Cuenca excess deaths are low but Covid toll is mounting; Shelters ask for help; Neighborhood crime watch; Windshield washers removed
Hola, Todos –
Otras cosas –
Titular – “Chat Comunitario” para evitar delitos (“Community Chat” to avoid crimes) – The Policía Nacional is boosting a project called “Chat Comunitario” to reduce insecurity in Azuay. The program requires citizen participation and a positive use of technology for organizing in different communities. You can go to the closest UPC and provide a cell phone number. Using WhatsApp, you can give information and early alerts to the police responsible for patrolling the area. In this way, suspicious, unusual, or criminal activities can be avoided. It would promote security in public spaces by reporting vandalism, destruction, attacks or physical maltreatment of vulnerable people. A Policía Nacional spokesperson said that organizing communities reduces opportunities for delinquency. At a national level, this program and prompt alerts have allowed 2,363 arrests for robbery, 712 burglaries, and breaking up 929 criminal gangs. Between 31/7 and 11/8, 339 people were picked up for drinking in public spaces.
Mayor reports on emergency response – Mayor Palacios reported that Azuay is the province in last place with excess mortalities which is 11% greater than the last 3 years, and he asked for citizen support in combating the virus. The city has delivered rapid tests, food baskets, and taken control of the regulations for bio-security. However, not all the statistics are encouraging since the number of deaths per day has reached 7 with half of them in Cuenca. Last week, 65% of all the sepelios (burials – our word for the day) were due to the pandemic. There have been 186 deaths in hospitals in Cuenca, and ECU-911 has removed 493 bodies in Azuay with 389 of those in Cuenca. The Mayor is working on buying ventilators and more tests. <Seems like a thin report.>
Shelters need help – The coronavirus has affected the ability of businesses that used to help shelters. Mensajeros de la Paz which helps people with disabilities, the Hogar Miguel Leon which houses seniors and homeless children, and the Hogar Tadeo Torres are spending money on pandemic related expenses leaving them short for their normal expenses. The Hogar Miguel Leon is asking for diapers <What size? For adults or babies or both?>, medical supplies, and non-perishable food. The two other shelters are in a similar situation.
University elections – The University Council of the U. of Cuenca has not set a date yet for electing a new rector. Before suspension of in person classes, the elections had been set for enero, 2021, but the Council of Higher Education resolved that they could be delayed until in person classes reconvened. Students will return to class in october, but a distancia (at a distance – virtually). Whenever they are held, this year the student votes will count for 50% of the total, up from 25% in the previous 5 years.
“Ser Bachiller” – La Secretaría Nacional de Educació Superior, Ciencia y Tecnología (Senescyt) has arranged for physical testing centers for students to take the Examen de Acceso a la Educación Superior (EAES). This test replaces the “Ser Bachiller” during the pandemic. Of the 198,685 students who signed up for the test, 7,141 don’t have internet or a computer. Dates and locations will be announced, but for now, the tests will be in the beginning of septiembre. Go to www.educacionsuperior.gob.ec for more info.
Operation to remove limpiaparabrisas (windshield cleaners) – Officers of the Guardia Ciudadana EMOV EP, Policía Nacional, Armed Forces and Intendencia de Policía conducted an operation to remove windshield washers from street corners. The controls were at intersections along 12 de Abril, Solano, 10 de Agosto, México y the Stadium sector. Some of the washers act aggressively and demand money.
Chinese fleet violates rules – After a month of monitoring the Chinese fishing fleet off the Galápagos, the Navy has determined the fleet has committed various infractions, but since it is not in territorial waters, Ecuador has no jurisdiction. Laws broken include turning off satellites systems, changing the names and ID of ships, and transferring cargo to the buques nodrizas (mother ships). Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrín also reported that they are working to keep Ecuadorian ships from supplying fuel to the fishing fleet, which has happened in the past.
Plastics tax – Collection of the Impuesto a los Consumos Especiales (ICE – Tax on Special Consumption), levied on camiseta type plastic bags, increased from$19,183.63 in junio to $27,782.23 in julio in Zone 6. The tax went into effect on 9/5/2020. The tax is $.04 on each bag which will rise to $.06 in 2021, and 2 cents per year until 2023 when it will be $.10. <How much do similar sized garbage bags cost? How else would you take out garbage?> The Gobierno Provincial del Azuay published the Ordinanza de Política Pública para Eliminación de Plásticos, an ordinance to eliminate single use plastics including bags, containers and straws. The ordinance was approved at its second and final hearing but has been delayed by the pandemic.
And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –