Friday 7th July 2023.

July 6, 2023


The Comptroller General of the Republic is in the process of purchasing a six-story building, located “approximately 165 meters” from its current headquarters on Avenida Balboa, at a cost of $3.28 million.

The building, which is called Aquarius and belongs to the company Petit Palait, SA, has a total area of ​​2,089.21 square meters. In other words, the Comptroller’s Office would be paying $1,570.91 per square meter.

The transaction was authorized by the Cabinet Council held on July 4, through Resolution 67 , which endorsed the purchase through an exceptional contracting procedure , given that the Comptroller’s Office specifically wishes to purchase that building due to its proximity to the headquarters , which facilitates communication and movement of personnel.

Last May, in a session of the Budget Committee of the National Assembly, comptroller Gerardo Solís requested $1.3 million and said that these funds were to purchase the Aquarius and a parking lot with capacity for 20 vehicles.

Then he said that the new offices will be for the National Directorate of Internal Audit.

In less than three years, half a million irregular migrants have crossed the Darien border , according to the statistics of the National Migration Service (SNM), which this year records the passage through the Darien jungle of at least 200,000 travelers.

According to SNM data, from January 1 to July 5, 2023, a total of 201,167 people crossed the border irregularly, coming from Colombia.

This amount reflects a significant increase in irregular migrants, compared to the 49,452 that passed through the Darién plug in the first half of 2022.

Throughout 2021 the figure was 133,726 migrants and in 2022 it increased to 248,284, which added to the 201,167 that have crossed the jungle so far in 2023, the data reveals that half a million irregular travelers made the perilous journey in less than three years.

According to the report of the immigration authority, so far this year 2023, 103 thousand 28 of the travelers who have crossed the border are Venezuelans.

Haitians follow in the statistics with 33,553, Ecuadorians with 25,925, Chinese with 8,964, Colombians with 6,489. The number of other nationalities amounts to 23,208 people.

It is detailed that to date, April 2023 is the month with the highest number of irregular migrants who entered Panama through the Darién plug with 40,297 migrants.

In that order the months of May followed with 38 thousand 962, March 38 thousand 99, June 29 thousand 722, in February the figure was 24 thousand 657, January 24 thousand 634 and in the first five days of July 4 thousand 796 were registered. irregular travelers. The main objective of most of these travelers is to reach North America.

“The National Migration Service points out that although migration is a universal right, it is important to carry out mobility in a regular, orderly and safe manner. The Darién National Park has been a World Heritage Site since 1981, which is why the Panamanian authorities reiterate that Darién is not a route,” it is highlighted in a statement from the entity.

94% of the 7,000 driver partners that the Uber platform has in Panama expressed their inability to pay for an operation certificate or quota “if required” to taxi borrowers, also known as piqueras, as is intended to be impose in bill 986, which was approved in the first debate in the National Assembly.

Carolina Coto, communications manager for Uber in Central America and the Caribbean, warned that this proposed legislation, in addition to being unfeasible, puts an economic burden on drivers, which will affect their income, while ensuring the legal security of the mobility platform model in Panama.

She added that this bill also represents a setback with respect to current regulations, in which modern legislation had been achieved that benefits the safe operations of mobility platforms under legal parameters approved by consensus.

Coto expressed that at this time there is great concern among the driving partners because many will not be able to afford the operation certificate “if it is required” and also not comply with the requirement to change their own vehicle after 3 years of operations or have one not so old.

The current regulation allows them to operate with vehicles that are 7 years old.

She maintained that a survey carried out on the subject revealed that 52% of the driving partners have a vehicle financed by a bank that they pay for over a period of several years, in some cases for 7 years. Meanwhile, 17% drive their own vehicle, and 11% use a rented vehicle.

Andrea Milla, Uber’s senior associate of Public Policy for Panama and the Caribbean, said that as a platform they defend the right of people to choose how to travel in the country, as well as the economic rights of the driving partners.

“We are making a call regarding the legal security in force for the mobility platforms.”

Milla warned that, as the bill is conceived, it is estimated that there may be a decrease in the number of active driving partners, so the performance of the service and waiting times will be affected as there is less availability of affiliated cars. to the platform.

Carolina Coto clarified that although they are not evaluating leaving the Panamanian market, and they reiterate that they will continue to operate in the country, they are concerned about the legal uncertainty that occurs when trying to impose regulations that, instead of improving, will restrict economic activity and the freedom to operate of drivers and users.

This bill 986 would repeal Executive Decree 331, which has regulated the ICT luxury transport service since 2017. In the plenary session of the National Assembly, this bill was in position 131 on the agenda for the second debate.

She stressed that in nine years of operations, the platform has exceeded 45 million trips by mobilizing one million users and income and profits have been generated for 50,000 people who have operated as driving partners.

It is estimated that 57% of people use Uber to go out at night, 46% to go to work, 33% say to go to medical appointments, 28% to get to events and concerts, and 15% to go to classes.

“The curious thing is that 52% of users have their own vehicle and 93% consider that the Uber app positively changed their way of getting around. For most users, security is extremely important when moving around, and many consider that it is important that waiting times be short,” added Coto.

The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) reported this Wednesday that after receiving a complaint about a hydrocarbon spill in the flow of the Juan Díaz river , Panama City, personnel from the Department of Pollution Prevention and Control mobilized to the area of ​​the Juan Díaz port to verify and indeed the stain in the riverbed could be evidenced.

In the inspection in the port and surrounding areas, AMP personnel were able to confirm that the product, which is presumed to be bunker fuel oil, came out of a pipe that flowed into the river; Therefore, two sections of “booms” or absorbent barriers were placed to contain it and prevent it from continuing to contaminate.

Absorbent booms are designed to float on water and contain or absorb a wide variety of marine fuels and oils. They pick up petroleum-based fluids, paints and chemicals that are not water soluble, while repelling water.

The entity, through a press release, indicated that, together with the Ministry of the Environment (Miambiente), it was possible to identify the company allegedly responsible, which is not related to maritime activities. The main source was one of the fuel tanks used in the boilers, where the product leaked out of the containment wheel and fell down the cliff that empties into the river.

The AMP stated that the investigations and sanctions processes continue.

While the environmental organization Marea Verde , which carries out the Wanda water wheel project and the floating barrier known as BoB in the Juan Díaz river, pointed out that animals and mangroves were affected by this situation and the garbage that was trapped by the BoB it cannot be recycled or disposed of in Cerro Patacón, since it is contaminated.

In addition, they informed that they are managing, together with the AMP and Miambiente, the cleaning of this waste.

The President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo , met this Thursday, July 6, with the Prime Minister of South Korea, Han Duck-soo , with whom he discussed various issues.

The Presidency of the Republic reported that Cortizo and Han Duck-soo discussed aspects of bilateral and regional cooperation, trade, investment, infrastructure, resources and renewable energy, among other points.

After the formal reception on the steps of the Palacio de Las Garzas, Han Duck-soo and Cortizo held a private meeting, in which the Panamanian president thanked the official visit and took advantage of the meeting to strengthen bilateral ties with South Korea in diplomatic matters. , commercial and cultural.

Han Duck-soo arrived in our country after participating in the Summit of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, in Trinidad and Tobago.

After the meeting with the Panamanian president, the South Korean prime minister, and the delegation that accompanies him, met with Panamanian ministers and officials.

The head of Commerce and Industries, Federico Alfaro, highlighted at the working meeting that Panama and South Korea maintain a very close economic link which was strengthened with the recent entry into force in Panama of the Free Trade Agreement between both nations.


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