President Piñera Speech in English
Chilean President Piñera Speech
"Good afternoon. For the first time in the history of Chile we have a had a cabinet meeting virtual, through internet and social media. These are very hard time for Chile and for the entire world as we face the hardest sanitary crisis in the last century, and in the face of these pandemic Coronavirus our government has three fundamental priorities.
First; and foremost, protect the health and life of all our fellow countryman and all those who live in chile. Second; ensure the supply of essential products and services because families need that we assure access to foods, medicine, and basic services like electricity, water, telecommunications, and many more. And third, protect jobs, protect income of our workers, and protect SME (small-medium enterprise) and give a boost to our economy. The Coronavirus crisis is affecting the entire world, economy, jobs, incomes, SMEs, and affecting severely the chilean families, and specially those most vulnerable and our middle class.
For these reasons the government has been adopting measures to protect those jobs, those incomes, those jobs. Because of that we put a protection plan and a boost plan for our economy the compromises a very large number and it means a huge effort from the government. 12 Billion US Dollars, almost five percent of our gross domestic product and within those measure there are some very urgent ones that are being discussed right now in congress and I want to ask parliamentarians that in a moment of so many emergencies that we work and do things with that same sense of urgency.
I ask for the congress hopefully to approve today the project that establishes a bond, the Covid-19 bond that will mean fifty thousand person per charge (person), that in average for the chilean family would be an input of one hundred twenty five thousand pesos and it will benefit almost three million families. They need it, and with urgency. So I request the congress we approve this so we can make this funds available the earliest possible.
Secondly, there is a project in congress meant to protect jobs and incomes of those who are affected by this Coronovirus crisis that allows them to, in the event they can't work because of the Coronavirus crisis they don't become without income by accessing the unemployment insurance benefits. These two legal projects are urgent and necessary.
Additionally the government has reached agreements with public utility service companies that will also mean a benefit and ease to millions and millions of fellow countrymen and specially those being the most vulnerable homes of our country.
In the electricity sector the agreement reached with the service companies allow to provide services and ease, to pay for the electric or light bills. During the sanctioned state of catastrophe they will suspend the suspension of electricity in the event of non-payments. The unpaid bills product of this situation will be delayed and pro-rated in the event following twelve months after the end of the state of catastrophe without any penalty nor interests. Also the clients that before the state of catastrophe had accumulated debts of up to ten unidad de fomento (285,720 pesos) will be able to prorate the payment of those debts in the twelve months after the end of the state of catastrophe.
This plan will benefit three million families and seven million compatriots that belong the 40% of the most vulnerable in this country and additionally those who for different reasons have impossibility paying or emergencies product of the coronavirus crisis.
In the sector of telecommunications we have reached an agreement that will allow us to implement a solidarity plan of connectivity. Absolutely for free for the next 60 days for those homes belonging to the 40% most vulnerable homes of this country. This solidarity plan of connectivity will be able to provide the most basic and essential services of telecommunications that will allow to surf the web and access social media and answer emails, and most importantly, access to all the official sites relating to Coronavirus and access the platform made available for all chileans by the ministry of education that is called aprendoenlinea.mineduc.cl that will allow for the suspension of classes to not mean the suspension of the learning and education process. And in consequence of this, those who can't pay for their plans, can call their service providers and request to change their plan to the solidarity plan from their current plan..
For sanitary services, by that I mean water and sewage, those residential clients belonging to the 40% most vulnerable, and consume less than ten cub meters per month may be able to postpone their payment for the duration of the state of catastrophe. This benefit will also be available for the elder over 60 years old with trouble payment, and for those who have lost their job during this state of emergency. The costs of these unpaid bills will be prorated in the bills of the next twelve months with no penalty nor interests. This will benefit one and half million families and for those families that need to and reach that agreement with their service providers.
Additionally, the government has a permanent subsidy program for a part or the whole water bill for all those vulnerable families which consume less that fifteen cubic meters per month. And in this occasion, for the families of the system 'Chile Seguridades y Oportunidades' and the families belonging to the system 'Chile Solidario' this subsidy will contribute to one hundred percent of the water bill for the first fifteen cubic meters of consumption. This subsidty will renew automatically for the duration of the state of emergency to allow families to avoid having to go renew this subsidy and protect their health.
I want to give recognition and value and thank the constructive attitudes and of collaboration that the companies have shown that are part of these agreements that will mean help to millions and millions of families.
I also want to thank the support to many parlamentarians, senators and congressman which have helped collaborate and have proposed ideas and many of them adopted in our proposals. I also want to thank and congratulate for the fast and efficient work that the minister of social development and family, the minister of energy, the minister of public works, and the minister of transport, who have been authors of these agreements that are very necessary for the chilean families.
I want to end by making a call to my fellow countrymen, there is no country in the world, even the most developed, that was prepared to face this pandemic. You can just see what is happening to the richest countries in the world, United States, and Europe, to corroborate this affirmation, but I also want to give the ease that in our country we started preparing early, since January to be up to the enormous challenges and demands that this pandemic Coronavirus has meant and will mean to our country. And that we have taken all the necessary measure at the right time to protect the health and life of our countrymen. We are convinced that together, united, and collaborating among us are we going to be able with government, companies, families and people and congress be able to overcome this pandemic and recover the normalcy of our lives. Thank you very much."
Youtube Link TVN Chile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0ZAs_df5N8&t=275s