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On International Day of People with Disabilities, ‘Cultivating values’ aims at awareness

foto 2020 dia discapacitatsThe Formentera Social Welfare Department has put together an assortment of activities to educate islanders around this year’s International Day of People with Disabilities, 3 December. At one awareness-building event, local associations bringing together islanders with disabilities will plant trees in the garden of the adult day care centre.

Social welfare councillor Rafael Ramírez praised the associations’ members for their involvement and commitment, saying the work “is key to building visibility and promoting integration”. Ramírez highlighted the Consell de Formentera’s work to meet the needs of people with disabilities, calling guaranteeing every person’s rights “critical” and encouraging islanders to take part in the events.

Collaborators in the programme include the Eivissa-Formentera Association of People with Special Needs (Apneef); Pau Mayans Association for the Integration of People on the Autism Spectrum (Apmitea); the local chapter of the Spanish Cancer Association (Formentera-AECC); the local support group for chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and other conditions; the Eivissa-Formentera Group for Advanced Capacities and Talents (ACTEF) and the Pine Islands Group for Social and Educational Inclusion (APIES).

Programming in the days ahead:

‘Cultivating values’
On 3 December, Formentera associations participating in ‘Cultivating values’ will gather in the adult day care centre garden to plant trees and post messages to promote awareness. A manifesto will later be read by a spokesperson for local groups of people with functional diversity.

Information table
From 11.00am to 1.00pm the same day in Sant Francesc’s Plaça de la Constitució, Formentera functional diversity groups will tend an information stand and sell products handcrafted by islanders at the Centre de Dia.

Ràdio Illa round-table
From 10.00am to 11.00am on Tuesday 2 December, public radio station Ràdio Illa invites specialists in functional diversity and family members of functionally diverse individuals to discuss the Consell’s Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Evening of shorts: ‘Diversely able’
At 7.00pm on 11, 18, 22 and 29 December, islanders can catch an array of short-fil11s about diversity and inclusion, made possible by collaboration from Formentera Film and Soria International Short Film Fest. The first screening will take place at Casa del Poble de la Mola, and the following three in the Sala d’Actes of the Consell.

Space is limited and reservations required: administració.centredia@conselldeformentera.cat.

All December long, island crowds can catch Alexis and Bruno Morante’s Bla, Bla, Bla before Friday and Sunday night films at the Formentera cinema (Sala de Cultura).

27 November 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Formentera gets €470,000 to finance programmes for jobless

foto 2020 pla de xocThe Formentera Entrepreneurship Department reports that details of the Balearic Islands’ Emergency Employment Plan for 2020-2021 (Pla de Xoc per a l’Ocupació/PXO) were made public today, with planned local investment of nearly half a million euros in direct assistance to 175 islanders.

The package of emergency measures aims to offset the Covid-19 crisis with investments of €116,000 to shield people affected by the pandemic. They money will go to initiatives such SOIB’s Reactiva programme, which promotes employment opportunities for out-of-work islanders, or capacity building for furloughed and unemployed individuals.

After unveiling Formentera’s bespoke PXO rollout, Consell de Formentera deputy premiere and entrepreneurism councillor Ana Juan and head of the Balearic office for economic model and employment Llorenç Pou sat down with stakeholders from local unions and economic institutions.

Describing support for the island’s jobless as one of the Consell’s “fundamental commitments”, Councillor Juan cast inter-governmental collaboration and coordination on such initiatives as “now more important than ever”.

Eighty-seven per cent of the €470,000 package will benefit priority groups like individuals who have been directly affected by the new coronavirus, said the regional office chief. He also flagged €90,750 for long-term unemployed individuals, €117,500 for young people and €86,500 for islanders who have endured gender violence and those at risk of social exclusion.

Pou described PXO’s enactment as “imminent” and said most recruitment would occur in the coming weeks and run parallel to the introduction of various additional measures.

The 20-point plan rests on six fundamental axes

1. Public procurement
2. Business recovery
3. Employment
4. Training
5. Vocational guidance and job-matching
6. Modernisation

The plan sets aside €287,000 for public contracts, €81,000 for training, €64,250 for professional orientation and job-matching and €38,500 for employment creation.

