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  • The PND will now be sent to the Senate plenary for review before the May 7 deadline.

    The PND will now be sent to the Senate plenary for review before the May 7 deadline. | Photo: EFE file

Published 3 May 2019
Opinion

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) court was forwarded to the high court to rule on the legality.

Late Thursday, Colombia’s House of Representatives finally approved the National Development Plan (PND) 2018-2022 which targets education, employment, environment, safety, equity and entrepreneurship in the Latin American country.

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Several important amendments were made to the PND prior to eventual approval of the controversial plan during its subsequent tumultuous vote. The Congress eliminated 51 articles of the bill or 15% of the total 349 articles. 

Chamber representative Oscar Dario Perez disclosed that there were 4,043 proposals, 3,411 changes to the articles and 167 amendments to the plan before the 349 agreed articles were submitted in the project process.

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) court, which was created as part of a 2016 peace deal between the Colombian government and former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) members, was forwarded to the high court to rule on the legality of a Senate vote on the matter of making changes to the agreement.

"There was no qualified majority to sink the objections ... so we are in the hands of the Constitutional Court and we are confident that everything will go well for the country," Interior Minister Nancy Patricia Gutierrez posted to her Twitter account.

Notably, the articles related to the problematic and widely rejected pension reforms were discarded; and a paragraph was added that compels the government to honor agreements, reached with the Indigenous Minga, regarding hundreds of millions of dollars designated for investment across several sectors.

Director of the National Planning Department, Gloria Alonso, assured that with the approval of the PND "the national government will fulfill the commitments with the Indigenous peoples, just as it has been done with the Campesinos."

Perez, of the ruling party Democratic Center, added that "this plan is not miraculous but it is a route in the right direction to meet the needs of the community."

The original initiative was presented by President Ivan Duque, last February.

"A final text that is immensely better than what came (to the House) has been released," Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla remarked and admitted that the "contributions" and criticism of the parties allowed to improve the project.

President of the House of Representatives, Alejandro Carlos Chacon, commented, to reporters, that the revised plan was "well thought out."

In February, Duque put forward a new plan, "Pact for Colombia, Pact for Equity," which he stated aims to remove 1.5 million Colombians from extreme poverty in four years, improvement of 600,000 homes for the most vulnerable and achieve 60 percent coverage of higher education.

One of the initiative’s key goals is "that nearly 300,000 small producers enter the scheme of Agriculture by Contract." The development plan also challenges micro, small, medium and large companies to transform society by creating of quality jobs.

The PND will now be sent to the Senate plenary for review before the May 7 deadline.

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