DR1 Daily News - Thursday, 29 September 2016


May 3, 2000
Record budget approved by Council of Ministers
Presidency sends loan bills for Metro construction
Electricity tender commission approves 11 companies
Farmers want changes in DR-CAFTA
DR and Japan assist Haitian farmers
Italian Embassy could reopen soon
To progress, DR must fight corruption
Haiti/DR documentary wins prize
Commission hears from Catholics on abortion clause
DR leads Latin America in teenage pregnancies
Expo Cibao opens in Santiago
Clearance sales at the National Book Fair
Contemporary Dance Festival

Record budget approved by Council of Ministers
The Council of Ministers has approved the National Budget for 2017 for RD$711.4 billion, an increase of RD$47.8 billion over this year. The budget includes a RD$15 billion increase for Public Health, an additional RD$13 billion for education and RD$3 billion for public safety, as well as salary increases for members of the National Police.

The presidential press office said that the Council of Ministers had approved the budget as submitted. The budget now goes to the ruling PLD-majority Congress for approval.

The Presidency press office says that the budget will continue to focus on the ?democratization of credit? and social spending.

Diario Libre analysts point out that the government will be paying 18% of the budget to make interest payments on its debts. The government is forecasting an increase of 1.6% in tax collections, to be achieved through increased efficiency in the service. The government says there will be no increases in taxation.

The Medina administration highlights that the economy is in a favorable context and that 2017 should close with growth of 6.4 to 7.4%. In the first half of the year, the government had a surplus of RD$240 million.


Presidency sends loan bills for Metro construction
The Senate received two loan contract bills for EUR$91.9 million on Wednesday, 28 September 2016 to fund the construction of Line 2B of the Santo Domingo Metro, which connects eastern and western Santo Domingo. The loan from the Banco Santander will go to Eurodom2, made up of Siemens and Tahles, the European supplier companies for the Metro.


Electricity tender commission approves 11 companies
The tender commission for the sale and purchase of electricity by short-term contracts received credentials from 11 generators that are interested in participating in the process. This is the first time that the electricity distributors (government-owned EdeNorte, EdeSur and EdeEste) will contract the purchase of energy for resale by public tender in compliance with General Electricity Law 141-01.

The presentation of credentials was headed by Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE) executive vice president Ruben Jimenez Bichara, who stressed the transparency of the entire process.

Jimenez Bichara said that there will always be winners and losers in a transparent tender process, but the main thing is that both those selected in the process as well as any that are not appreciate the process.

The commission has until 5 October 2016 to review the credentials and issue any observations, while the participating companies have until 17 October to make any necessary revisions.

The tender will be for the sale of energy in the short-term with contracts of up to five years as well as long-term contracts for new generating projects with contracts from 10 to 15 years.

Farmers want changes in DR-CAFTA
The National Farmers? Confederation says that its members are in favor of a revision of the DR-CAFTA free trade agreement. The Medina administration issued Decree No. 260-16 on 17 September 2016 that creates a high-level commission for evaluating the trade agreement with the United States and Central America.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, 28 September 2016, Confederation president Eric Rivero said that without key national economy sectors such as rice, milk, poultry, pork, beans, onions and garlic, it would be impossible to imagine the rural productive apparatus, and it would make our country vulnerable to any international crisis.

He said that this decree and the process that it starts give the country a second chance to establish measures for protecting our national products within the framework of DR-CAFTA.

DR and Japan assist Haitian farmers
Representatives of the governments of Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Japan held the first meeting of the Joint Coordinating Committee of ?The Development of Farm Techniques in Mountainous Areas? project in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Wednesday 28 September 2016.

The three-year cooperation program will train an estimated 100 Haitian specialists starting in October 2016. The meeting was headed by the managing director of the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Anoux Severin.

The Dominican Republic was represented by the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development?s bilateral cooperation director Maria Fernanda Ortega, Ministry of Agriculture Extension Services deputy director Ramon Pujols, and Juan Reyes from the Dominican Institute of Farm and Forest Research.

The project follows up on an agricultural extension services program that began in 2010 with the training of 500 agricultural specialists in sustainable techniques adapted for small farmers in the mountain regions of Haiti. These professionals were trained in courses at the ISA University in La Herradura, in Santiago. They then go on to transfer their knowledge to another thousand farming and forestry workers.
The program received the International Solutions Prize from the United Nations in 2012.

The initiative is aimed at guaranteeing the application of sustainable agricultural techniques in order to improve the results of farming and forestry production in Haiti.
The coursework will take place at the ISA University, and the fieldwork will be done in Haiti.

Haitian Agriculture Minister Severin said that his country suffers from major erosion as a result of deforestation practices that accelerate environmental degradation and reduce the land?s productive capacity.

Italian Embassy could reopen soon
The Dominican ambassador in Italy, Peggy Cabral says that progress is being made towards the reopening of the Italian Embassy in the Dominican Republic. She says she will be meeting with the Italian authorities to discuss the issue on Monday, 3 October 2016.

Cabral said that she has been in the Dominican Republic for the past few weeks recovering from a broken leg but is returning to Rome on Saturday, 1 October 2016.

She said that reopening the Italian Embassy in the Dominican Republic was a priority for Italians who live in the Dominican Republic, as well as for Italian tourists and businesspeople. At present, the Italian Embassy in Panama serves the Dominican Republic.

She said she has also used her stay in the country to hold meetings with the PRD political party of which she is acting president.

Cabral pointed out that the Dominican Embassy in Italy offers services to the population of around 28,000 Dominicans. She says she holds regular meetings with Dominicans resident in Italy to better serve the community.

To progress, DR must fight corruption
The 2016-2017 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report ranks the Dominican Republic among the most backward countries in the Americas region.

According to the Forum?s Global Competitiveness Report, the Dominican Republic must increase efforts to reduce excess bureaucracy, corruption and enhance security, which are factors that work against their development.

The study puts the Dominican Republic in 92nd place of a total 138 countries assessed. It points out that businesspeople mention corruption as the greatest problem affecting business in the country.

This is one of the main conclusions of the Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development, part of the Central American Institute for Business Administration (INCAE) based in Costa Rica.

The Institute presents the regional information as the Central American Partner of the World Forum.
The most competitive country in Central America is Panama, which is in 42nd place globally and second in Latin America only surpassed by Chile, which is ranked 33rd on the list. Costa Rica is second in Central America at 54 worldwide and fourth in Latin America while the most backward countries ranked are Guatemala at 78, Honduras at 88, the Dominican Republic at 92, Nicaragua at 100 and El Salvador at 105.

INCAE chief researcher Ronald Arce presented the results for Central America, the Dominican Republic and Bolivia on Wednesday 28 September 2016 and pointed out that according to a survey of businesspeople as part of the report, bureaucracy, corruption and lack of security are the main evils that work against competitiveness in the region.


Haiti/DR documentary wins prize
A Dominican documentary ?Si Bondye Vie Yuli? or ?God Willing Yuli? (2015) has received several awards at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, including Best Documentary and the Human Rights prize awarded by Amnesty International.

Director Jean Jean thanked his production crew and the members of the festival for opening their doors to this story. God Willing Yuli tells the story of a Haitian woman who has lived in the Dominican Republic for more than 35 years and is in a constant struggle to raise her children with dignity in spite of her precarious immigration status.

Commission hears from Catholics on abortion clause
On Wednesday, 28 September 2016, the Permanent Senate Commission on Justice and Human Rights listened to viewpoints from Catholic Church representatives on changes to be made in the Penal Code. The Senate is reviewing the Penal Code that was passed in the Chamber of Deputies excluding a clause that would allow exceptions to the total ban on abortions in the Dominican Republic.

Commission chairman, Senator Aristides Victoria Yeb said that the Catholic Church representatives asked for the Penal Code to be approved in its present form, as it was sent from the Chamber of Deputies. This means it would be passed without the decriminalization of abortion when the life of the mother is in danger, when the woman has been the victim of rape or incest, and when the fetus presents genetic deformities that are incompatible with life.

Monsignor Victor Masalles, who headed the Catholic Church commission, said that less than 1% of abortions were carried out for these three causes. He noted that Article 22 of the proposed Penal Code, which refers to the necessary conditions (for an abortion) already establishes the basis so that once doctors have adopted all the necessary measures and applied the Ministry of Public Health protocols in order to guarantee the life of the of the child, they may take the decision to carry out the abortion.

Senator Victoria Yeb said that they are listening to all the sectors that have expressed public opinions on the proposed changes to the Penal Code.

DR leads Latin America in teenage pregnancies
The United Nations Children?s Fund (Unicef) representative in the Dominican Republic, Rosa Elcarte says that the Dominican Republic tops the list in the number of pregnancies and early sexual cohabitation by girls under the age of 15, only comparable with situations in Africa.

Elcarte criticized the fact that on average, 13 girls give birth every day at public hospitals, most resulting from rape or sexual abuse. ?It is alarming that 60% of poor girls under 18 are married or in cohabitation or have one or more children,? she said. The Unicef recently launched its ?No Excuses? awareness campaign to encourage the public to take a more active role against the sexual exploitation of children.

?Whether they have been raped, or are being used by their relatives as a means to secure cash or because they see early cohabitation as an way of leaving a home marked by violence and extreme poverty, child unions affect the rights of the girls, condition their development, and expose them to violence and teenage pregnancies,? she stated. The Unicef representative also criticized the tolerance that prevails in Dominican society towards this social problem.


Expo Cibao opens in Santiago
The Gran Teatro del Cibao grounds are hosting this year?s Expo Cibao. This is the 19th Expo Cibao organized by the Santiago Chamber of Commerce and Production. The 2016 event has 349 companies and organizations presenting their goods and services and is expected to generate hundreds of millions of pesos in a series of operations.

The Expo Cibao includes talks, social events and entertainment shows as well as cultural activities, especially in the afternoons and evenings. This will be the third year that the event has been held on the Theater grounds.

