This Thursday December 11, Dr. Esteban Valenzuela van Treek, president of the Presidential Assessor Commission for Decentralization and Regional Development, presented –in the context of colloquiums that Center for Optics and Photonics, from Universidad de Concepción, uses to organize- main conclusions and work proposals delivered to President Michelle Bachelet, last October.
In his talk “Keys of the committee for decentralization report and centralist obstacles”, Valenzuela, who is also academician in Universidad Alberto Hurtado, deepened in what is coming on decentralization matters, including very relevant topics, such as popular direct election of regional authorities and provincial delegates, knowledge and real funding transfer to regional government through an incoming law, and taking concrete actions to expedite public procedures, especially at municipalities, and intercultural recognition, between other topics.
“We know that people are worried in Concepción. I think the most important thing is that there has to be a compliance of commitment made by the President, although political parties are very reticent. I think we will have a knowledge transfer process and a funding transfer law to regions that is going to be much argued. That’s the moment for civil society, regional political parties’ directions and universities to play a role. This is a petition to all regions, but, particularly, Concepción has been the regionalism lighthouse. It’s very important that you lead and empower yourselves very strongly, as you’ve historically done”, Valenzuela said, emphasizing role Universities must play in this process. “When one sees compared experiences with another countries, all significant political renovations come from an alliance between social movements and university world. What I think is that if there are many obstacles in the process, it is expectable a strong voice in these topics from both avowed state universities in this region, Universidad de Concepción y Universidad del Bío Bío”, the presidential assessor highlighted.
Gastón Saavedra Chandía, Talcahuano city mayor and colloquium attendant emphasized the role universities must play in decentralization, too. “I think it is pertinent that Academy opens these spaces to give base to a decentralization process, so we get ready to take steps on modernization, decentralization, de-concentration, and power transfer, for administration and management at the territory we live in. I congratulate Center for Optics and Photonics for making this possible. We have to get forward with this debate, constructing an opinion from our region, not only by the leaderships, but also as a concern of our whole society, for a change in directional courses, pro a regionalization process. It is a progress that intendants to be designated by people elections, and with no doubts, these proposals will be a little earthquake of changes for the administrative establishment. It is about transferring resources, regulations and powers to effectuate a local government”, the Talcahuano mayor said.
Meanwhile, Carlos Saavedra Rubilar, PhD., scientific director from CEFOP, highlighted the instance as an activity that complements and enriches the Center daily work. “One may think that a center like ours should focus in its main areas, in this case, Optics and Photonics. Although, for making a Center to grow, and to generate new work conditions and capacities, we need a political surrounding environment and an infrastructure that are favorable to the regional development. So, national and regional development policies cannot be missing in our labor. It is absolutely necessary to incorporate it in our members training, professor, students or engineers, who work in our Center. May they have a more entire vision of challenges that region we are insert in, is facing”.
“Academy should have a much more active role. We have to think that Concepción, in the Region, has this centralistic structure too. Then, there should be an alert call on the way changes are generated, from industries installation, new capacities development, and how to influence particularly in our Center ambit, how to give value from knowledge, being capable to generate local transformations. It is a long term task, but it need to be addressed, precisely with motivations as this one, from the first source”, the researchers highlighted, on the role scientific centers and universities should play in the decentralization process.
Dr. Valenzuela talk was the last of 2014 round of CEFOP colloquiums, in which traditionally sciences development subjects are addressed, inviting a wide broad audience to share their experiences, such as government authorities, academicians, professionals, and students from different knowledge areas.