DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 28 June 2017


May 3, 2000
Campaign to solve garbage problem is launched
President Medina travels to Costa Rica
Medina inaugurates hospital and school in San Juan de la Maguana
Maternity hospital renovations blamed for 14 baby deaths
Gustavo Montalvo announces Intrant starts 1 July 2017
Deputies likely to vote to pass Penal Code with abortion ban
Will Chinese and Spanish companies fill the shoes of the Brazilian builders
Free zone and mining exports up, the rest down
Five-year car imports banned as of 30 June 2017
Santo Domingo and San Juan to be brothers
Protests over lack of electricity
Getting to know you by your sneakers
Heat wave in the country
DR volleyball team readies to play World Grand Prix
Anthony Santos and Mark B launch their version of “Despacito”

Campaign to solve garbage problem is launched
The Presidency has launched a new program seeking to create a better awareness about garbage and its health and environmental impact on communities. On Tuesday 27 June 2017, President Danilo Medina announced the start of the Clean Dominican Plan (Dominicana Limpia) during an event at the Presidential Palace.

The Clean Dominican Plan will be implemented through a public-private partnership to resolve the periodic crises in garbage collection and disposal. The private sector will be helping to fund the citizen awareness campaign. The Cervecería Nacional Dominicana (Presidente beer brewery) will be contributing RD$1 billion to the program.

The program backs ways to profit from the 13,000 tons of garbage the country produces every day. The government says that 51% of all garbage can be either recycled or used as fertilizer or to produce energy. With the new campaign, the government will be pushing the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle.

Domingo Contreras, director general of the Specialized Programs of the Presidency (DIGEPEP), explained that the plan calls for integrated management of solid waste, citizen education, clean places in the schools and recycling. The plan also reaches out to carry out works for the recovery of rivers basins and to keep beaches free of garbage.

The government will provide the municipalities with the resources they need to complete the tasks. President Medina spoke of a first allotment of RD$318 million for equipment and then another RD$500 million every year for a total RD$1.5 billion through 2020 for the program. The plan will fund the purchase of heavy equipment such as tractors and excavators for garbage collection and disposal and these will be managed by the Dominican Municipal League and the Federation of Dominican Municipalities (Fedomu).

The plan encompasses the operation of provincial or regional dumps and in a first phase 18 dumps, 25 municipalities and 62 districts will be intervened to strengthen their waste disposal systems.

More than 150 mayors, 230 municipal district directors and 158 councilors attended the launching of the new program.

The Presidency also named the third Saturday in September “Dia Nacional de la Limpieza” (National Clean Day).


President Medina travels to Costa Rica
The Presidency announced that President Danilo Medina travels today, Wednesday, 28 June 2017 to Costa Rica to participate in the 49th Heads of State and Government Summit of the Central American Integration System (SICA). He is accompanied by Administrative Minister José Ramón Peralta among others.

Medina inaugurates hospital and school in San Juan de la Maguana
On Monday, 26 June 2017, President Danilo Medina inaugurated the Municipal Hospital in El Cercado and the José Asencio García Sánchez Primary School in Las Matas de Farfán, in the province of San Juan de la Maguana, in the southwestern region of the country.

The total cost of construction and equipping the hospital exceeds RD$105 million and is intended to benefit around 21,000 people in the area. The floor space of the hospital is 1,594 square meters and has 29 beds in rooms of one or two bedrooms, all with bathrooms and air conditioning. It has an operating room, maternity ward, and pre- and a post-surgical areas. The hospital has x-ray machines, a trauma bay, and five consulting rooms.

The newly inaugurated school in San Juan de la Maguana has 60 classrooms to accommodate 1,960 students.

Medina was accompanied by the director of the Office of Supervising Engineers of State Works (OISOE) Francisco Pagán Rodríguez; public school director Rafaela Alcántara; Administrative Minister of the Presidency José Ramón Peralta; Health Minister Altagracia Guzmán Marcelino; senator for San Juan de la Maguana Félix Bautista; president of the Chamber of Deputies Lucía Medina; Provincial Governor William Jiménez, among others.


Maternity hospital renovations blamed for 14 baby deaths
The Dominican Medical College (CMD) has complained about the Maternity Hospital Nuestra Señora La Altagracia, the large maternity hospital, where the situation is so dire that on the weekend of 23-25 June 2017, 14 newborns died. Three deaths were reported on Friday 23 June, four on the Saturday and seven on the Sunday. The CMD said none of the newborns should have died if the adequate resources had been available at the public hospital.

