DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 22 February 2017


May 3, 2000
New transport law goes into effect
Government launches new security plan
Two years to go to digital TV
Mayors warn of major garbage pile up
Offshore company in Panama receives Central Bank lands
22 February 2017: A day to wear green
Interpol captures Belgian accused of murder
Court hearing on fraud case delayed
No full time release for Martha Heredia
Boat sinks off Miches
Miguel Bosé at the Palacio de los Deportes

New transport law goes into effect
On Tuesday, 21 February 2017, President Danilo Medina signed the new Law 63-17 of Mobility, Ground Transport, Road Transit and Road Safety (Ley 63-17 de Movilidad,Transporte, Tránsito y Seguridad Vial) that brings government transport authorities together under the INTRANT as part of the Ministry of Public Works. It replaces Law 241 that dated back to 1967. 

The law also unifies the Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) in Santo Domingo and Santiago under the National Police.

With the new law, the General Office of Ground Transport, the Technical Office of Ground Transport (OTTT), and the Development Fund for Terrestrial Transport (FONDET) become the National Institute for Transit and Transport (INTRANT). From now on, all of the public transport systems in the country will be regulated by INTRANT. 

The new law also creates the General Office of Transit Security and Ground Transport (DIGESETT) that in the future will be responsible for issuing traffic-related citations.  There is a 10-year time scale for old public transport vehicles to be taken off the streets, as part of the transport sector reorganization plan of INTRANT.

Under the new law, pedestrians can be fined for violating the transit law. Regarding motorcycles, the law makes motorcycle taxi passengers use a helmet and the fine for non-compliance is one to five minimum salaries. 


Read the new law in Spanish:

Government launches new security plan
Naming it this time “Calm Living,” (Vivir Tranquilo), the government is launching a new cities security program in 160 barrios nationwide. The government has identified 600 community leaders that have been asked to participate in the program. 

The Government Commission for Domestic Security is coordinating the new program with the participation of Presidency Minister Gustavo Montalvo, Defense Minister Mayor General Ruben Paulino Sem and Interior & Police Minister Carlos Amarante Baret. 

As part of Medina government security efforts, on 21 February 2017 President Medina reviewed the new 2017-2020 security program at the Presidential Palace. The new program contemplates strategies and projects to combat insecurity with a focus on prevention and persecution of crime.

A review of security programs under the Medina administration by security expert Daniel Pou published in Diario Libre establishes that these have been reactive and have continued failed schemes applied in the past decades. He said these schemes are based on police patrols and the militarization of security, actions that have failed in Latin America in general. He said there is no system to the patrols.


Two years to go to digital TV
The Dominican Republic is set to begin its long-delayed analogue TV switch off in January 2019, according to Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Indotel) president Jose del Castillo Savinon. Del Castillo took office at the post in August 2016. 

The DTT migration was initially scheduled for September 2015 before Indotel postponed it to August 2021. Now the new date is 2019. 

Indotel is also planning to activate some 5,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots in parks, public squares, universities, schools and hospitals throughout the country as part of its "Digital Republic" program for 2016-2020 that also envisages connecting all provincial capitals to a national fiber-optic network


Mayors warn of major garbage pile up
The mayors of Greater Santo Domingo together with the United Dominican Federation of Municipalities (Fedomu) have rejected a unilateral increase in the price of collecting garbage and warned that the decision will create an unprecedented sanitary crisis. 

In a public declaration the mayors confirmed that Lajun, the company in charge of the Duquesa site where garbage is disposed, has imposed an unacceptable increase of between 130% and 1,100% in some cases per ton of solid waste dumped at their site.

Radhames Castro, mayor of Boca Chica and spokesman for the mayors, explained that in Los Alcarrizos alone, the amount for garbage collection had increased from RD$160,000 to RD$1,700,000 and in the National District from RD$7 million to RD$16,000,000 per month, as reported in Diario Libre.

Castro said that they would never accept policies such as these that would allow the company to put in place unilateral fee increases without consulting the municipal governments.

The mayors agreed to propose a meeting with President Danilo so that the President could weigh in on the problem.  The hope is that through political pressure, Lajun would back-down from its demand for disposal rate increases, thus avoiding a crisis of such a proportion never before seen in Greater Santo Domingo.

Among those mayors who signed the document are Rene Polanco, Santo Domingo North; David Collado, National District; Alfredo Martinez, Santo Domingo East; Junior Santos, Los Alcarrizos; Francisco Pena, Santo Domingo West; Nelson Guillen, San Cristobal; Osvaldo Rodriguez, Haina; Menudo Perez, Nigua; Marcia Rosario, Guerra; Pascual Gomez, Pedro Gomez and Rafael Hidalgo, president of FEDOMU.


