DR1 Daily News - Thursday, 22 June 2017


May 3, 2000
President Medina: Let me work
There are 1.5 million small businesses
Ministry of Culture announces Annual Literature Awards
Environment, Coraasan and EgeHID pay for environmental services
Jaragua biosphere now extended to include Haiti’s La Selle
Sugary drink tax is talk of the town
Thousands have not filed affidavits of assets
Some new hospitals, three big hospitals in crisis
Doctors protest for low basic health plan fees
Green March want Odebrecht out of the DR
DR leaps to semifinals of Pan Am Volleyball Cup 
28 artists booked for Telemicro anniversary extravaganza
Dominicans in Newark celebrate Dominican Pride Day
Danny Rivera and Felipe Polanco show

President Medina: Let me work
President Danilo Medina continues avoiding directly addressing pressing issues of the day with the Dominican people. President Danilo Medina was asked yesterday by reporters covering the Presidential Palace to respond to a petition published on Monday, 19 June 2017, that called for his resignation and or removal from office. The President limited his comments to a single liner: Let me do my job (Déjenme trabajar). 

Medina had just come out of a two-hour meeting with the representatives of 21 construction companies involved in the creation of Juan Bosch City, a huge low-income housing project in Santo Domingo. 

Activists and citizens led by writer Andres L. Mateo published their request that Danilo Medina resign from office alleging that he took office through a campaign financed with international financing from the Odebrecht construction company. There is speculation that Medina was a main beneficiary of the Odebrecht corruption scandal. 

Neither President Medina, nor his predecessors former Presidents Leonel Fernandez and Hipólito Mejía have been investigated in regards to the Odebrecht scandal, despite major public works contracting that occurred during their administrations. The Attorney General has accused 14 government officials of having accepted bribes from the company or permitting the overvaluation of public works.  President Medina has not spoken publicly on the Odebrecht case.


There are 1.5 million small businesses
Ignacio Méndez, Deputy Minister of Industry, Commerce and Small Business (MICMM), said on a radio program that there are around 1.5 million small and medium-sized companies. Of these, 400,000 have fixed locations, while another 300,000 are mobile. He estimates there are 340,000 farm small business and 15,000 in fishing and mining, including the jewelry business.  

Mendez is in charge of small business at the MICMM. He was interviewed on Channel 4, on the Ojala talk show by Ramon Tejeda and Guillermo Ricart. He highlighted efforts at the Ministry to back entrepreneurship in the country.


Ministry of Culture announces Annual Literature Awards
The Ministry of Culture announced the winners of the Annual Literature Award 2017. Each winner receives a RD$250,000 cash award. In the 2017 awards, there were no winners of the history, novel or children literature awards. 

The winners this year were:
Storytelling: Codices en las cortesias de mis libros, by Giovanny Cruz Durán
Poetry: Hormigas dentro de una gota de ámbar, Daniel Baruc Espinal
Drama: Dos piezas trágicas, César Sánchez Veras
Essay: Evaluación Institucional de la UASD 1538-2017, un modelo academic en decadencia, Jesús M. Faustino Taveras


Environment, Coraasan and EgeHID pay for environmental services
In a positive step towards preserving the environment in the nation’s mountains and watersheds, the Ministry of Environment together with the Santiago Water and Sewer Corporation (Coraasan) and the Hydroelectric Generation Company (EgeHID), a division of the Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE), paid farmers more than RD$1 million for environmental services to protect the watersheds on the northern slope of the Cordillera Central Mountain Range. 

The ceremony was held at the main water treatment plant of Coraasan in the Rafey sector of the city.  Owners of lands within the prioritized watersheds received their checks corresponding to the third payment from the director general of Coraasan Silvio Duran.  Also present were Domínguez Rodríguez, who coordinates provincial activities for the Ministry of the Environment, and Demetrio Lluberes, the administrator of EgeHID. 

28 farmers benefited from the first phase of the program. They were from the communities in La Descubierta, La Palma, Arroyo Frio of Constanza, Paso Bajito, Los Dajaos and Manabao in Jarabacoa. 
The Coraasan director general Silvio Durán said that this project would prevent the destruction of the rivers and streams that originate in the small micro watersheds. 

