BUENOS AIRES – President Mauricio Macri called on Wednesday for fighting climate change and announced the creation of a new national park in northern Argentina as an effort to help “take care of the planet” and its biodiversity.
“We Argentines have made ... the commitment ... (to) fight against climate change, with the responsibility to take care of this planet and, clearly, expanding, caring for (and) strengthening our national park system goes along these lines,” said Macri at a ceremony at the Olivos presidential residence on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
During his remarks, Macri announced the creation of the Bicentennial National Park in Tucuman province, a protected natural area comprising 50,000 hectares (125,000 acres) of forest and snow-covered areas.
“Here are more hectares to take care of the planet, ... to take care of biodiversity,” said the president before insisting that the park will also help reduce the poverty in the province and, above all, will be a “gigantic opportunity” and a catalyst for tourists to come experience the zone’s natural “beauty.”
“I’m using my new voice for the first time,” joked Macri, who on Tuesday underwent laser microsurgery at a hospital in the Argentine capital to remove a polyp from his vocal cords which had roughened his voice.
The president said that it was a “rather uncomfortable” procedure but “very simple,” expressing his gratitude to the doctors and all those who on Tuesday sent him messages of support.
He also thanked those who “were sensible” and “thought about their responsibility” in recent weeks during the nationwide discussion about income tax reform, as well as those who “initially acted irresponsibly but later reflected” on the matter and moderated their behavior.
After on Monday receiving the support of the country’s main CGT union, the government on Tuesday received the backing of the provinces before sending to the Senate the consensus text to paralyze another more ambitious reform bill on the tax on earnings pushed by the opposition, a bill which has received great criticism from around the country.
The executive branch wants the Senate to vote on Wednesday on the matter so that on Thursday it can be debated in the lower house of Congress and the government-backed tax rate – which as the president announced Wednesday will now be called an “income tax” – can be approved before yearend.
Macri’s administration raised the minimum tax threshold in February as one of several steps to combat high inflation, but the unions have been demanding further tax relief.