[ARCHIVO] Progress in 2016 – Moving toward a more just and participatory Chile
A fairer Chile
2016 marked the beginning of a new era for women in Chile, where one in every three women suffers or has suffered some type of violence. Today there are more institutions to protect women in Chile and defend gender equality. The main institution, the new ministry, is taking important steps toward a more equal society where this shameful statistic is no longer a reality. President Bachelet is convinced that everything done to benefit women benefits the entire country.
During 2016, more than 10 million people benefited from the Tariff Equity Law, which aims to eliminate unequal electricity charges. Until this year, there were important disparities between the amount charged for electricity in less populated areas and that charged in large cities. A family in Alto Bíobío paid up to 90% more than a family in Santiago. The new law also benefits municipalities, like Tocopilla or Coronel, that are home to the projects that produce the country’s electricity. Enacted in 2016, the regulation directly impacts the public. Households benefiting from the measure will see their electricity bills drop an average of 14%.
140,000 students studied for free in 2016! This is a momentous step in access to higher education and one of the most important milestones in the administration’s historic reform aiming to improve education in Chile— and more will benefit. A total of 44 higher education institutions, including technical training centers and professional institutes, have signed onto the free education initiative for 2017.
Late 2016 brought a great incentive to continue our progress: The National Socioeconomic Characterization (CASEN) Survey revealed that income poverty fell from 14.4% in 2013 to 11.7% in 2015. On hearing the news, President Bachelet remarked, “looking beyond the percentages, we are talking about 400,000 people who are no longer living in poverty”. Furthermore, the quantitative housing deficit (the number of families that do not have a home) has dropped 15% since 2013. Between 2013 and 2015, this indicator fell from 459,347 to 391,546 units—the lowest in history.
In 2016, a new law increased the sanctions for collusion to include mandatory prison time for those convicted. The measure, which aims to foster free competition, also increases fines, which now reach up to 30% of sales revenue during the period in which the crime occurred or up to double the economic benefit gained. The law favors less concentrated markets to the benefit of SMEs and consumers.
Meanwhile, the public and private sectors worked together in 2016 to advance toward a more complex economy that is capable of creating and incorporating innovation. A total of 22 measures were undertaken in three priority areas: financing, service exports and procedure simplification. One example of the latter is the innovative Escritorio Empresa (Business Desk) system. This virtual platform offers a convenient internet system that eliminates the need to process filings and requests in person. This service is most beneficial to entrepreneurs.
Improving quality of life for everyone
Improving the quality of life for the Chilean people has been a priority for President Bachelet’s administration. Thanks to several public safety initiatives, there is good news in 2016. The number of police reports dropped 6.6%, while crimes of greater social connotation fell in 11 of the country’s 15 regions. Browse the official statistics!
This year, a bill was submitted to increase basic pension and solidarity pension amounts by 10%. As a result, 1.3 million Chileans will see an increase in the state’s contribution to their pension. The President also called for a National Agreement to include the different social stakeholders who work to improve the future of all Chileans.
Another 2016 accomplishment was food labeling. Stickers now warn consumers when food products are high in critical nutrients that can impact health. The law helps thousands of citizens identify food that is high in sugar, sodium, saturated fat and calories. The initiative earned international recognition; the WHO called it an example for the rest of the Americas.
More participation, a better country!
We made progress toward a more democratic and participatory country this year. 200,000 citizens in Chile and abroad raised their voices and made their proposals heard for A Constitution for Chile. Today, these ideas are part of the Citizens’ Groundwork for the process of creating a new constitution.
2016 also brought another important milestone: Chileans living abroad were granted the right to vote. Beginning next year, 450,000 Chileans will be able to vote in a safe and transparent process—a huge step for democracy and involvement.