The Payment for Environmental Services (PSA, in Spanish) initiative protects the many small aquifers born in the high mountains that supply clean water to the Yaque del Norte River, arguably the most economically important fresh water resource in the entire Dominican Republic.

The United Nations FAO has encouraged the implementation of the program, emphasizing that the demand for environmental services from agriculture - including climate change mitigation, improved watershed management and biodiversity preservation will increase in the future, but better incentives to farmers are needed if agriculture is to meet this demand. 

As one among several other possible policy tools, payments to farmers for environmental services are seen as a flexible approach to enhancing farmer incentives to sustain and improve the ecosystems on which we all depend. 


Jaragua biosphere now extended to include Haiti’s La Selle
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added La Selle – Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (Dominican Republic / Haiti) to its World Network of Biosphere. The addition was made during the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme meeting in Paris from 12 to 15 June 2017. 

The first Dominican biosphere reserve dates back to 2002, the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo. That reserve is now extended to include La Selle in Haiti, designated in 2012.  As of June 2017, there are currently 20 transboundary biosphere reserves in 31 countries.

Transboundary reserves represent ecological corridors divided by a political and administrative frontier. Unesco acknowledged that bringing La Selle in Haiti and Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo together should allow better management of the environment on the island of Hispaniola.

Unesco describes the biosphere reserves as learning places for sustainable development whose aim is to reconcile biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. New sites are designated every year by the MAB Council that is composed of representatives of 34 elected UNESCO members.

Composed of 669 biosphere reserves in 120 countries, including 20 transboundary sites, the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) of the MAB Programme consists of a dynamic and interactive network of sites of excellence. It works to foster the harmonious integration of people and nature for sustainable development through participatory dialogue, knowledge sharing, poverty reduction, human well-being improvements, respect for cultural values and by improving society’s ability to cope with climate change.


Sugary drink tax is talk of the town
The global movement fostered by the World Health Organization to tax carbonated soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks has arrived to the Dominican Republic. Deputy Juan Carlos Quiñones (PLD-Puerto Plata) has drafted a bill that would levy a 20% tax on the sale of these drinks. The bill explains the intention is to discourage the consumption of drinks with added sugar. Over-consumption of sugar is a major contributor to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. 

But the Dominican Association of Industries (AIRD) says that the tax would affect an industry that today employs more than 42,000 people nationwide. Circe Almanzar, executive director of the AIRD, says the manufacturers employ 4,800 people with wages of more than RD$2.2 billion. Indirect jobs that would be affected are around 38,000, with wages of more than RD$11 billion. 


Thousands have not filed affidavits of assets
According to information released on 21 June 2017, 97% of municipal officials, some 3,901, and 150 deputies and former deputies in the Chamber of Deputies have failed to present their sworn affidavits of assets and liabilities as required by Law 311-14. This law requires all public servants and former personnel to deposit within 30 days from the time they take office or from the time they leave office to deposit the statement. Unfortunately Dominican authorities have yet to apply the punishments laid out in the law for failure to comply. 

In their latest report, the Father José Antonio Esquivel Social Laboratory of the John XXIII Center that follows compliance levels of the Law of Sworn Declarations of Assets and its regulations for compliance that is contained in Decree 92-16, notes that “the violation of the law by legislators who refused to submit their respective affidavits of assets seems contradictory and even more so when they themselves were or are members of the legislative power responsible for creating this law and provide the true spirit of Law 311-14”. 

The Father José Antonio Esquivel Social Laboratory was developed by the Program of Studies of Dominican Development, a part of the Father Aleman Center of Economic and Social Studies at the Pontifical Catholic University Madre y Maestra. Anthropologist Fernando Ferrán, who directs the program, told reporters that it was strange that at a time when everybody is concentrating on the whereabouts of the US$92 million in bribes paid by Odebrecht that legislators and municipal officials are not depositing their sworn affidavits of assets. 