Training at jobseekers’ centre
One modernisation strategy could include training programmes at SOIB–Formentera, said Pou. Tech training courses are also in the works and could start in January.

The director pointed out that the measures make good on the promise of the Balearic Islands Recovery Agreement (Pacte de Reactivació), an integral part of which is policy on quality equitable employment.

PXO’s €72,4 million in total investment will directly benefit more than thirty-three thousand people across the region in 2020 and 2021. An emergency injection of help for Covid-19-related joblessness, PXO marks the first step in creation of the new Quality Employment Plan (Pla d’Ocupació de Qualitat 2021-2023) by the regional ministry of economic model, tourism and labour.

26 November 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

16 Formentera bars and restaurants take part in ‘Sa Ruta des Pintxos’

foto 2020 Sa Ruta des PintxosThe Formentera Commerce Department reports that today came with details about ‘Sa Ruta des Pintxos’, a Pimef and Consell de Formentera initiative to inject the island's dining scene with dynamism this December.

12 noon to 2.00pm and 7.00pm to 9.00pm Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 3 to 9 December, a total of 16 bars and restaurants will participate by proposing pincho-and-drink combos for €3.50 or single pinchos for €1.50. A special drawing in January will be open to anyone who collects stamps from all 16 participating establishments.

Pimef, Formentera's association of small and medium-sized businesses, has come up with three prizes: €1,000 (first place); €100 dinner in participating restaurants (second place); wine selection (third place). Sa Ruta des Pintxos receives additional support from Carbónicas Tur.

Participants can vote for their favourite pincho and the winning establishment will receive a special prize, too.

Pimef's chair, Josep Mayans, said the initiative was about “encouraging islanders to spend money at local restaurants and other nearby businesses as well”, and said Covid-19 meant organisers had to rule out the option of food and drinks at this year's Christmas market, “which is why we're hoping initiatives like this one can help invigorate the sector”.

Deputy premiere Ana Juan said the Sa Ruta des Pintxos idea had come from restaurant owners, and expressed her hope it would be the first of many. “Times are tough for bars and restaurants”, she declared, “they need all the help they can get. Sa Ruta des Pintxos is a way to support our fellow islanders.”

26 November 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Formentera green-lights 2021 budget characterised by Covid-19 crisis and help for island’s most vulnerable

foto 2020 ple novIn today’s full-house November assembly of the Consell de Formentera, “yes” votes from the Gent per Formentera-PSOE cabinet meant the administration’s proposed 2021 budget —nearly €30.7 million, or a more than1.9% spending increase— went ahead despite abstention from Sa Unió opposition councillors.

Economy and finance councillor Bartomeu Escandell said the ongoing pandemic permeated the budget, stressing key components like “assistance for the most vulnerable, agriculture, families renting their home and other islanders affected by the Covid-19 crisis”.

Casting future prospects as “still uncertain” and the summer 2020 season as “short and atypical, but better than expected in May”, Escandell said the spending plan was “designed to help islanders and Formentera businesses weather a winter that’s expected to be tough” and described the guiding vision as “no islander be left behind”.

Helping people
€130,000 in food vouchers
€150,000 in renters’ assistance
€100,000 for students
Escoleta, music and dance school and municipal sports service fees waived
Urban estate tax rate cut

Economic stimulus
€150,000 for freelancers and business owners
Public thoroughfare occupancy tax rebates
Fees for reforms and upgrades waived
Slaughterhouse fees waived

Escandell explained that the plan redirects €736,500 toward keeping businesses operational and helping families and Formentera’s agricultural sector, with total spending in those areas approaching €2,070,000—a 55% increase on 2020 figures.

He additionally highlighted inflated investment capital and current transfers, flattening current income from the region and a reduction in the urban estate tax (IBI), with borrowing kept at zero.

Investment criteria
Sustainability is still the priority, said Escandell, pointing to the anticipated recovery of natural spaces like S’Estany des Peix as well as increasingly sustainable mobility and waste management. Escandell told assembly members to watch for phase two of reforms on avinguda Miramar in the centre of Es Pujols along with improvements on the access road to Sant Ferran school and the senior living centre plus a fitness circuit and skate and sports park in Sant Francesc.

