Local June 6, 2013 | 7:41 am

Dominican President confirms construction of controversial highway

San Juan de la M., Dom. Rep.- The call for tenders to build the Cibao-Sur cross mountain highway, to link Santiago in the north with San Juan in the south, is open, president Danilo Medina revealed Wednesday after a ceremony marking World Environment Day.

"The tender to start it is in process," the president said minutes before cutting the ribbon on a forest nursery at Los Gajitos, to stress the government’s effort to protect the upper reaches of the San Juan river’s upper basin and restore the area’s forest cover.

The controversial highway, whose critics cite potentially disastrous damage to the ecosystems of two national parks, could boost agriculture and ecotourism in both regions.

Mystic drums

A few minutes after Medina’s arrival at 8:55am, the crowd swayed to the beat of drums from the group "Oliborio Mateo," a mystical folk hero of the region.

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