Ferrán recalled the recent dismissal of Diandino Peña of the Santo Domingo Metro office (Opret) after TV journalist Alicia Ortega revealed his participation as a shareholder in over two dozen companies that are suppliers to the projects carried out by Opret. 

On the other hand, in the Senate, with the exception of one former senator, all these legislators have delivered their sworn statements of assets.


Some new hospitals, three big hospitals in crisis
President Danilo Medina proudly inaugurated two new hospitals last week in Castillo and Villa Riva, part of the Duarte province this week. The new medical centers are equipped with the most modern technology, reports the Presidency. 

Meanwhile, a volunteer organization, Jesus with the Children (El Voluntariado Jesus con los Niños) has come forth to say that the leading children’s hospital in Santiago, the Dr. Arturo Grullón, and the Luis L. Bogaert general public hospital in Valverde and the Ricardo Limardo Public Hospital in Puerto Plata should be declared to be in a state of emergency. Vilena Comas, president of the volunteer group, criticized the long delays in the government completing the renovations at these facilities.

The volunteer group says that the reality in the surgical areas of these hospitals is “deplorable” mainly because of the slow down or stoppage in the construction work scheduled for the renovation of these areas combined with a lack of equipment and personnel, all of which puts the health and the lives of thousands of patients especially children at risk. The leaders of the volunteer group called the inoperative status of these areas “both irresponsible and shameful” and they go on to say that it has been nearly three years since the reconstruction and remodeling of the surgical and emergency areas of these hospitals began. 

Comas says there are shortages of staff, equipment and medicine. She somberly said that many children have died waiting for surgery. “This drawn out situation has cost the lives of many children from our region and in many cases our patients are hospitalized for months in very serious condition waiting for a surgery, even when they are dealing with emergencies and other urgent and delicate cases,” she says. 

She argued that proper medical care of patients is not only a constitutional duty but that this goes beyond the laws since it is a universal duty which is “Love thy neighbor” and this has been broken in the most brutal fashion by denying our children the opportunity to live because they do not have a health system that provides them with a timely surgical option or an efficient diagnosis.” 

Both the Nurses Association as well as the local branch of the Dominican Medical Association (CMD) supported the position of the Volunteers of Jesus with the Children.

A news report in El Nacional also refers the dire state of affairs at the San Lorenzo de Los Mina maternity hospital in Greater Santo Domingo. Other media reports have revealed the new pressures on the Jose Maria Cabral Public Hospital in Santiago, the largest general hospital, also undergoing a long drawn out renovation, following the start of the 911 Emergency System in the Cibao. 


Doctors protest low basic health plan fees
The Dominican Medical Association (CMD) and different medical specialty societies announced on 21 June 2017 the restart of nationwide protests over what they call “an abuse” by the National Council of Social Security (CNSS) that for 10 years has not increased the fees for the doctors paid in medical plans. Doctor Waldo Ariel Suero, president of the CMD, noted that on 5 July they will hold a vigil in front of CNSS beginning at 10am to demand increases in the fees for doctors and that basic health plans be amended in conformity with Law 87-01 on Social Security. 

Suero noted that in January 2007 the basic fee for consultations that was approved by the CNSS was RD$394.75 and at the present time this fee is RD$914.76, an increase of 131.73% in 10 years. He says “that in spite of this substantial increase, the National Committee on Professional Honorariums and the CNSS have not modified in fees paid to the doctors in brazen violation of Law 87-01 that calls for modifying these every year (Article 173, paragraph II).


Green March want Odebrecht out of the DR
Activists from the Green March anti-corruption movement protested on 21 June 2017 in front of the offices of the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht on the Pedro Henriquez Ureña Avenue at the corner of Abraham Lincoln. Cries of “ Get out, get out now; out with the thieves of Odebrecht” were heard from the citizens who were carrying signs against the huge construction company that has admitted to paying bribes of some US$92 million to secure Dominican government contract work.

