In the most extensive Public Account speech since the return to democracy in Chile, President Gabriel Boric exposed this Thursday in Valparaíso what has been his almost 15 months at the head of the country. In more than three and a half hours exposing in front of Congress, the president grouped the axes of his government in social rights, security and sustainable development of the country.
Amid improvisations and script departures, Boric highlighted his government’s progress in legislative matters such as the minimum wage, 40 hours, the mining royalty, Fonasa’s zero co-payment or the TEA Law. Similarly, he praised the national economy calling it resilient. “We have avoided the economic crisis that many announced, and the economy is recovering with an admirable fiscal balance and foreign investment that in 2022 was higher than the last 9 years. Once again, as a government, we have done our homework in terms of spending and supporting investment and projects, but this result is the product of the efforts of workers and businessmen and the leadership of the government’s economic team,” he said.
He also raised his voice to make a strong self-criticism on issues such as the first constitutional convention and in turn called on the rest of the political world and authorities to continue with intelligence and collaboration and not make more confrontation. For this reason, he called for reaching a transversal agreement on pensions as a priority.
After this introspection, Boric also delivered some announcements, such as, for example, the elimination of the winter rate in the electricity distribution sector, which he hopes will be reflected in consumption and in the customer bill “to the brevity”. That is why the Ministry of Energy is working with private companies to carry out this announcement.
Regarding Public Security, the president said that “Chile as a whole is moved by the degree of violence that crime has reached in our territory.” Thus, he listed the 5 axes of said agenda: Strengthen State institutions such as the police, develop capacities to combat organized crime and control weapons, intervene with concrete plans in the territories according to their security problems, improve the tools of the State and strengthen our police forces and institutions and reach State agreements on the matter.
On the economy, Boric insisted in various instances, the need to carry out a tax reform to inject more resources into the fiscal coffers and to finance promises and government projects such as the cancellation of the CAE and the payment of the historical debt to teachers, as well the increase in the budget for security and public order, the right to a nursery without gender discrimination and the creation of a National Care System, among others.
In the area of Public Health, he appealed to reduce the waiting lists by 40% at the end of his government. While in sustainable development and the environment, he addressed the challenges in food security, in the water scarcity that affects the country, as well as having effective legislation to safeguard sea resources.
In the president’s opinion, the country is more orderly, with an “inflationary escalation that is stopped, with more controlled borders, while constitutional differences begin to be channeled,” he said.
After more than 210 minutes of presentation, which were listened to carefully by the cabinet of authorities of the O’Higgins Region in the presidential delegation, some impressions of the local representatives of the ruling party were known, among them the delegate Fabio López and the Seremi of Government, Patricia Torrealba.
For López, there were several important milestones that would mark the administration of the president from now to the end of his term, “with concrete solutions for people responding to their needs. Moving forward is urgent as the president says and calls for reaching agreements to promote important reforms such as pensions”, stressing the insistence on parliament to discuss the tax reform with “high vision”.
Regarding the announcements that the president listed in the speech, the delegate highlighted the Train Plan for Chile, the end of the winter tariff, the security project and the reinstatement of retired Carabineros in order to add some 900 more officials, the educational reactivation plan, the creation of new public security institutions (the State Intelligence System, the Cybersecurity Agency and the Victim Attention Service), the strengthening of municipalities in terms of security, etc. Likewise, the recognition of people who care for people who require it through the presentation this year of the National Care System. “Announcements that are not important to promote the government plan and that we, as a regional cabinet, are going to strongly promote in the region.”
Regarding the Royalty, the presidential delegate recalled that this tribute will provide resources to regional governments to strengthen the work of the mining communes and a redistributive fund to other communes, which “in this region will be more than twenty”, the beneficiaries. Although nothing was said about Rancagua, which so far is not considered a mining commune, and would not receive a peso from the aforementioned tax.
Asked about the lack of specific announcements and mentions for this region, Fabio López said that “in the next few hours we have a deployment in the respective regional ministerial portfolios, with local decreases”, in order to materialize this post-public account work.
In turn, Patricia Torrealba emphasized the statements of Gabriel Boric and the areas of public, citizen and economic security. “Today we are realizing what we did during the first year. Today more than 400 initiatives have reached Chilean families, and these axes are very important because we are going to make a breakdown of what is being worked on territorially and especially in future promises”, he adds along with the call made by the president, “ about not continuing with the disputes, time is running out and we must move forward in the most heartfelt demands of the Chilean families”.
According to congressman Raúl Soto (PPD), “in order to finance all these matters, more resources are required and without a tax reform this becomes unfeasible, so we must move forward in this discussion. “You have to control expectations, around the effort to this new reform that will be promoted. You have to see the new proposals, the amounts to be collected, and see for what needs it will reach us. We have to finance a way out of the issue of public safety, pensions, the issue of housing, etc. ”, he explained.
On the other side, the president of the UDI and senator for the region, Javier Macaya, publicly declared that “the issue of tax reform was mentioned for all social policies, and when the original reform was presented last year, for part of this government, there was talk of pensions and health. Today it is presented as the magic solution for all of which makes this topic hardly credible. And he added that “when you have an explosive increase in public officials hired in this government, and it is expected that the tax reform will be for all this, in the end they end up being nice words, but it is little adapted to what the country needs.”