In the maternity ward, up to five newborns share one crib in the neonatal care facility. In addition, the maternity unit lacks heating lamps and does not have sufficient incubators, so many newborns that need special medical attention are often go untreated and become acutely susceptible to infections or exposure, often resulting in the death of the infants.

The CMD went on to say that three or four women are giving birth on one bed; there are few functioning bathrooms, no decent place for patients to rest, inadequate meal service and no conditions for teaching.

Dr. Waldo Ariel Suero, president of the CMD, says the number of deaths is alarming. He called for relocating the medical staff in no later than five days and that efforts be fully dedicate to complete the renovations. He said the staff can no longer operate in the present conditions. He said of 10 surgery rooms, only three are operational and those have many deficiencies.

The doctors working in the maternity ward attribute the problems to the long drawn out renovation that began in 2012. Four years ago, the government began renovations that have not yet been completed and, as a result, are putting people’s health in danger as evidenced by the recent high in hospital deaths.

Nevertheless, the director of the National Health Service, Nelson Rodríguez Monegro denied the deaths had to do with the renovations. He said the babies died for low birth weight, congenital malformation, intracranial and lung bleeding, respiratory complications, infections of the mothers and complicated pregnancy reasons.


Gustavo Montalvo announces Intrant starts 1 July 2017
Presidency Minister Gustavo Montalvo announced the start of operations of the new Instituto Nacional de Tránsito y Transporte Terrestre (INTRANT) starts 1 July 2017. Montalvo said the first director of the Intrant will be announced on the same day. The new government entity is in charge of implementing the National Road Safety Plan 2017-2020.

Montalvo called the Intrant the greatest transformation of transportation sector in the country. Intrant is responsible for planning and regulating ground transport nationwide in coordination with the city governments. It will consolidate the operations of the five major transport-regulating offices -- Oficina Técnica de Transporte Terrestre (OTTT), Dirección General de Tránsito Terrestre (DGTT), Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo del Transporte (FONDET), Consejo de Administración y Regulación de Taxis (CART) and the Caja de Pensiones de los Choferes.


Deputies likely to vote to pass Penal Code with abortion ban
With the argument that the Penal Code needs to pass, sources say there is a majority intention among Chamber of Deputy legislators to vote in favor of the elimination of any exception to the strict ban on abortion in the Dominican Republic.

The senators had eliminated the exceptions of incest, rape or fetal abnormalities approved earlier by the deputies. Very influential evangelic and Catholic church representatives have a strong position against any kind of abortion and have been lobbying in Congress.

The deputies argue it is more important for the country to pass the renovated Penal Code. They say if they vote against the abortion clause the bill will continue to be stagnated in Congress where it has been delayed for a dozen years.


Will Chinese and Spanish companies fill the shoes of the Brazilian builders
An editorial in Diario Libre on 27 June 2017 puts the Dominican society on alert. It refers to comments made by an officer of a multilateral bank observing there would be setbacks in infrastructure in the Americas as a result of the Odebrecht scandal. The Brazilian company was the largest builder in the region, responsible for many major highways, bridges, and aqueduct projects. “It was a good business, an opportunity to promote corruption, and material enrichment supplanted moral conviction,” writes the editorialist.

The editorial pin points the observation made by an Odebrecht officer that it will only be a matter of time before the void left by Odebrecht is filled by Chinese and Spanish construction companies while the Brazilian firms regroup.

The editorial writer then asks: “How will the government handle itself, what will the legislative houses do when the new contracts arrive? For sure their hands will itch in anticipation.”


Free zone and mining exports up, the rest down
According to statistics from the Central Bank, if one takes out export free zone and mining, exports in general have decreased by 3.04% in 2016 when compared to 2015. In 2016, Dominican exports were US$2,578.7 million compared to the figure for 2015 that was US$2,659.6 million.

However, once mining is included there is an overall 4.4% increase in exports for an additional US$418.5 million over the same time period.

Export products showing increases were: bananas (29.5%), avocados (71.4%) and peppers (73.4%).


Five-year car imports banned as of 30 June 2017
The Customs Agency (DGA) announces the ban on imports of cars manufactured in 2011 or before. Vehicles that had been shipped before that date, as proven by the Bill of Lading, will be allowed to enter.

The DGA says the measure does not apply for vehicles consigned to diplomatic or consular missions and international organizations accredited in the country.


