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Daily News - 18 March 1998

Decrees follow National Dialogue
As a follow up to the National Dialogue, the talks to establish priorities on the government agenda, President Leonel Fernández decreed the creation of the Superintendencia de Electricidad, the decentralizing of the Ministry of Public Health and the creation of a bond for the promotion of low cost housing. The government also decreed the elimination of all non-tax barriers to foreign trade (Decree 114-98).
The Superintendency for Electricity was created by Decree 118-98, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. It is the government entity that will regulate the electricity sector in the Dominican Republic, now that this sector is being almost completely passed to private business.
Decree 115-98 creates the Housing Bond that will subsidize the purchase of homes for persons making between three to 10 times the minimum salary of the public sector. Single women who head families, and large families, are being given first priority in the issuing of the bond.
Decree 113-98 creates the Comisión de Titulación de Terrenos Urbanos para Familias Ocupantes de Terrenos Propiedad del Estado Dominicano y de los Municipios. This commission will define the ownership status of state lands that have been occupied by individuals.
Carlos Dore Cabral, who coordinated the National Dialogue, said that the government will continue implementing the decisions reached in the National Dialogue.

Microsoft says D.R. leads Latin American sales growth
Microsoft Corporation announced that sales of its products in the Dominican Republic grew 77% last year, which is 25% more than the average for Latin America. Axel Steinman, general manager for the Caribbean for Microsoft was in Santo Domingo this week. He said that the Latin American market is the fastest growing for Microsoft in the world. He said that worldwide, Microsoft sales are growing 30-35%.

Senators busy at politics
The Senate failed to session as most of the senators are involved in political campaign activities. This was the sixth time since the work sessions of congress opened that there has not been enough quorum for the Senate to discuss important bills and other issues on their agenda. The Senate has only been able to work once since the 27 February opening of the 1998 congressional period. On 17 March only 14 of a total 30 senators attended. The Senate needs a minimum of 16 senators to session. Congressmen are the best paid government officers.

DA admits irregularity in bank fraud case
District Attorney Francisco Domínguez confirmed that the papers which ordered the jailing of two brothers accused of a bank fraud scheme against Bancrédito were missing in the case dosier handed to Judge Alexis Henríquez. The Supreme Court ordered the suspension of Judge Henríquez after the latter released the brothers that have been accused of a scheme whereby they appropriated over RD$5 million using ATM cards. The Supreme Court has ordered an in-depth investigation into the case and has also suspended Judge Juan Miguel Castillo Pantaleon who prepared the case that was sent to Judge Alexis Henriquez. Judge Henríquez ordered that the brothers be released from prison on grounds that there was no prison order against them. DA Domínguez has retained the brothers in jail.

New gasoline prices
New gasoline prices went into effect today, as the Ministry of Industry and Commerce ruled that leaded gasoline will now sell for RD$22, down from RD$23.40; unleaded gasoline is now selling for RD$27 down from RD$28.90, and gasoil is selling for RD$12.90 down from RD$13.70. Hector Valenzuela, the president of the Asociación Nacional de Distribuidores de Gasolina (Anadegas), that groups gas stations, felt that the government should have reduced gasoline prices more. He said the sales price for unleaded gasoline should be RD$24, the price of leaded RD$20 and the price of gasoil RD$12. The gasoline station owners complained that 36 hours was not enough to sell their inventories purchased at the higher price. The gasoline station owners have not complained in the past when the government has given short notice to increase prices.

Winner of advertising agency award
Mike Alfonseca, of Kraneo advertising agency, won the trophy, and a RD$100,000 check for the Gran Premio Rogelio Arturo Pellerano of the Concurso Creatividad 97 sponsored by the Listin Diario, the leading daily newspaper. The contest took place at the National Theater. Kraneo won for the creativity displayed in the JR Digital account advertising campaign. The agency was also recognized for its campaigns for Distribuidora Iby and Industrias Persio Abreu.

PLD candidates to electoral posts
The Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, the government party, was the first of the three majority parties to complete the registration of candidates for the municipal and congressional posts in the 16 May elections. The list of those registered are mostly members of the central committee of that organization. The PLD seeks to increase its congressional representation. The party has only one senate seat (Salcedo) and 14 deputy seats.
The members of the central committee of the party that seek to become senators are Franklin Almeyda (Santo Domingo); Julian Serulle, Santiago; Melanio Paredes, San Cristóbal; Juan de Dios Ogando, San Juan and Juan Ceballos Castillo, Duarte.