Maria Teresa Cabrera, a leader of the teachers union, told reporters that the Brazilian company should abandon the country since they have violated all the regulations by paying bribes and financing political campaigns. Another sign read: “Punta Catalina is evidence of the crime” in reference to the huge generating facility being constructed in Punta Catalina at a cost of some US$2.0 billion.


DR leaps to semifinals of Pan Am Volleyball Cup 
The defending champions, the Dominican Republic national women’s volleyball team advanced to the semifinals of the 16th Women’s Volleyball Pan American Cup by Movistar without losing a single set. The Dominican Republic women’s team is ranked 9th in the world. 

On Wednesday, 21 June 2017, the DR defeated hosts Peru in straight sets 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-18) in front of a full house at Eduardo Dibos Coliseum of Lima. Previously, the DR team had defeated Trinidad & Tobago, Canada, Chile and Cuba. The Dominicans finished Pool B with an undefeated record of 5-0 with all their victories coming in straight sets and moved directly to the semi-finals. 

As reported by Norceca, Bethania de la Cruz, captain of Dominican Republic: “We followed our game plan and achieved our goal of qualifying directly to the semifinals as winners of our pool. It was an important victory because we had to play also against the home team fans.”

Marcos Kwiek, coach of Dominican Republic: “Our serves were very effective that helped our blocking and defense. When you are aggressive you have to run some risks. I am satisfied with the performance of my team.”

The United States won Pool A, also with 5-0 win-loss record and advanced to the semifinals. Other teams in Pool A are Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. The championship continues with quarterfinals and finals 23-25 June. 

Puerto Rico and Cuba in Group and Peru and Argentina have already secured spots to play in the quarterfinals on 23 June and then the winning teams will match the Dominican Republic and the United States in the semifinals. 

https://www.norceca.net/Dominican Republic wins Pool B at Pan Am Cup.htm
https://www.norceca.net/2017 Events... of Results 2017 Women's Pan American Cup.pdf

28 artists booked for Telemicro anniversary extravaganza
Channel 5 (Telemicro) promises an evening of modern and traditional merengue, salsa and bachata and urban music for its anniversary. Performers booked for the “Viva la Música” show on Friday, 8 July 2017, at the Félix Sánchez Olympic Stadium in Santo Domingo include merengue singers Miriam Cruz, Toño Rosario, Divas By Jiménez and The New York Band. Grass roots merengue performers for the evening are Krispy, Kiko el Presidente and María Díaz. 

Salsa will be represented by Revolución Salsera, Yiyo Sarante and Chiquito Team Band.  Bachata performers will be Teodoro Reyes, Leonardo Paniagua and Elvis Martínez.

Urban music performers will be: El Alfa, El Mayor Clásico, Don Miguelo, Mark B, Shadow Blow and Musicólogo. 

Also announced are performances by Ceky Viciny, Bulin 47, Liro Shaq, Lírico en la casa, Pavarotti, Carlitos Way, Heidy Brown and Químico Ultramega.

Tickets are free, but they need to be picked up at the Telemicro station in Santo Domingo. Doors to the event will be open as of 3pm on Friday, 8 July. Children under 15 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. 


Dominicans in Newark celebrate Dominican Pride Day
Newark is organizing the 5th Festival of the Dominican Pride Day with the participation of Mayor Ras Baraka, the Newark City Council and the Duarte Institute of Newark. The event is scheduled for Sunday, 9 July 2017 along Park Avenue and Roseville Avenue in Newark from noon to 10pm. Live band performances by Rubby Perez, Lors “El Prieto,” Amaury, Grupo Over and others. Dominicans are invited to “pick up your flag and come to celebrate!”

Danny Rivera and Felipe Polanco show
Danny Rivera, the Puerto Rican-naturalized Dominican singer, is joining comedian Felipe Polanco for an evening of romantic songs and jokes on Saturday, 29 July 2017. They will be performing at Escenario 360 on occasion of Father's Day, on Sunday, 30 July 2017. 

Danny Rivera said he agreed to do the show after listening to Felipe Polanco sing during the show "Los Tremendos Tres" with Cecilia Garcia,  Cuquin Victoria and Felipe Polanco also at Escenario 360. 
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