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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor presents Social Reconstruction and Violence Prevention Plan

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia on Tuesday presented the Social Reconstruction and Violence Prevention Plan, whose mission “is to ensure that we address the roots of violence and get all relevant sectors involved in carrying out the necessary actions to combat it and return peace and tranquility to our streets, communities and society in general,” the governor said at a press conference.

“The drafting of the Comprehensive Plan has been carried out using previous plans, initiatives, strategies and reports from other administrations and organizations, as well as other jurisdictions, from which multiple proposals and recommendations have arisen to prevent and combat violence in the short, medium and long term,” Pierluisi added.

The plan can be accessed through the website: As part of the presentation, a media campaign will be launched to publicize the objectives and actions included in the plan. After its publication, an additional public comment period will be opened to collect input from all social sectors. At the same time, the governor’s Advisory Committee will be establishing the order of priority of the strategies presented in each line of action. Subsequently, public hearings will be held throughout the island to guide the communities on the plan’s implementation.

Pierluisi added that “it was a process of great citizen participation, which included an open call to the public for ideas.”

“Our main objectives are to identify the causes of violence and at the same time provide a new framework of reference that provides tools for prevention and the promotion of a culture of peace and respect,” the governor said. “My priority has always been that what this plan contains comes from our people, because fighting against violence and creating that culture of peace that we want is the responsibility of every citizen of Puerto Rico.”

Executive Order 2023-023, signed by the governor, established the creation of the plan and created an advisory committee representing the different sectors of society. Government agencies were included such as the Family, Public Safety, Education, Health and Housing departments, as well as churches, nonprofit entities, private business, the media and academia, which led the efforts to make the sectors representative of the people. Based on those sectors, work was organized in multisector roundtables and work meetings with various collaborators that took place in October, November and December. A public call was also made to citizens to provide their input.

María del Carmen Muñoz, who heads the Advisory Committee, stated that “today marks a milestone in the modern history of Puerto Rico.”

“The different sectors of our society have come together in open collaboration to prioritize the prevention of violence,” she said. “Together we have outlined specific strategies and together we will implement them because we all need to live in a Puerto Rico where peace prevails.”

The plan establishes violence as a public health problem with an impact on all socioeconomic levels, both from the point of view of the victim and the perpetrator, including the individual, relational, community and social level.

“The result presents five axes of focus for the prevention of violence, because although much is done to address the problems of violence that afflict us, the purpose is to prevent it from happening and to modify behaviors that change the way in which we live, we relate,” the governor said. “An important element of these axes is that the Comprehensive Plan identifies the sectors of society that have to be involved to work on it. Our administration is fully committed to putting into practice the recommendations of this plan, since we take very seriously the responsibility that we have as a government to address these challenges.”

Pierluisi emphasized that each axis contains the corresponding actions that will be carried out during the plan’s implementation.

The five established axes are: (1) the transformation of behaviors toward a culture of peace, which was presented by Ana Yris Guzmán, co-founder and president of Nuestra Escuela; (2) the normalization of mental health care, which was presented by Dr. Marilú Cintrón, assistant secretary of Comprehensive Health Services in the Department of Health; (3) the reduction of inequality through economic development, which was presented by Marcos Santana Andújar, president of the Children and Youth Rights Network of Puerto Rico; (4) enabling the reconciliation of data and interagency services, which was presented by Pastor Otilio Ramón, chairman of the Theological University of the Caribbean’s board of directors; and (5) expanding and promoting public security mechanisms, which was presented by Lt. Aymee M. Alvarado Cardona, director of the Puerto Rico Police Bureau’s Gender Violence Unit.

It was pointed out that, in terms of transforming behaviors toward a culture of peace, work is being done with the equity and respect curriculum that is beginning to be implemented in the public education system. In addition, there are active campaigns against gender violence. and the Family Department launched the We Are Family campaign, among other initiatives.

Regarding normalizing mental health care, the Línea Pas is being actively promoted, the coverage of mental health services in the government’s Vital Plan was improved, a mental health services center was established in the former HURRA Hospital in Bayamón and a new psychiatric hospital will be built with an investment of over $85 million.

“As a government we still have a lot to do. The Comprehensive Plan highlights that to achieve the success we want, we need unity of purpose, we need to all row in the same direction,” the governor said. “Because there is no more important issue to unite us than the prevention of violence. Each act of violence harms its entire environment, impacts communities and leaves scars in the lives of our citizens that last forever. As a people we aspire to enact a society in which the dignity of the human being is inviolable and respect for life is our highest priority.”

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