, a so-called “Christmas salary” equal to one-twelfth (1/12) of the total regular salary earned during the year.

National Treasurer Alberto Perdomo Piña reported that the first in government to receive the 13th salary will be retired civilians and military, then to follow with those in the military and police. Next are the ministries with the largest number of employees, including the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Public Health.

Colombia and DR to promote joint business and investment
The Ministry of Foreign Relations announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of a Joint Colombia and Dominican Republic Council for Trade, Investment and Productive Linkages. Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado signed the agreement with Colombia’s Trade, Industry and Tourism Minister Jose Manuel Restrepo.

The new bi-national entity seeks to identify business and investment opportunities between Colombia and the Dominican Republic. Upon making the announcement, Vargas said the idea is to attract investment in strategic sectors, advise business sectors to find and take advantage of niche markets and to strengthen the tourism sector.

Government garners sufficient votes to pass the supplementary budget
The Chamber of Deputies signed into law the draft amendment to this year's budget submitted by the Executive Branch. In presenting the supplementary budget, the Executive Branch had argued that revenues are down RD$15 billion and expenses have increased by nearly RD$10 billion. The additional budget complements the RD$121.81 billion of the original National Budget.

The Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) and its allies approved the bill that had already passed in the Senate.

The bill did not receive the support of the legislators of The People's Force (La Fuerza del Pueblo –PTD that backs former President Leonel Fernández). These left the session. Legislators for the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), remained in the hall, but voted against the bill.

The vote of the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) and allied deputies was enough for the bill to pass the two readings during the Wednesday, 4 December 2019 session. The bill was approved with the vote of 79 PLD deputies, 13 of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), 1 of the Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC), and four of the Liberal Reformist Party (PLR) and Popular Christian Party (PPC).

Previously, PRM congressman Francisco Paulino had submitted a dissident report, which was rejected.

The president of the finance committee of the lower house, Ramon Cabrera (PLD), presented a favorable report that was accepted by the majority.

Senate approves borrowing US$525 million more
The Senate passed two bills to increase financing for the electricity sector. One is with the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) submitted by the Executive Branch for US$400 million and another with the OPEC Fund for International Development (IFID) for US$75 million. A third loan passed by the Senate is for US$50 million with the European Investment Bank to finance public works to mitigate disasters. The fourth financing for EUR$88 million is to expand the capacity of the Santo Domingo Metro. The funding is with the France Development Agency (AFD).

US$97 million loan for Greater Santo Domingo aqueducts
The Latin American Development Bank (CAF) approved a US$97 million loan to the Dominican Republic to partially finance the expansion of the Greater Santo Domingo aqueduct system. The resources will partially fund the Santo Domingo East Aqueduct Expansion Project and is also aimed at expanding and optimizing the Santo Domingo North aqueduct system.

CAF indicated that this project will contribute to improving the quality of drinking water service and living conditions for approximately 850,000 inhabitants in the urban area of the municipalities of Santo Domingo Norte and Santo Domingo Este.

The loan was approved during a board meeting held by the multilateral in Panama City.

During the last five years (2014-2018), CAF approvals for the Dominican Republic reached US$296 million. Of these amounts, 59% corresponds to sovereign risk. At the end of 2018, CAF's portfolio in the Dominican Republic reached was US$207 million.

CAF began in 1970 as the Andean Development Corporation with a focus on investing in Andean countries. It later expanded to the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean and changed its name to the Latin American Development Bank. It consists of 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries, Spain and Portugal, and 13 private banks. The Dominican Republic joined in 2004 and became a full shareholder in 2018. In 50 years CAF has approved US$175 billion in development projects, according to data from the institution.

CDEEE and Fonper take over Punta Catalina
CDEEE and Fonper announced they have taken over the ownership of Punta Catalina Thermoelectric Central. The three government-owned power distribution companies (EdeNorte, EdeSur and EdeEste) formalized the transfer of their rights to the Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE) and the Capital Fund of Reformed State Enterprises (Fonper). A press release explains the move is to facilitate the constitution of the Central Termoeléctrica Punta Catalina corporation, of which CDEEE will own 99.2% and Fonper 0.8%.

The capital contribution that makes the CDEEE the majority shareholder of the new company is US$617.0 million, while Fonper will contribute US$5 million.

According to data provided by the Ministry of Hacienda (Treasury), the total investment made by the Dominican State in the CTCP as of last October is US$2,372,917,536.05, from which the US$622 million capital contribution to be made by CDEEE and Fonper is subtracted.

As established by the Ministry of Hacienda, the rest of the resources destined to the project, equivalent to the sum of US$1,750,917536.05, must be registered in the commercial company CTCP, S.A., in the form of accounts payable by said company to the Dominican state, through the Treasury. This debt will generate an annual interest of 9.7165% on the outstanding balance and will be amortized in 360 equal monthly installments, beginning on 20 January 2020.

