A third year of Government progressing toward a better Chile
President Michelle Bachelet's administration is celebrating another year in office working to achieve the development and equality that Chile deserves. A more just and inclusive society is beginning to take shape in every corner of the nation and changes that once seemed very distant are now a reality. Today, we are filled with optimism for a better Chile (#UnChileMejor)
Greater Social Protection
Support in March
In March, one of the most financially burdensome months of the year, more than 1.6 million families receive the Aporte Familiar Permanente (permanent family contribution), helping alleviate the month’s impact on the family budget. Today we are proud to say that in the four years the program has been in effect, 12.8 million contributions have been given directly to the families who need it most.
According to the 2016 National Socioeconomic Characterization Survey (CASEN), the number of families living in poverty in Chile declined between 2013 and 2015. The figure fell from 14.4% to 11.7%, meaning more than 400,000 people succeeded in leaving poverty behind.
Perfecting the Pension System
The 5% healthcare contributions paid by pensioners over 65 was eliminated, increasing the pension amount received. To ensure that senior citizens maintain the same healthcare rights, the State covers the difference in their healthcare contributions. Additionally, as of January 1, 2017, the Basic Solidarity Pension, which benefits more than 1.4 million people, was increased by 10% to 102,897 pesos.
Health: proper treatment is good for us
Creation of the High-Cost Medicine Fund
In 2015, the ‘Ricardo Soto’ law came into effect. It guarantees financial protection for the diagnosis and treatment of high-cost illnesses, regardless of the beneficiary’s health system or economic situation, thus providing security for families when it is most needed. For a list of covered illnesses see: www.minsal.cl/leyricarte/
In 2017, President Bachelet added three new pathologies, expanding coverage to 14 high-cost illnesses. In 2016, more than 3,500 people benefited from the program and another 3,000 are expected to receive coverage this year.
Implementation of the Food Labeling Law
This law aims to protect Chileans, especially children, from diseases associated with poor diet. Today, “HIGH IN” warning labels indicate when the calories, saturated fat, sugar or sodium levels in a food item exceed the limits established by the Health Ministry. The new regulations also improve the school environment, ensuring that healthy food is offered and restricting the advertising of “HIGH IN” foods to children under 14.
New doctors and specialists in the public health system
The government committed to training 4,000 new specialists and adding 1,400 primary care doctors. Consequently, more than 2,200 doctors were working toward specialization in 2016, while 740 additional primary care doctors are already providing medical advice and treating patients.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
Cervical cancer, mainly caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), kills more than 600 women of reproductive age (15-44) in Chile each year. Thanks to the Health Ministry’s vaccination program, which began in 2014, all young girls will be less likely to contract the disease.
Inclusive, Quality Education
Free Higher Education
Following the enactment of free education, young people today can pursue higher education without their family’s economic situation standing in the way of their dreams. In 2016, 139,864 young people, 10.7% of all students enrolled in higher education, benefited from the free education initiative. Today, during the first phase of 2017, 94,871 students and future students have already benefited. Additionally, 69,299 students received tuition scholarships and/or Fondo Solidario loans.
This year we took another step. The 30 participating universities were joined by another two universities, six professional institutes and six technical training centers. All these institutions have demonstrated quality as they prepare the professionals and technicians that Chile needs.
School Inclusion Law
The School Inclusion Law regulates student admissions, eliminates shared funding and prohibits profit-making by educational establishments that receive state support. The State will provide the funds necessary to gradually replace the monthly tuition paid by families, enabling them to choose where their children study without being hindered by their ability to pay. The law also gradually ends the arbitrary selection processes of schools, enabling parents and guardians to freely choose the most preferable school and educational project for their child.
More Public Safety
National Public Safety Plan “Safety for Everyone”
This plan empowers territories by focusing on coordination between the municipality, residents, the uniformed police and the government. The plan focuses on municipalities with higher crime rates, creating specific plans for each. Find out more at www.seguridadpublica.gov.cl/seguridad-para-todos
We have strengthened the effective application of sentences for robbery, theft and receiving stolen property and we have increased the penalties for repeat offenses, improving criminal prosecution and increasing the sentences for crimes against police officers.
