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Daily News - 06 October 1998

Freeze on electoral funds to continue
The government has confirmed it will not release budgeted funds to the Junta Central Electoral, the body in charge of organizing presidential, municipal and congressional elections, until the courts rule on the demand placed by the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano and the Fuerza Nacional Progresista that questions the new members of the JCE board. The new board was unilaterally elected by the Senate, where the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano is majority. Since the 1994 political crisis, the boards of the JCE had been elected by consensus of the political parties and the civic society.
The retaining of the funds affects the program for the issuance of birth certificates in 17 public hospitals and other programs and might cause delays in the organization of the presidential elections of the year 2000.

PRD divided in four political groups
Hoy newspaper reported that there are two factions within the PRD political party. The newspaper reports there are four groups seeking control of the political party. Two of these groups - Rafael Subervi Bonilla and Hatuey Decamps - do not accept the presidency of Enmanuel Esquea Guerrero. Esquea Guerrero has tried to implement party decisions based on the rules and bylaws of the party. In the past, the party was ruled by the on-the-spot decisions of the late Dr. Jose Francisco Peña Gomez, who was flexible on many occasions, but was known as the strong man within the party.
Recently, Esquea Guerrero appointed Rafael Flores Estrella, provisionally in charge of finances. This decision had the support of Milagros Ortiz Bosch, Hipolito Mejia and Rafael Subervi Bonilla, the three other leading aspirants for the presidency. Flores replaced Miguel Vargas Maldonado, deemed a man of the trust of Hatuey Decamps.
Meanwhile, Hatuey Decamps has been criticized by other presidential aspirants for not taking a leave of absence from his role as secretary general of the party, a condition deemed as necessary for any aspirant to be chosen the party's presidential candidate for the year 2000 elections.

Parties say reform of constitution is untimely
The director of the Information, Analysis and Strategic Planning Unit of the Presidency, sociologist Carlos Doré proposed that political forces meet to agree upon a reform of the Constitution as a definite solution to the political crisis. His suggestion has met with the opposition of the PRD and the PRSC, the other leading political parties. Doré responded that his proposal was not for immediate implementation.

Ministry of Public Works knew about design of Paris Expressway
Former Mayor Rafael Suberví Bonilla responded to the recent statement by the Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña that there are irregularities in the design of the Paris Expressway by saying that these statements are strange because the Ministry of Public Works participated in the design of the project that was executed. The project was a joint Municipality of Santo Domingo-Ministry of Public Works project, which was to be funded 50-50 by both organizations. Suberví Bonilla said that the original cost of the project was RD$38 million but with the reforms introduced by Ministry of Public Works its cost increased to RD$78 million. Suberví said that there are sectors interested in not completing the expressway so that he does not get the credit. Suberví aspires to the presidential candidacy ont he PRD ticket for year 2000.

International aid retained for community groups
The Fernández administration is warehousing international aid received until the community groups that will be distributing this aid are organized in the affected municipalities. Deputy Administrative Secretary of the Presidency, in charge of the social plan of the Presidency, Emigdio Sosa explained that the assistance that has been provided to victims of the hurricane has been purchased with government funds. He said that the government is using an average of RD$4 million a day to provide food and construction material to the communities most affected by the hurricane.

CDE provides phone to denounce extortion
The general administrator of the Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad published advertisements in local dailies requesting citizens to notify its Security Department if contractors or employees request payments in order to make necessary repairs to restore power. The CDE recommends calling telephones 534-5040 and 534-5817 and notifying the number of the license plate of the vehicle, the identification number of the vehicle, as well as the name of the person, if possible. For the most part, the CDE has been commended as the most effective of all government organizations in the post-Hurricane days. The CDE restored power in most circuits of the city in less than four days after the hurricane.
The CDE attributed its quick response to its planning prior to the hurricane.

Report on the free zone industry
The executive director of the Dominican Association of Free Zones, Jose Torres, says that the principal concern of the executives of this sector is the housing situation of the workers. Torres commended the coordination of management and workers to repair both the free zones in order to reinitiate work and help workers repair their own homes. The free zones have distributed construction material to their workers and made extra payments to assist these with their repairs. Likewise, free meals are being distributed in most free zone parks.
Fifty percent of the free zones of the country did not suffer damages as these are located in the north or northeast of the country. Likewise, another 12% of the total production is located in three private parks located in Santo Domingo (Itabo, Las Americas and San Isidro), that are built of concrete structures. Those most affected are in La Romana and San Pedro and estimates are that these will be back into operation by the end of October.
According to a report in El Siglo, the director of the Corporación de Fomento Industrial, Jose Tomás Pérez estimates that free zone exports will be US$2,800 million this year, up from US$2,500 million last year, despite the effects of the hurricane.
He reported that the most affected free zones are located in San Pedro de Macoris, where 50% of the plants suffered problems with their roofs. Likewise, the Hato Mayor free zone suffered major damages, with two plants losing roofs and part of their walls. In Los Alcarrizos, about 40% of the plants suffered damages, as well as those in La Romana and Higuey.
He explained that most of these plants are insured and that 60% of the companies in San Pedro de Macoris are back in operation. He estimated that 80% will be back into operation this week.
He said there are some companies not back into operation because they suffered heavy losses to the raw materials and the machinery and structural damages that will keep them out of operation for one or two months
The CFI has 270 industrial palants located in 13 parks. Those located in the North, Noreast and the Cibao Central -- La Vega, San Francisco de Macoris, Bonao and Moca did not suffer damages.
The CFI estimates the free zone parks will be back to normal in a month's time.

New bill would prohibit settlements on river sides
The government is working on a bill that would drastically and effectively prohibit Dominicans from settling in areas near rivers. Joaquin Geronimo, director of the National Institute of Housing (INVI) told the press that a mass effort to build prefabricated houses for those most affected will be carried out by the INVI. He estimated at 170,000 the affected houses of which 48,000 need total reconstruction, or 10% of the total of Dominican homes.
He said the bill will be submitted to Congress soon as nothing is achieved with relocating the families that reside in the river sides in cities and rural areas, if these areas are occupied again. This includes the areas of Mesopotamia in San Juan de la Maguana and the Ozama and Isabela river sides in the National District that will be converted into an ecological park area.

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