Principal and interest payments will be US$15 million per month, equivalent to US$180.0 million per year.

In a communication dated 14 October 2019, the Treasury indicated that as the owner of the thermoelectric plant, via CDEEE and Fonper, the Dominican state expects to receive a reasonable annual return.

Journalist Altagracia Salazar on her Sin Maquillaje radio talk show criticizes the deal. She asks out loud, “how can such a bad deal be struck?”

PRM AND PRSC propose measures to improve automated voting
The Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) and the Christian Social Reformist Party (PRSC) made recommendations to the Central Electoral Board (JCE) for the implementation of the automated voting system in the 2020 elections.

The PRSC proposed that the automated vote be extended to the entire country in multi-member candidacies and that the traditional manual vote be used in single-member nominations.

They also asked to define what to do in case a voter complains that the voucher shows a vote different than the choice he marked on the voting machine. The parties say the JCE needs to determine the action to be taken if there is a difference between the automated vote count and the manual count in a polling station.

Meanwhile, the PRM presented recommendations received by their consultant, J. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan. The suggestions are to guarantee the security of the system and to avoid cyber attacks. These include that an internationally-recognized security firm audits software and the electoral systems, and that the results of these tests be made public before the election.

Halderman pointed out that the presentation of the ID card and the fingerprint reader should be combined to certify that only the real voter can exercise that right.

Another recommendation is to ensure that the transmission of results is securely encrypted to avoid a cyber attack.

Finjus: Extinction of Domain Bill is urgent
Servio Tulio Castaños Guzmán, president of the Foundation for Institutionalism and Justice (Finjus) urged Dominican legislators to pass a National Extinction of Domain Law. He said this would give the Dominican justice tools to confront organized crime.

Following the arrest in Colombia of US Kingpin Act-designated drug capo Cesar Emilio Peralta, Castaños Guzmán said the need for an extinction law to counteract the economic power of organized crime is even more evident. He urged for the passing of the bill that has stagnated in the ruling Dominican Liberation Party-majority Congress.

"Certainly, the exercise of illicit activities generates large profits that allow criminal and corruption networks to achieve exorbitant wealth, thus increasing their ability to influence politicians and government and ensure impunity,” says Castaños Guzmán in a press release.

Castaños Guzmán said that the investment of illicit profits in the formal economy also creates unequal competition with those who operate under the rules of law.

On 12 June 2019, the Senate approved a second reading and with amendments to the bill on domain extinction for the civil forfeiture of illicit goods. The bill, authored by Senators Charlie Mariotti, Julio César Valentín, Adriano Sánchez Roa and Luis René Canaán creates the domain extinction courts. It obliges banks to disclose information to judges, opens the country to further international cooperation against crime and homologates foreign sentences, as long as they do not contradict the Dominican Constitution and laws.

Currently, the project is being studied by the Permanent Commission of Justice of the Chamber of Deputies.

Alicia Ortega interviews Colombia Police commander on arrest of Cesar Emilio Peralta
Cesar Emilio Peralta (Cesar "The Abuser") was captured last Monday after being wanted by Dominican authorities and the FBI on drug trafficking charges. The Attorney General Office had sought his arrest since 20 August 2019 with a massive operation to dismantle Peralta’s operation described as the largest drug-trafficking gang in the country. Previously, Peralta openly went about intense social and business activities in the country.

It would be Colombian authorities those that would capture Peralta, shortly after the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced a US$100,000 reward for information leading directly to his arrest. Peralta was arrested in a hotel in Bocagrande in Cartagena, Colombia.

On its official website, the FBI had stated that 44-year old Cesar Emilio Peralta Adamez (Cesar "The Abuser") was wanted for his alleged involvement in drug trafficking between 2007 and 2017 in the countries of Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Columbia, and the Continental United States, and Puerto Rico.

On 28 November 2018, a federal indictment was issued for Peralta-Adamez in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico after he was charged with “Conspiracy to Import a Controlled Substance (Heroin), Conspiracy to Import a Controlled Substance (Cocaine), and Distribution for Purpose of Unlawful Importation (Cocaine).”[email protected]@download.pdf

Dominicans spend RD$6 billion on Black Friday purchases
Luis Bencosme, board president at CARDNet, says that Dominicans spent RD$5.3 billion in Black Friday-related credit card purchases this year. The total is 22.64% more than the RD$4.3 billion spent in 2018. He estimated that including purchases in cash, the spending for the November shopping event reached RD$6 billion in the Dominican Republic in 2019.

Pepín Corripio honored by Spanish daily
Long-time Spanish immigrant Pepín Corripio received the “Luca de Tena” journalism award granted by the Diario ABC in Spain. For the occasion, Spain's King Felipe VI delivered the keynote speech at the 99th 'Mariano de Cavia', 'Luca de Tena' and 'Mingote' ABC Journalism Award ceremony in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, 3 December 2019.

