Thursday 27th October 2022.

October 27, 2022

Administrative and cleaning officials of the Arnulfo Arias Madrid hospital complex of the Social Security Fund (CSS) celebrated their second day on strike this Wednesday, in demand for salary improvements. These personnel went out again to protest on the Transístmica road, at the height of the hospital complex, to ask for answers to their requests. Faced with this situation, the CSS reiterated the call for dialogue with this group of workers of the entity. “Dialogue is open, but we cannot sit down to negotiate when the striking party uses forceful actions such as not allowing cleaning in hospital wards, not collecting waste bags, which is affecting a large number of patients” said Alex González, national executive director of Health Services and Benefits of the CSS. As a result of the protest measure of the workers of the Domestic Service Department of this hospital, the rooms have been dirty, with garbage and dangerous materials accumulated in the corridors. González indicated that, for the time being, the nursing and support staff of the complex proceeded to clean the beds and hospitalization rooms. However, the official denounced that the strikers hid the cleaning supplies, such as brooms, mops, garbage bags, among others, to prevent the tasks. González also pointed out that an average of 68 to 75 elective surgeries are performed daily, and between yesterday and today, only 15 could be performed. “This implies a delay and therefore these will have to be rescheduled. Similarly, medical appointments, laboratories and radiology studies reflect a low average in patient care as a result of the work stoppage, ”he added. The Ombudsman, Eduardo Leblanc, met at noon this Wednesday with leaders of the National Association of Administrative Officials of the Social Security Fund and the Association of Employees of the Social Security Fund to explain the proposal that the directors have and a mediation can be re-established. “There is an affectation not only to themselves but to third parties,” commented Leblanc, who urged the call to quickly reach consensus.

The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor of the Public Ministry, Itzel Koo, confirmed this Wednesday, that three people, including a former official from the Ministry of Health (Minsa), were arrested for their alleged involvement in a case of aggravated embezzlement against the entity. Koo specified that the case is related to a contract to provide the cleaning service for vehicles and ambulances that were used to transfer patients with covid-19. Koo stressed that this case is for the alleged commission of the crimes of aggravated embezzlement and money laundering. The prosecutor said that the former national director of administration of the Minsa used his position and “allowed the embezzlement of funds assigned to this institution.” She explained that public contracts were made in the name of a business name in which it allegedly did not have a structure to wash cars and that they subsequently made subcontracts in the name of other companies. “The amount established so far for this misappropriation of funds, to the detriment of the Ministry of Health, amounts to $1.2 million,” reported the prosecutor. Prosecutor Koo stated that three arrests were made this Wednesday in the Condado del Rey, Costa del Este and San Antonio sectors. She maintained that in addition to the former official, a foreigner related to the investigations was apprehended. “The location of an individual is given, who was the owner of the company name, who was assigned these public contracts for cleaning vehicles and ambulances of the Ministry of Health, without it providing these services, after the investigations were carried out Koo said. It was reported that the investigations continue, and new arrests of people related to this case are not ruled out.

The National Council of the National Institute for the Training and Use of Human Resources (Ifarhu) , in permanent session since October 24, announced that it will be recommended to implement a system so that, “in those cases of economic assistance granted that can be borne by the beneficiaries, could be converted into additional educational credit [loans]”. At the moment, no further details have been given on how this change would be implemented or what the parameters used to evaluate each case would be. This, according to information released on their social networks and in a statement published yesterday, October 25, will be “recommended” by a subcommission made up of the Comptroller General of the Nation and the National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information (Antai) . In Antai, they have not communicated anything about it and, at the close yesterday, they had not received formal communication about the formation of the subcommittee. On the other hand, the Ifarhu have not notified when it would begin to meet. The response by the Ifarhu to transform the aid provided into credits, which is not yet firm or executed, occurs despite the fact that citizens demand that the complete list of beneficiaries be published with the scholarships and economic aid granted by the entity. After days of questioning and revelations by different media of people close to deputies, officials and other politicians who receive onerous economic aid, little has been said by Ifarhu about making these aids transparent. It has been revealed, for example, that some of the beneficiaries of the “economic aid” are Diego Ábrego Díaz, son of deputy Roberto Ábrego, who received $190,000; Kathy Ramos, Gender Director of the National Assembly ($15,000); Paola Testa, daughter of Deputy Zulay Rodríguez ($61,000); María Alejandra Panay, daughter of the secretary general of the National Assembly, Quibián Panay, and former assistant to Meneses ($81,000), and Estefanía Guardia, ex-girlfriend of deputy Juan Diego Vásquez ($99,478), among others. One of the criteria to receive this aid is the economic situation of the candidate.

The Authority for Consumer Protection and Defense of Competition (Acodeco) announced that it sanctioned nearly $250,000 to several companies for selling rice brands that do not meet quality parameters. The entity began the collection of samples of 72 brands of national milled rice, to carry out the quality tests of this grain of the basic food basket again. Acodeco reported that the penalties have increased to $25,000 A few months ago it was found that of the 72 brands, 95% did not meet the quality parameters. Of that total, 33 brands were premium rice and 39 were specialty rice brands. The administrator of Acodeco, Jorge Quintero, asked the commercial establishments and mills to sell to the consumer what the product packaging says. According to the technical regulation DGNTI-Copanit 75-2002, special rice must contain at least 94.5% whole grains, 5% broken grains and 0.5% small rice. The first class rice, 70% whole grains, 25% broken grains and 5% rice. Quintero said that both businesses and mills are responsible for selling rice that does not meet quality parameters to consumers. Acodeco is also investigating why in some commercial establishments only special rice is found and premium rice is not offered to consumers.

A bill for the creation of a Vice Ministry of Climate Change was presented to the Cabinet Council by the Minister of the Environment, Milciades Concepción. The proposal is part of Bill 29-22, which establishes the regulatory framework for the national response to climate change, the Environment Ministry said in a statement. In the Cabinet Council session this Tuesday, the initiative was approved and Minister Concepción must present it to the National Assembly. It is emphasized that a national regulatory framework is necessary to manage international actions and commitments such as the Paris Agreement. The National Director of Climate Change of Miambiente, Ligia Castro, announced that the proposal contains the establishment of a national climate change cabinet, as well as an inter-institutional system that will address this issue. In addition, it is highlighted that the Vice Ministry of Climate Change will allow the systematization of information, in order to comply with the Paris Agreement. Likewise, it seeks to establish the regulations and requirements to participate in the national carbon market and for the transaction of negotiable climate financial instruments.

The National Police reported this Wednesday that eight people were arrested for allegedly being linked to a robbery in a jewelry store located on Via Veneto. Police reports highlight that among those apprehended there are two minors. In addition, three people were arrested in a car related to the robbery on Wednesday. It was reported that three vehicles participated in the incident and that one had a complaint for theft. During the police action, a firearm was seized and evidence apparently related to the incident was found. Ceferino Villarreal, national director of Citizen Security, reported that several of the subjects were apprehended in a building near the scene of the robbery.

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