Tougher sentences have been established for those who drive while intoxicated and cause accidents. This law also punishes those who flee the scene after causing an accident that results in damage and those who refuse to undergo a Breathalyzer or blood alcohol test or any other test to determine the presence of substances in the blood.
More Democracy, More Participation
A New Constitution for Chile
To build a more democratic and participatory country, in 2016 the participation stage of the constitutional process was carried out. This brought together men and women, social organizations, political movements and parties, academia, businesses and cultural organizations to deliberate on constitutional matters for the country. Meanwhile, in May 2016 the indigenous constitutional process began with the participation of Chile’s 9 indigenous groups: Aymara, Quechua, Lican Antai, Colla, Diaguita, Rapa Nui, Mapuche, Kawesqar and Yagán. 15,647 people belonging to 2,900 organizations participated in 545 meetings in this process.
Civil Union Accord
Just over one year after it was enacted, the Civil Union Accord has benefited more than 10,500 couples of the same and opposite sex who received civil union status through the Civil Registry. The law also regulates matters such as property regimes, inheritance and retirement and social security protection, among other aspects.
Voting for Chileans Living Abroad
Another important milestone in 2016 was the approval of voting rights for Chilean women and men living outside the country. Starting this year, Chilean citizens who live abroad can exercise their right to vote in a secure and transparent process. This was a major step forward for democracy and participation.
Greater Probity and Transparency
The Probity and Transparency Agenda is a set of proposals that reflect the government’s commitment to substantially improving the quality of politics and the exercise of public service. In that framework, the executive branch has pushed for a series of laws, notably:
- The Law to Strengthen and Improve the Transparency of Democracy, which completely changes how electoral campaigns are carried out, with more transparent financing and new ways to implement electoral advertising.
- The New Law on Political Parties, which among other measures establishes that parties must provide periodic accountability reports and internal information, such as annual balance sheets, updated by-laws and statements on the assets and interests of their leaders, in an open way that is accessible to everyone.
- The Law on Loss of Position, which establishes that any member of Congress, mayor, regional councilor or city councilperson may be removed from their position for serious violations of laws on transparency and limits and oversight of electoral spending.
- The Probity in Public Service Law, which expands the number of public positions and authorities who must declare their interests and assets, and also establishes that such declarations must be more complete and verified by the Comptroller General of the Republic.
- The law that establishes a proportional, inclusive electoral system for congressional elections, putting an end to the binomial system that had governed such elections since 1990.
Ministry of Women and Gender Equity
The Ministry of Women and Gender Equity was created, with the aim of advancing toward “gender equality, equal rights and the elimination of all forms of arbitrary discrimination against women.”
In 2016, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (Minvu) launched an innovative tool called Minvu Conecta–www.minvuconecta.cl–a new information system that provides guidance on the best housing program for the needs of each family and application processes and dates.
From 2014 to 2017 Chile was confronted by eight major natural disasters, including the Coquimbo earthquake of 2016, the fire in Valparaíso and the recent firestorm in January-February 2017, in addition to the 2010 earthquake. As of January 31 of this year, the government had allocated 34,972 subsidies to repair damaged homes or purchase new homes; more than 80% of these have been completed or are underway.
More Green Spaces
Chile currently has 294.8 hectares of urban open space distributed among its 15 regions. That’s equivalent to 730 soccer fields. By the end of President Bachelet’s administration, there will be 60 new urban parks, 26 more than the government’s original commitment. Visit www.parquesurbanosdechile.cl.
More Equity, More Transparency
Tariff Equity Law
The Tariff Equity Law, passed in June 2016, reduced the electricity rates paid by 2.7 million customers–that is, close to 10 million people throughout the country–by an average of 14%. With this measure, Chileans have access to more equitable pricing for a basic service. In addition, electricity prices fell by 63% in the successful public tender for supply awarded in 2016, ensuring clean, low-cost energy for future years.
More transparent markets and the fight against collusion
Today, Chileans are better protected against consumer abuse, with the establishment of a prison sentence of up to 10 years for the crime of collusion. In addition, those sentenced are barred from serving in any important public office for 5 years. The National Economic Prosecutor’s Office also has new tools for combating cartels, supervising transactions aimed at concentrating the market and detecting irregularities.