It was the 10th time that King Felipe VI presented the award. In 2019, the winners of the award were: Dominican businessman of Spanish origin José Luis Corripio (Luca de Tena), for his commitment to journalistic excellence; professor of Philosophy and ABC columnist Gabriel Albiac (Mariano de Cavia), for "Las Ramblas, a lo lejos"; and the ABC graphic humorist José María Nieto (Mingote) for the cartoon "Que levanten la mano los hijos de la Guardia Civil".

David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez to the Red Sox’s Hall of Fame
The Boston Red Sox announced that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez will be inducted together into the Red Sox's Hall of Fame in spring 2020. Sluggers David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, together with pitcher Pedro Martinez, are credited with the team’s winning the 2013 World Series.

The Boston Red Sox website recently highlighted the legendary performance of David Ortiz in the games on 20 April, 13 October and 27 October 2013.

Ortiz and Ramirez spent six seasons as Boston Red Sox teammates, forming what has been described as the most prolific power-hitting duo in Red Sox history.

MLB players to pick up plastic wastes at city beach to set an example
Players for the Planet is championing its second year of an athlete-led beach cleanup to fight the plastics wave in the country. The effort is led by former Major League Baseball player Chris Dickerson.

Players for the Planet (PFTP) unites the professional sports community and philanthropic elite in charitable impact for our planet. It brings together athletes, teams, sponsors and corporate partners to raise awareness and visibility and engage millions to make a difference.

The beach clean up day is scheduled for Friday, 6 December 2019 from 10am to 1pm at the beach off Fray Antón de Montesinos on the Santo Domingo Malecon.

Participating in the Players for the Planet will be Nick Heath, Jumbo Díaz, Héctor Noesí, Nelson Cruz, Danny Salazar, Carlos Santana, Vladimir Guerrero, Luis Perdomo, Fernando Rodney, Miguel Andújar, Mel Rojas Jr., Gregory Polanco, Ryan Court, Brent Sutter, Starlin Marte, Ahmed Rosario, Alex Reyes, Eduardo Núñez, Ramón Laureano and Rafael Devers, among others.

What it costs to hire a Dominican orchestra
Merengue, salsa, bachata and urban bands are asking for fees ranging from RD$70 thousand to RD$1.5 million per performance, according to a report in on occasion of the peak orchestra-hiring season, the Christmas holidays.

The reporter journalist José Peguero lists many of the most prominent performers and explains that the amounts listed are subject to intermediaries and changes.

Bachata shows:
Anthony Santos: US$50,000
Frank Reyes: RD$700,000
Raulin Rodríguez: RD$600,000
El Chaval de la Bachata: RD$300,000
Joe Veras: RD$250,000
El Varón de la Bachata: RD$180,000
Luis Miguel del Amargue: RD$150,000
Kiko Rodríguez: RD$150,000

Merengue shows:
Milly Quezada: US$15,000
Toño Rosario: RD$700,000
Los Hermanos Rosario: RD$600,000
El Torito: RD$500,000
Fernando Villalona: RD$450,000
Omega: RD$450,000
Johnny Ventura: RD$450,000
Sergio Vargas: RD$400,000
Miriam Cruz: RD$350,000
Peña Suavo y la Banda Gorda: RD$250,000
Eddy Herrera: RD$250,000
El Sujeto: RD$200,000
Kinito Mendez: RD$200,000
La Coco Band: RD$150,000
Silvio Mora: RD$150,000

Urban Music
El Alfa: US$25,000
Don Miguelo: RD$450,000
Secreto: RD$350,000
La Insuperable: RD$250,000
Melymel: RD$200,000
Shadow Blow: RD$200,000
Vakeró: RD$200,000
Mark B: RD$200,000
Chimbala: RD$160,000
La Materialista: RD$150,000
Bulín 47: RD$150,000
Shellow Shaq: RD$150,000
Kiko el Crazy: RD$70,000

Salsa shows:
Yiyo Sarante: RD$450,000
Michel el buenón: RD$300,000
Chiquito Team Band: RD$200,000
David Kada: RD$200,000
Sexappeal: RD$180,000
Revolución Salsera: RD$150,000
La Nueva Era: RD$125,000
Alberto María: RD$125,000
Felix Manuel: RD$125,000

Merengue Dancing at the Barceló Santo Domingo
The merengue bands of Ramón Orlando, Alex Bueno, Carlos David and Joan Minaya will keep everyone dancing for the “El Bailazo Navideño” next week. Set for Friday, 13 December 2019 at the Barceló Santo Domingo, the night of merengue dancing for Christmas, starts at 10pm. Uepa Tickets is selling tickets online from RD$1,625 through RD$3,250 before the night of the party.