Preview: DR1 - Daily Dominican Republic News
DR1 - Daily Dominican Republic News
Dominican Republic News & Travel Information Service
Published: 08 Jul 2016 19:37:59 +0400
Last Build Date: 08 Jul 2016 19:37:59 +0400
Medina says the best days are ahead
After receiving his electoral certificate from the Central Electoral Board (JCE) at the event held on 7 July 2016 at the new convention center of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, President Danilo Medina spoke in optimistic terms about the future for the country and called his second and last term in office a new phase for progress for all Dominicans. He was accompanied by Vice President Margarita Cedeno who will also serve her second term as Vice President.
"Of this you can be sure: The best of our country is in the future, and I mean the near future. We will seize this moment together," he said.
Also present at the event were the elected legislators.
The final vote count of the JCE showed Medina of the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) having won with 2,843,956 votes for 61.76% of the votes.
Upon receiving the electoral certificate, Medina committed to do all he could to encourage lawmakers in congress to pass the Bill of Political Parties and that is intended to transform the Electoral Law. The President said both legislative initiatives are key for the democratic consolidation of the country.
Medina controls CNM that chooses Supreme Court justices
President Danilo Medina may have control over the majority of justices on the National Council of the Magristracy (CNM), the government body in charge of choosing Supreme Court justices. This means that Medina essentially has control of the judiciary branch of government. The power play in the judiciary resulted from the recent decisions of the Political Committee of the ruling PLD. It is known that the PLD is basically divided in those who have remained loyal to former President Leonel Fernandez, who is president of the PLD, and to President Danilo Medina.
As reported in a political analysis in the Listin Diario, President Medina is ensured of at least four votes in the CNM eight-member chamber, and five if there is a tie because the President's vote is worth two votes. New judges will be chosen this year. The President of the Republic is in charge with convening the CNM.
The analysis reveals that the Political Committee of the PLD chose Lucia Medina, sister to the President, to preside over the Senate, and Reinaldo Pared Perez would preside over the Chamber of Deputies. While Reinaldo Pared Perez is regarded as a loyal follower of former President Leonel Fernandez, his brothers are high-ranking officers in the Medina administration, including one brother who is the personal assistant to the President.
The fourth vote would be that of the prosecutor general, a person who Medina appointed and who could be influenced by the President. Other members of the CNM are the president of the Supreme Court of Justice (Mariano German, a former officer in the Leonel Fernandez government, and a Supreme Court justice chosen by the justices. The two remaining members are a senator and a deputy representing the largest minority party in Congress n in this case, the PRM.
It is expected that the CNM will be convened this year to name of the justices of the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) whose members complete their term on 16 August 2016. Also a Supreme Court of Justice judge and another judge for the Constitutional Tribunal will need to be replaced - having reached the 75 year age limit for the positions. Justices that will retire are Victor Gomez Berges of the Constitutional Tribunal and Martha Olga Garcia Santamaria of the Supreme Court of Justice.
In 2017, the CNM will also need to replace four justices of the Constitutional Tribunal that had been appointed for six years. In addition to Victor Gomez Berges, the others are Leyda Pina, Ildefonso Reyes and Jottin Cury. In 2018, justices who were appointed in 2011 to seven year terms will need to be replaced.
Listin Diario analysis observes that all these changes will happen with a CNM under the control of the ruling political party, with strongest influence by President Danilo Medina surpassing his predecessor, former President Leonel Fernandez.
No agreement yet with public hospital staff
The Dominican Medical Association (CMD) is not satisfied with what the government has offered to improve conditions for staff at public hospitals. On the CMD agenda are topics such as pension plans, public service networks, wage increases, the budget for primary health care, housing plans for staff, among others.
Public Health Superintendent, Pedro Luis Castellanos, nevertheless, is optimistic that the talks will continue and an agreement will eventually be reached. He said more advances than ever have already been reached responding to a question during an interview on Enfoque Matinal morning Channel 37 TV show with Altagracia Salazar, Edith Febles and Franklin Guerrero.
On the Presidency webpage, the Medina government has gone public saying they have offered pension plans to those staff over the age 60 and have more than 20 years of service in the public hospitals. This would benefit 8,000 persons.
The website added that health plans would be included in the benefit packages.
The government has also proposed that staff serving in two different positions of 3-4 hours of work in different hospitals be integrated into one position with 6-8 hours of service, with their wages commensurate with the total hours served. This would benefit 20,000 health care professionals who are currently working in multiple institutions.
The government has also proposed that physicians who would be affected by the reorganization of job appointments receive a wage increase of at least 20%.
The government proposal would mean the monthly wages of physicians would increase from RD$36,000 to RD$67,000, including incentives.
Factions within the CMD have called for a global wage increase for all employees. The government responded with a proposal for a 30% increase divided in 20% for 2017 and 10% more in 2018.
Minister of Public Health, Altagracia Guzman Marcelino, has called on the representatives of the CMD to continue the dialogue with the government as the most effective way to achieve work related improvements so that all employees, including nurses, medics and medical technicians in the health care sector could enjoy increased benefits of dedicating their lives to serving the public. She stressed that the government seeks a comprehensive improvement in the health sector.
Guzman Marcelino noted that the CMD is requesting a 60% global wage increase, which she says would be more of the same because it does not include incentives for medics working in remote areas, such as the border region. She explained the government proposal includes changes in the appointments of the medics according to training and position so that all are compensated in accordance to the work conducted. She confirmed the government was willing to accept a global increase of 20% in 2017, with incentives for 10% for medics submitting to a recertification program, 10% for performance and 10% for working in primary care. The government wants to grant wage increases based on performance indicators and positions outside of major urban areas.
