Tuesday rains refill rivers; Azuay Assembly members sworn in; Voluntary IESS membership continues to grow; Suspected extortionists killed in Cotopaxi

Oct 25, 2023 | 0 comments

The five newly elected members of the National Assembly from Azuay Province received their certification Tuesday, pledging to work together for the benefit of local citizens.

The new legislators receiving their papers were Leonardo Berrezueta (Citizens’ Revolution); Sofía Sánchez (Construye); Diego Matovelle, (National Democratic Action); Adrián Castro (Actuemos); and Mabel Méndez (Citizens Revolution).

Azuay Province National Assembly members received their certifications from the national electoral council on Tuesday. (El Mercurio)

Azuay’s alternate Assembly members are Ana Gabriela Torres, Daniel Peñaranda, Norma Robles, Paula Heredia and Gustavo Jara.

Following the certification ceremony, the new Assembly members repeated a earlier pledge to work together for the welfare of Azuay Province residents. “We have great hopes for this Assembly despite its short term,” Berrezueta said. “We will work hard to avoid the gridlock of the last Assembly and believe we will have a good working relationship with our new president, Daniel Noboa.”

The National Electoral Council (CNE) has yet to announce the date when the new National Assembly will be seated although it has set a tentative target of mid-November.

Tuesday rains refill rivers
Moderate to heavy rain fell over much of Ecuador’s inter-Andean valley Tuesday, including Cuenca, raising river levels and hopes that drinking water shortages and power outages can be avoided. “These storms are very welcome and we hope that more will follow,” said Minister of Energy Fernando Santos. “For the first time in weeks, we experienced significant rain on the rivers near our electricity generation plants.”

In Cuenca, the Rios Tomebamba and Yanuncay temporarily returned to normal flow levels Tuesday night. The city’s public utility company, ETAPA, warned last week that drinking water restrictions and service interruptions could be necessary due to drought conditions.

Rainfall totals varied from 7 to 20.5 millimeters at four Cuenca recording stations.

Ecuador’s Meteorology Institute said Wednesday morning that more rain is possible through the remainder of the week.

Voluntary IESS membership continues to grow
Amid pledges from President-elect Daniel Noboa and the new National Assembly to retore the financial health of Ecuador’s Social Security (IESS) system, new data show a continuing increase in the number of voluntary members. By law, citizens and legal residents who are not obligatory members of IESS through their employment, are allowed to join with a monthly contribution based on their income.

In Azuay Province, there were 16,640 voluntary members in September compared to 12,673 in 2019. The IESS estimates are 2,200 are foreign resident members in the province.

The Social Security system has suffered from cash flow problems in paying monthly pensions since the government ended its 40% contribution in 2014. In addition, the system’s health care services have experienced severe staff, equipment and medicine shortages and has been unable to timely pay its bills to private health providers.

Police investigate deaths of suspected ‘vaccinators’ in Cotopaxi
Autopsies are being conducted on the bodies of two men beaten and burned by an angry crowd Saturday night in La Maná in the Cotopaxi Province. According to local residents, the men were extortionists, or “vaccinators,” who had been threatening local businesses.

Police say the men, who they identified as residents of Guayaquil, were surrounded by a crowd who beat them before dousing them with gasoline and setting them on fire. A third man was badly burned and is being treated at a hospital in Ambato.

When police attempted to stop the attack, they were driven back by a crowd estimated to number 1,000. Two police vehicles were badly damaged in the altercation.

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