Candidates for the PRSC
The Partido Reformista Social Cristiano left the registration of its candidates to the congressional and municipal election of 16 May for the last minute. At 12:05 in the morning of 17 March, minutes after the midnight deadline, the party let it be known that Miguel Sanz, who won the primaries for mayor of Santo Domingo, would be the first deputy of the party. President Joaquín Balaguer, the PRSC party leader, asked Corporán de los Santos to run for mayor. Another of the surprises was that José Osvaldo Leger, who had left the party to campaign for José Francisco Peña Gómez in the 1996 presidential election, was back in the party running for senator for San Cristóbal, replacing Victor Hugo (Tito) Hernandez, present senator who had aspired to a re-election. Hernández is under investigation for corruption.
Candidates for aldermen are: Alexandra Izquierdo, Gregory Caimares, Miguel Franjul, Victor Arambole, George Rodríguez, Chany García, Gerardo Bogaert Marra, Nelson Tibies Burgos, Barón Suncar Mella, Carlos Batista Matos, Gerardo Antonio Tamayo, Antonio Bienvenido Baez, Joseito Mateo, Norma García, Julio González and Danilo Domínguez, among others.
The candidates for deputies are: Miguel Sanz Jiminián, Hector Marte, Emidio Mercedes, Luis Emilio Reyes, Leonardo Matos Berrido, Anibal Páez, Gilberto López, Andrés Vanderhorst, Milagro Diaz, Victor (Ito) Bisonó, Virgilio Alvarez Bonilla, Bienvenida Rodríguez and Maribel Gassó.
Candidates for senators are: Alexis Joaquín Castillo for Santo Domingo; Eduardo Estrella, Santiago; Nassin Serrat, Independencia; Angela Rafael Alvarez, Duarte; Eliseo Francisco (Cheo) Zorrilla, Bahoruco; Rafael Octavio Silverio, Puerto Plata; Cesar Arturo Abreu Fernández; La Vega; Amable Aristy Castro; Altagracia Miguel Berroa, Hato Mayor; Julio de Beras, Seibo; Carlos David Marte; Espaillat; Luis Toral, Barahona; Antonio Feliz Pérez, Pedernales; Jose Hazim, San Pedro de Macorís; Rodolfo Rincón Martínez, Sánchez Ramírez; Rogelio Betances, San Juan; Hector Rodríguez, Monte Cristi; Jose Osvaldo Leger, San Cristal; Juan Bautista Rojas Tabar, Salcedo; Jose Taveras Rodríguez, Valverde; Evy Espaillat, María Trinidad Sánchez; Salvador Gómez Gil, Monseñor Nouel; Alberto Guilamo, Monte Plata; Enrique Pujols, Samaná; Juan Rafael Peralta, Santiago Rodríguez; Roberto Santana, Peravia; Fernando Villalona, Dajabón; Pedro María Pérez Rossó, Azua; Frank Martínez, La Romana; Florentino Carvajal Suero, Elías Piña.

PRD candidates for municipal and congressional election
The Partido Revolucionario Dominicano was the last of the three major parties to register its candidates. Two hours after the closing of the deadline for the registration, the party completed the required documentation.
Candidates for the Senate for the PRD are: Milagros Ortíz Bosch, Santo Domingo; Fernando Alvarez Bogaert, Valverde; Vicente Sánchez Baret, Sánchez Ramírez; Milton Ray Guevara, Samaná; Francisco Medrano, La Vega; Jose Rafael Abinader, Santiago; Francisco González, Duarte; Ginette Bournigal de Jiménez, Puerto Plata; Antonio Rosario, San Cristóbal; Vicente Castillo, Peravia; Cesar Díaz Filpo, Azua; José González Espinosa, Barahona; Bernardo Alemán, Montecristi; Darío Gómez, Santiago Rodríguez; Rael Jiménez Castro, Dajabón; Manuel Ramírez Pérez, Elías Piña; Eladio Pérez, Salcedo; Dagoberto Rodríguez, Pedernales; and Francisco Jiménez, Bahoruco. Iván Rondón, Hato Mayor; Amauri Justo Duarte, El Seibo; Bienvenido Santana, La Romana; Hector Julio Baltazar, Higuey; Antonio del Villar, San Juan; Orlando de León Santana, San Pedro de Macorís; Enrique López, Monseñor Nouel.
Deputy candidates for Santo Domingo are: Hugo Tolentino Dipp, Andrés Matos, Rafael Gamundi, Bethzaida Santana, Winston Arnaud, José Rijo, Eligio Jáquez, Ivelisse Prats de Pérez, Alfredo Pachedo, Elías Wessin Chavez, Tirso Mejía Ricart, Franco Badía, Leonor Sánchez Baret; Stormy Reynoso, Rafael Vázquez, Fausto Liz, César Santiago, Fafa Taveras, Jose Francisco Peña Guaba, Valdez Hilario, among others.

Strike continues at UASD
The seven week old strike that has impeded the opening of the semester at the UASD continues. The rector of the UASD, Edylberto Cabral, has said that if the striking administration employees cannot reach an agreement with the UASD authorities, the university will order they be forcibly taken out of the institution. The employees have taken over the finance, registration and academic coordination offices. The University Council has ordered the expulsion of the striking directors of the employees union. He said the UASD is losing RD$2 million a day with the strike. Nearly 100,000 students are affected. Most of these students study free or pay very little at the university which is subsidized by the government. The UASD is probably the university in this country that pays the best salaries to its employees and professors.

Floods abroad, water shortages here
While El Niño has brought floods to the United States and South American nations, the contrary has happened in most of the Dominican Republic. Only Montecristi, in the northwest has recently suffered intense rains and floods. The rest of the land has suffered the effects of a long drought. President Leonel Fernandez declared that the supply of potable water is in an emergency state. The government allotted RD$185 million this week for an emergency fund to improve potable water supply. The drought has affected most of the water systems in the capital city of Santo Domingo, which are operating below capacity. The government is urging the rational use of potable water.

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