This year?s theme is ?A Nation of Sustainable Businesses,? offering a great opportunity to promote technological innovation as well as environmental conservation initiatives. Minister of the Environment Francisco Dominguez Brito gave the inaugural speech on Wednesday, 28 September 2016.

Business leaders as well as government officials from around the country always take part in this event that lasts until Sunday, 2 October 2016.

During the inauguration, organizing committee chairman Manuel Ure?a, called for the government to be more efficient in public spending and reduce the state payroll that is now at almost 700,000 employees as a pre-condition for regional businesspeople to take on the increased burden in the announced Fiscal Pact. ?We will be in agreement with the Fiscal Pact, taking on our share of responsibility, when we see clear signs that the government wants to make public spending more efficient, that measures are being taken to reduce 86% of the current budget expenditures and that it begins to reduce the public payroll that is now at 700,000, which affects the productive apparatus,? he stated.


Matthew expected on Friday
Weather conditions in the Lesser Antilles worsened on Wednesday, 28 September 2016, as Tropical Storm Matthew moved towards the Caribbean islands.

Forecasters expect Matthew to produce four to eight inches of rain as it begins to move westwards through the southern Caribbean.

In the Dominican Republic, the Emergency Operations Center (COE) issued a green alert from Saona Island in the southeast to Pedernales in the southwest on Wednesday 28 September 2016 because of the approach of the outward bands of Matthew.

According to the COE a small craft warning is in place because of rain, waves and wind.

Weather service authorities are keeping a close eye on the storm, as although it is currently tracking south of the country it is likely to turn to the north and could move across the island.

In the Dominican Republic, all hurricane preparations should be implemented and the storm should be closely monitored. The COE is advising the public to pay heed to its bulletins on the approach of this major storm.

Follow the latest weather posts at:

Clearance sales at the National Book Fair
The National Book Fair (FILASD 2016) organizers have announced Black Friday-style clearance sales on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October, the closing days of the fair. Many books will be available for RD$100. Minister of Culture Pedro Verg?s says that this is an opportunity to buy that book you were looking for at a good price.

The book fair closing ceremony takes place on Sunday, 2 October 2016 at the National Theater in Santo Domingo.


Contemporary Dance Festival
The 12th International Contemporary Dance Festival (Edanco 2016) is taking place at the Palacio de Bellas Artes through 9 October at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Santo Domingo. The festival showcases new trends in contemporary international dance and innovation by Dominican dancers.

Dance companies from 10 countries are taking part with 17 performances on the program. Puerto Rico (4 companies), Canada (3), Colombia (3), Costa Rica (2), Spain (2), and companies from Finland, Venezuela, United Kingdom, El Salvador and Martinique (1).

The companies representing the Dominican Republic are Endanza Juvenil, Teatro Popular Danzante, Ballet Concierto Dominicano, Ballet Teatro Dominicano, Articentro Miriam Bello, Corona Hip-hop from La Vega, Royalty, Vidance, Cindy Sosa, Isabel Mart?nez, Joel Genao Amador and Colectivo Fusi?n.

The program is:

Thursday, 29 and Friday 30 September:
Trina Frometa (Venezuela)
Ballet Nacional Dominicano
Willman Dance Company (Finland)

Saturday, 1 October:
Carmen Werner (Spain)
Fernando Hurtado (Spain)

Sunday, 2 October:
Compa??a Nacional del Salvador (El Salvador)
Karol Marenco (Costa Rica)
Orestes Amador (Cuba, DR, El Salvador)

Monday, 3 October:
Ballet Concierto Dominicano (DR)
Teatro Popular Danzante (DR)
Joel Amador (DR)
Ballet Teatro Dominicano (DR)
Erick Guzm?n (DR)
Endanza Juvenil (DR)

Tuesday, 4 and Wednesday, 5 October
Espora Colectivo (Costa Rica)
Ballet Teatro Nacional de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico)
Raphaelle Bertoni (Haiti-DR)
Ballet Nacional Dominicano (DR)
Christiane Emmanuel (Martinique)

Thursday, 6 and Friday 7 October:
Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico)
Mauro Youth Ballet Co. (Puerto Rico)
Andrea Pe?a (Canada)
Pilar Hern?ndez (Colombia)

Saturday, 8 October:
Colectivo Fusi?n 2016 (DR)
Four Season Dance Academy (Canada)
Aurora Dance Academy (Canada)
Isabel Mart?nez (DR)
Royalty (DR)
Mauro Youth Ballet Co. (Puerto Rico)
Ballet Concierto Dominicano (DR)
Corona La Vega (DR)
Endanza e Invitados (DR)
Arte y Centro Miriam Bello (DR)
Teatro Popular Danzante (DR)

Sunday, 9 October:
DeNada Dance Company (UK)
CODA 21 (Puerto Rico)
Malas Compa??as (Colombia)

Shows are at 8:30pm and on Sundays at 6:30 and 8:30pm. Tickets are RD$200.

For information on upcoming events: