|Head of State led regional Cabinet meeting|
|Friday, 11 August 2006|
The President of the Republic, Michelle Bachelet, led a Regional Cabinet meeting in La Serena which corresponds to the continuation of the Government’s work with local authorities – as has occurred in Iquique, Antofagasta & Talca – to define the area and regional posture regarding the roadmap provided on May 21, and the regional plan.
In this opportunity, several issues were discussed such as the development of agriculture, tourism, fishing and the boost of small and medium sized regional industries, among others. "This is a region that has very active public and private sectors, where there are universities, where it is possible to work with a consortium framework and look at how to develop mega-projects, as how clusters are developed, productive chains that allow these vocations to become a reality such as tourism, fishing, culture or entrepreneurship, thus improving the life of every one of its inhabitants of the IV Region".
Regarding infrastructure, the President confirmed the construction of El Bato dam as well as Aguas Negras [Black Waters] pass, both initiatives being very important from an agricultural point of view and the integration with Argentina. Concerning health, she also announced the study of the possibility of improving the assistance networks in the cities of La Serena, Coquimbo and Ovalle together with the primary care of smaller locations.
As far as tourism is concerned, she valued the commitment taken by the regional authorities to increase the number of tourists who currently arrive at the region, from 620 thousand to 1 million in the year 2010. "This is an extremely important goal, as tourism is an economic activity that generates resources and employment", she added.
Following the meeting with the local authorities, the President went to Vicuña, where she participated in the delivery of watering bonds, in the Puclaro reservoir area.
This project, located 40 kilometers from La Serena, started being built in 1996 and allows watering about 20.700 hectares, palliating the drought effects affecting the Elqui valley. This year the administration was transferred to the Junta de Vigilancia [Vigilance Assembly] of the River and its tributaries.
Twenty one watering bonds were handed out during the activity, in representation of the various canalista [water channel users] associations and area communities, benefiting 2.495 farmers belonging to the provinces of Elqui, Limarí & Choapa.
The President will perform an inspection visit to the remodeling works at San Juan de Dios Hospital in La Serena in the afternoon. The total investment is around 1.700 million pesos and includes the complete change of the roof of the clinic services, tap water pipe repairs, and sewage as well as the electric installations. This is being done thanks to the resources coming from the Programming Agreement between the Ministry of Health and the Regional Development Fund.
The works – which began in December of last year – will benefit an estimated population of about 150 thousand people. The end of the works is scheduled for the month of January, 2007.
Four vehicles will also be provided in this opportunity which form part of the vehicle exchange program for the region’s Hospitals and include ambulances and shuttles benefiting the Salamanca & Combarbalá Hospitals.
The entire project – 190 million pesos – in addition to the aforementioned vehicles, includes three basic ambulances for Combarbalá Hospital, one basic ambulance for Andacollo Hospital and one fully equipped ambulance for Illapel Hospital.