Candidate Delgado Altieri details proposal to address violence against women

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @PCorreaHenry

Special to The Star

Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Charlie Delgado Altieri on Monday presented his government proposal to address violence against women in Puerto Rico amid being heavily criticized in recent days for for his take on the gender perspective in education and LGBTQIAP+ issues.

Gathered at PDP headquarters in Puerta de Tierra with every female-identifying leader and candidate for both the Legislature and various municipalities in the party, Delgado said that if he were to become the governor of Puerto Rico he would immediately declare a state of emergency due to violence against women via an executive order. He said further that the documents created for the order, which would go into effect in January 2021, would be “dynamic” as “things are not written in stone, and the country requires that each situation be handled according to the changes that are taking place.”

“[Puerto Rico’s] second transformation doesn’t have to do with dollars and cents, nor is it about an economic or fiscal transformation,” the PDP president said. “Puerto Rico’s transformation has to do with our social situations, and the great polarization that exists in our country on many social topics; it calls upon us to, instead of going to a place of controversy and confrontation, that these conversations make us sit down at the table to seek a discussion, to look for convergence.”

Some of the measures and bills that the Isabela mayor mentioned for inclusion in his executive order are to identify funds and budget items to implement the state of emergency, establish effective protocols for managing protection orders, strengthen early alert systems, create an advisory council on violence against women that presents quarterly reports of actions taken and results obtained, prioritize the prompt conducting of appropriate tests after sexual assault at the Forensic Sciences Institute, and formulate public policies to have “zero impunity in cases of violence against women.”

“I will separate a recurrent annual allocation for emergency and temporary housing shelters for domestic violence victims,” Delgado said. “This measure will be key to ensuring that shelters remain operating without interruption.”

Delgado Altieri struggles again to respond on gender and LGBTQIAP+ issues

Even though Delgado said his proposed executive order would include implementing a teaching curriculum with gender perspective “based on equality and respect for each person,” he added that the curriculum must also include the evaluation, teamwork and recommendations of “all interest groups,” including religious groups. When a member of the press asked why include churches in a discussion that involves an education issue, after a long pause, he said that “churches, communities, non-profit organizations, and you can keep mentioning [others], all are components of society.”

“We can’t exclude, and if I say that I leave out the LGBTT community, they say it’s bad. So no, it’s equality, it’s participation from all sectors of our country, or, if not, we will be excluding,” he said. “I reiterate: this country, like many other countries that have been in wars and deep controversies, in this press conference, shows that it needs dialogue and convergence.”

Meanwhile, the PDP gubernatorial candidate said he will insist on finding convergence among every sector even if clashing sectors don’t end up in agreement on the teaching curriculum with a gender perspective.

“There will always be people who will come out saying, ‘I don’t like what I saw,’” Delgado said. “We can’t please everyone. You have to put in the most effort to find that consensus.”

When the Star asked what the PDP candidate will do differently to forge an agreement on education with gender perspective with much of the religious sector being so vocal in its opposition to that educational approach, the PDP president said “he will make the religious sector participate.”

As for the trans community, which was not mentioned once in the government proposal even though five trans women have been killed in 2020 and their cases remain unsolved, Delgado said such crimes are intolerable and that he will reinforce public policies because he has friends from that community and he “doesn’t want anything bad to happen to them.”