Santo Domingo and San Juan to be brothers
According to a press release, National District Mayor David Collado will visit San Juan de Puerto Rico this week to sign an agreement of brotherhood and cooperation between Santo Domingo and the Puerto Rican capital.

Collado will head a mission from Santo Domingo to San Juan this week. The agreement seeks to look for ways for mutual development, exchanges of initiatives and experiences as well as economic development.


Protests over lack of electricity
Up to 12 hour blackouts are irritating the population in Villa Juana, Villa Consuelo, Villas Agrícolas, Villa María, Villa Francisca, Guachupita, 24 de Abril, Espaillat, Luperón, 27 de Febrero, Capotillo and Gualey, in the northern areas of the National District (Santo Domingo). These areas are served by the EdeEste power distributor.

On Monday, 26 June 2017, protestors tossed garbage and rocks into the streets and burned tires. By Tuesday morning, El Seibo with Juan Erazo and from Marcos Ruiz to San Martín streets were covered with glass and broken bottles everywhere as a result of the protest.

In Villa Francisca, violent protestors blocked traffic and threw stones at vehicles.
One Villas Agrícolas resident, Edwin Mata Javier said they have been suffering from blackouts from 8am to 7pm.

There are reports that the deterioration in the supply of electricity is affecting other areas Santo Domingo, including Las Caobas, Bayona, Manoguayabo, Las Mercedes, Los Alcarrizos, Pedro Brand and Pantoja in Santo Domingo West and other areas near the Duarte Highway.

The president of the Dominican Businessmen Association, Iván de Jesús García, has complained that the long and frequent blackouts are hurting business and asked for the Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE) to come forth with an explanation. EdeEste is a government-owned power distributor.


Getting to know you by your sneakers
A feature in Listín Diario, published on 27 June 2017, observes that many young people involved in the world of crime wear status symbols such as brand name sneakers, baseball hats and other expensive items. The reporters say that when identifying crime suspects, the Police are taking notice of what people are wearing, especially when they seem to be far too expensive for the family or the individual’s income.

It turns out that the Police have set profiles of what many criminals wear. These profiles make it more likely a person may be detained and questioned, especially in the poorer neighborhoods.

The most popular sneakers are the brands of Jordan, Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Puma, with Jordan being the most popular with prices from RD$11,000 up to RD$25,000. A Jordan baseball cap costs from RD$1,500 to RD$3,500. In addition to expensive sneakers and baseball caps, the police are on the lookout for tattoos, unusual haircuts, and the use certain street slang. A young person could spend upwards of RD$50,000 to achieve that total urban mod look.

The feature says that store vendors never ask where the customer got the money to be able to afford the expensive goods.


Heat wave in the country
The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) is warning of a heat wave and is asking the population to keep hydrated, wear light clothing and stay out of the sun from11am to 4pm.

The reason for the high temperatures is a mass of low humidity air and a high concentration of Sahara dust in the atmosphere.

However, due to a tropical wave passing through, and wind from the east southeast, there will be an increase in cloud cover and the possibility of thunderstorms for Wednesday, 28 June 2017 in the provinces of Sánchez Ramírez, San Cristóbal, Monseñor Nouel (Bonao), La Vega, Dajabón, Elías Piña, San Pedro de Macorís and Greater Santo Domingo.


DR volleyball team readies to play World Grand Prix
The Dominican Republic senior women’s volleyball will join the 32 best teams in the world for the 2017 World Grand Prix to take place between 7 July and 6 August, at different venues around the world with the finals scheduled for Nanjing, China. The team has just returned from winning silver in the Pan Am Cup that took place in Lima, Peru, second to the United States.

The World Grand Prix teams for 2017 are: Belgium, Brazil, China, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey and the USA.

The Dominican Republic will play in Pool C1 against Japan, Netherlands and Thailand in the Holland on week 1, and then in Pool E1 against Belgium, Netherlands and Russia on week 2 in Russia. On week 3, the team will travel to Thailand to play in Group H1 against Italy, Thailand and Turkey.

The 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix is in its 25th edition.


Anthony Santos and Mark B launch their version of “Despacito”
Bachata legend Anthony Santos and urban music singer Mark B have launched their own urbanmerengue remix of the mega hit “Despacito”. The YouTube video was released on Saturday, 24 June 2017.

The catchy song about a budding romantic relationship was originally released by Puerto Rican vocalist Luis Fonsi, featuring Daddy Yankee. The song has topped the charts in 17 countries and its remix, featuring Justin Bieber, became No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Genius' Top Songs Chart.