Other headline projects in 2021 involve preserving heritage sites, like through the rehabilitation of Casa de Can Ramon and the creation of a cultural centre at the current site of Sant Ferran school, and by promoting islanders’ active participation in local affairs, such as with the Consell d’Entitats’ participatory spending initiative.

And finally, the elderly, adolescents and children constitute priorities in the budget too, with plans in place to open the island’s first old people’s home and the Sant Ferran escoleta (nursery), not to mention the scheduled construction of the Sant Ferran skate and sport park.

Unity of the Catalan language
The cabinet overcame opposition resistance to highlight certain government agencies and offices’ failure to recognise Catalan as a single, cohesive language, adopting a motion to “recognise and proclaim the integrality of the Catalan language, a fact that need not debase other existing denominations”. Councillor Raquel Guasch, chief of the language policy department, rejected attempts in places where Catalan enjoys official language status to “create barriers to normalised Catalan use and undermine protections of linguistic unitarity”. The measure also presses the central government to grant “public and official acknowledgment of the unity of the Catalan language”. Guasch bemoaned the lack of administrative and policy coordination that speakers of the language still endure, casting the failure as “a violation of rights”. “It’s time for the five regions where Catalan is spoken and the central government to come up with real policies recognising Catalan’s cohesiveness and the rights of those who speak it”, she insisted.

Adopting an appeal that was brought (and subsequently rejected) by the opposition and ultimately brokered by the cabinet, plenary members urged the Spanish Ministry of Energy Transition to monitor SARS-Cov2 in wastewater on the island. Environment councillor Antonio J. Sanz defended the proposal, saying monitoring could be carried out in “a remote area not well connected to the sewage network”. “Connections are typically limited between remote homes and between remote homes and urban homes. The studies executed so far have focused on water treatment plants in urban areas and areas that are well connected to the sewage grid”, asserted the councillor.

PCR screening
With one measure that was presented by the opposition and brokered by the cabinet, assembly members agreed to urge the Spanish Ministry of Health to require proof of PCR screening and negative Covid-19 status before travellers from mainland Spain can come to the Balearics. Consell premiere and tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer highlighted an additional caveat that would allow “similar faster or cheaper tests, particularly given the approach of Christmas and family get-togethers, so we can ensure visits happen safely — for travellers, hosts and the island at large”.

Cross-party backing was secured by Sa Unió party members’ proposal to revise and renovate road signs and change the names of the arterials constituting the local roads network.

Report from Rafael Ramírez
Councillor of social welfare, management and transparency Rafael Ramírez offered assembly members a review of his departments’ operations. He began his remarks by highlighting the challenge that the pandemic is posing for local government and asked for understanding if “decisions made in recent months failed to rise to the situation”.

“The pandemic laid bare the importance of quality public systems to safeguard the rights of islanders”, said Ramírez, describing the work of Formentera Social Welfare Department personnel as “a point of pride”: “Staff have reorganised services and updated the channels that make them accessible to islanders, adjusting to the evolving reality imposed by pandemic”.

After an overview of services assured by FSWD, the councillor detailed some of the advances made in the last twelve months by the Formentera Transparency Department, such as up-to-date data on FTD’s online portal and the Consell de Formentera website and coordination with the human resources department around collective bargaining talks.

Official proclamation
Plenary members struck unity behind a statement on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Equality councillor Vanessa Parellada plead the case for “a reiteration of our commitment to tackling violence against women and their children” and “vigilance against that which would put safeguards to our liberties at risk”.

Plenary members encouraged caution given policies of isolation and lockdown work to exacerbate the risk of domestic, sexual and gender violence, insisting the very fact made additional safeguards necessary. They described local government’s role in making the economy and society more equitable, inclusive and sustainable as “decisive and transformative”.

In the proclamation, councillors called for gender equality and women’s rights to stay central on the political agenda, demanding wide-reaching consensus-based action so policies aimed at stamping out gender violence can enjoy continued traction.

At 12 noon today, 25 November, plenary attendees observed a minute of silence for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

25 November 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

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