But the president of the CMD, Dr. Waldo Ariel Suero, has said that the government proposals are unacceptable. He said the proposal to pension 6,000 health sector workers, and create only 700 new appointments would create a health care provider deficit in the sector.
Talks began on 14 April 2016, under the mediation of the rector of the Santo Domingo Catholic University, Father Jesus Castro and the participation of representatives of the CMD, and the government represented by Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo. In addition, Drs. Cesar Mella, Jose Joaquin Puello and Julio Amado Castanos Guzman are participating as observers.
DR does poorly in education quality study
Educa, the education-oriented non-governmental organization, released findings of a recent study that focused on the quality of education in the country. The conclusion is that while progress has been made, the DR continues to do poorly in academic achievement compared to the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. The study revealed the public school students in the country have not yet met minimum acceptable learning standards.
The findings, of the Third Terce regional study, Progresses in Education 2015, presented on 7 July 2016 by Educa, consisted of evaluations of students from 15 Latin American and the Caribbean nations.
In the study, the DR scored the lowest levels for reading, mathematics and sciences in third and sixth grade of regional countries. What makes these finding more troubling is that countries with lower levels of economic development and less average spending per student than the Dominican Republic, managed to score higher than the DR in the education assessments. However, the study did reveal that the Dominican Republic posted the highest percent improvement in academic achievement compared to the previous results. Since 2013, the government has been investing 4% of GDP in education, an increase of more than 70% compared to 2012.
The study confirms that the country has seen advances in universal access to elementary education and there is a progressive in the number of students attending high school.
The report recommends strengthening teacher training programs, including early childhood education modules. The Ministry of Education should conduct regular evaluations of their personnel and continue to increase access to early education, while expanding the model of the extended school day, especially in areas with a high percentage of families that are socially vulnerable.
Jose Marmol, president of Educa, alerted for the government to use the resources necessary to avoid that children that participate in the extended school programs perform the same as those that previously received less class hours.
The study was designed and prepared by Educa with technical and editorial support from the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, D.C, the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Union AECID program.
40 foreign professors to train public school teachers
The Ministry of Education announced that in August 2016, a special program will be launched to train public school teachers.
Foreign experts have been hired to teach the local teachers, as reported in Diario Libre.
The program will begin with 40 experts that will teach in the education programs at the UASD and at the Instituto Superior de Formacion Docente Salome Urena (Isfodosu).
In 2017, three other universities will enter the program, with opportunities for other universities to join the program in the future.
The need of such a training program for teachers was uncovered when only 4,000 teachers of a total of 20,000 educators passed the state sanctioned teacher evaluations.
Deadline extension for temporary residence permits
Minister of Interior and Police Ramon (Monchy) Fadul has said that the government is considering a year extension of the expiration date for temporary residence permits issued to Haitians that have not yet been able to obtain their Haitian passports, as reported in El Dia. The extension would benefit 143,000 Haitians that applied under the National Foreigner Legalization Plan (PNRE). The number of Haitians is half of those who had applied under the plan. The other half complete the requirements to receive two year temporary residence permits.
Fadul said the decision would be taken soon. He said the biometric data on those people are already in the system.
What's going on at the Instituto Duartiano?
Conservation architect Mauricia Dominguez calls the attention to the construction works being carried out by the Supervisory Office of Public Works of the Presidency (OISOE) at the Instituto Duartiano, the founding father Juan Pablo Duarte Museum. The architect decried that a major metallic structure is being placed on the second floor of the Calle Isabel la Catolica house and construction works appear to have taken hold of the back patios. Dominguez is calling for the Direccion de Patrimonio Monumental and the Direccion de Patrimonio del Ayuntamiento to reveal what modifications are being done to the Instituto Duartiano.
SIE revokes Luz y Fuerza bill increases in Samana
The Superintendence of Electricity (SIE) ordered on Thursday, 7 July 2016, that Compania Luz y Fuerza in Las Terrenas annul June billings to clients that had received rate increases. The SIE ordered that the company adjust customer bills to the same rate categories that were in place in May 2016. The SIE says it is continuing to review customer complaints related to the rate increases.
The SIE said that Luz y Fuerza in Las Terrenas was authorized to advise certain clients that in 45 days they would receive a bill for which they should choose between the BTD rate or the BTG rate. The SIE says the actual rate increase was not authorized for billing.
DR goes for gold in 15th Pan Am Volleyball Cup
The Dominican women's volleyball team is on a roll in the 15th Norceca Women Pan American Cup taking place in Santo Domingo 30 June-11 July 2016. The Dominican women will play again at 8pm on Saturday, 9 July at the Ricardo Arias Volleyball Pavilion of the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center after winning undefeated and losing only one set (to Colombia) their Group B. Coach Marcos Kwiek attributed to the harmony of the team their victories.
The United States was the winner of Group A, also winning their five games but losing two sets (to Cuba).
The tournament continues today at the volleyball pavilion with clashes between Cuba and Canada and Puerto Rico and Argentina.
Participating in the tournament are: , Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, the United States and Venezuela. ?
Tickets to the next games are on sale online at Uepa Tickets and at Jumbo and El Nacional supermarkets. The admission price at the Olympic Pavilion is RD$330.