Dominican lawmakers “burned at the stake” in education row
Santo Domingo. – The Chamber of Deputies steamrolled the bill for the 2012 Budget into Law Thursday, trimming by less than half the respective allocations for the Judicial Branch and the City councils and while stopping short of the stipulated for Education, did in fact assigned the exact amount earmarked for the political parties, of 0.25% in non-electoral years and 0.5% in the others.
The controversial session prompted demonstrations in front of Congress, where the deputies who voted for the piece were symbolically “burned as traitors at the stake.”
The Congress, given that 2012 is an election year approved at least RD$1.4 billion for itself. The approval comes despite that the deputies of the opposition PRD party voted against it and amid allegations that some of them were deliberately absent. Of the deputies present 83 voted in favor and 57 against the piece.
Chamber president Abel Martinez whisked through the session which lasted less than 15 minutes, hammering the gavel several times to shush the lawmakers who called for the allocation of 4.0% of the Gross Domestic Product for Education, as wide sectors of the country demand.
Meanwhile dozens of demonstrators in front of Congress burned photos of the legislators who voted for the piece turning a deaf ear to the demands of a higher allotment for education.
“It’s that traitors are burned at the stake,” said Mario Bergés, coordinator of the Juan XXIII training center, which forms part of the more than 200 organizations which headed the push throughout the year for 4% of the GDP for education, as the law stipulates.