Offshore company in Panama receives Central Bank lands
Diario Libre reports that the State Sugar Council (CEA) resold to an offshore company registered in Panama land that it had received as payment from the Central Bank in 1999. The owner of the company is just identified as “The Bearer” (El Portador). Located in southeastern San Pedro de Macorís, the land was sold for RD$14 the square meter. 

The transaction is another of several that are coming to the open after the murder of two radio broadcasters by a lead suspect who is now said to have been in rage over a CEA land deal that went sour. After the murder, the government appointed a commission to review land transactions carried out in San Pedro de Macorís by the CEA. The Medina government also ordered a shutdown of the CEA. Recently, the Medina government had ordered a stop to all land transactions at the CEA. 

Diario Libre says the sale took 12 contracts, all signed on the same date – 28 April 2016. The transactions were between the Boca Chica Sugar Mill, represented by the executive director of the CEA, José Joaquín Domínguez Peña, and Ordell Assets, represented by Pedro de Jesús Paulino Balbuena. In total, 1,711.91 tareas (more than a million square meters) were sold for RD$15,071,810.44. 

Diario Libre points out that there are mining concessions in operation in several of the sold lands. 


22 February 2017: A day to wear green
Marcha Verde is calling for all Dominicans to wear green on Wednesday, 22 February, to show their strong support to end corruption in government. The Marcha Verde organizers have asked all citizens to sign the Green Book requesting that the government order an independent investigation into the Odebrecht construction company overpricing and bribes scandal. 

The highlight of the Marcha Verde protest on Wednesday, 22 February 2017, will feature the first of the signed petitions being delivered to President Danilo Medina. 


Interpol captures Belgian accused of murder
Interpol has announced the capture in Las Terrenas of a Belgian citizen who has been accused in Belgium of killing his father.

The report stated that 40-year old David Dupuis was captured on Calle Sanchez in Las Terrenas where he was staying at a hotel. He has been sought by Belgian authorities since July 2016. The authorities said he will be deported immediately.


Court hearing on fraud case delayed
The court hearing to amend the terms of the coercive measures applying to Teodoro Hidalgo, president of financial company Inversia, has been rescheduled for 6 March 2017, after Hidalgo and his wife did not attend the original date for the hearing. They are both currently serving 12 months on remand in jail.

Dozens of those who have lost money attended the hearing. Depositors claim the level of fraud reach upwards of RD$1.2 billion. Among those affected are former employees of the Cervecería Nacional Dominicana, the Presidente beer brewery, mostly pensioners who deposited their savings in the nonregulated financial management company attracted by the company’s promise of high rates of interest. Prior to setting up the financial entity, Hidalgo was a high-ranking officer at the brewery, where he earned the trust of the future depositors. 

Michell Maria Evertz Estevez and her husband are accused of fraud, forging documents, criminal association and violating the Monetary and Financial Law. Since November 2016, Hidalgo has been in the jail in San Pedro de Macoris and his wife is in Najayo women’s prison. 


No full time release for Martha Heredia
Santiago judge Ruben Dario Cruz Uceta has rejected the request made by singer Martha Heredia for her full conditional freedom, saying that the accused has not met the conditions to merit a change in her detention status.

The judge, therefore, did not change the current situation of “part time” freedom that allows her to be outside the jail on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until 6 pm. 

The judge argued that Heredia, who was convicted to a seven-year prison term for drug trafficking, had not complied adequately with the advantages of part time freedom, which is to spend more time with family members.

While the Public Prosecution Service agreed with Heredia’s request for full time release but the judge stood firm.

Heredia said that she did not understand his decision as she thought she had complied with the requirements of part time release, but it was not up to her to question the decision of a judge. She went on to say that when she is released, her first action will be to go and talk to young people to about not doing drugs.


Boat sinks off Miches
An unauthorized to leave boat with 17 people on board sank yesterday, Tuesday, 21 February 2017, near the Costa Esmeralda beach, in the municipal district of El Cedro, in Miches.

The actual sinking happened in the Atlantic Ocean in Cano Celedonio, near Laguna Redonda.
According to unofficial reports, so far three people have been rescued, two men and a woman, who are being held by the Armada officials, and one body of a woman, Josefina Inoa has been recovered. 

Media reports say one person drowned, three were rescued and 13 are missing. 

The survivors were identified as 23-year old David Bonilla, 20 year old Fernando Espiritusanto and the young woman Noemí Alvarez, all natives of Miches. They are under arrest. 


Miguel Bosé at the Palacio de los Deportes
Spanish singer Miguel Bosé has included Santo Domingo in his “Estaré 2017” Latin American tour. The date is Thursday, 4 May 2017 and the venue, the Palacio de los Deportes in the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. The tour is to promote tracks from the “Miguel Bose MTV Unplugged” album with his best hits and two new songs. One of the new songs is his arrangement of “La Chula,” the song composed by Dominican merengue singer Fernando Villalona in 1986 and made famous at the time by his brother, singer Angelito Villalona. 

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