Friday 1st December 2023

November 30, 2023


The president of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama , Adolfo Fábrega , stated that the street closures that are currently taking place in the province of Chiriquí are not justified.

Fábrega reiterated that beyond the economic losses, which are multimillion-dollar, the strongest impact is occurring for smaller companies and for independent workers who seek daily sustenance, among other affected activities.

The businessman stressed that he was awaiting the ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice, which declared the contract between the Panamanian State and Minera Panamá unconstitutional, and that after this decision there is no reason to continue with the blockades.

“If we see that the streets remain closed, the question is: How long?” said Fábrega.

“How long are we going to look for excuses to continue closing the streets?” At this moment I would have to say that there are other objectives, which are not the mine. “It is already quite evident that there are hidden agendas and these street closures are not justified.”

Likewise, the president of the Chamber of Commerce said that he is waiting for the Executive to keep citizens informed, because they do not understand what the next steps are with the mine.

The Social Security Fund (CSS) reported this Thursday, November 30, that six trucks that were returning to the capital after bringing medical supplies to the province of Chiriquí have been stranded on the Inter-American highway, in Oriente Chiriquí.

In a statement, the entity explained that international cargo carriers “are preventing the passage” of vehicles.

According to the Fund, the trucks returned to Panama to resupply surgical medical supplies and medications, which would be distributed to the different Social Security agencies in Chiriquí.

Native groups have maintained a closure of the inter-American highway at more than 10 points in this last week, in rejection of mining.

On Wednesday they reopened for a few hours and closed again at night. This Thursday, several indigenous groups once again allowed vehicles to pass through, especially those carrying international cargo. However, a small group in San Félix has not allowed him passage.

Let them resign immediately and be thoroughly investigated. This is what they ask for the Comptroller General of the Republic and the ministers who promoted the contract between the State and Minera Panamá, SA, which adopted Law 406 and which was declared unconstitutional by the plenary session by the Supreme Court of Justice.

Civil society leaders and political analysts question the actions of Comptroller Gerardo Solís , who endorsed the contract established in Law 406, and of the Ministers of Commerce and Industry, Federico Alfaro ; the Minister of the Environment, Milciades Concepción and the Minister of Public Works, Rafael Sabonge . The latter is accused of a possible conflict of interest with the mine and lack of transparency.

“The resignation of the holders of these positions is an essential condition for the Government to be able to recover a minimum of credibility,” said political analyst José Stoute about Alfaro, Sabonge, Concepción and Solís.

The complaints against Alfaro, the main negotiator of the contract, are due to the fact that at the time he assured that the mining agreement benefited the country and was protected after the preparation of internationalist lawyers.

Precisely, yesterday Wednesday the lawyer Ernesto Cedeño presented an administrative complaint to the Attorney General’s Office to investigate the management of the funds assigned for the advice and drafting of the mining contract.

Alfaro requested $5.9 million from the Budget Commission of the National Assembly to cover the costs of drafting the contract.

Added to this is that Alfaro and his predecessor Ramón Martínez de la Guardia asked the Attorney General of the Administration, Rigoberto González, to keep all their opinions “in reserve” on the renegotiation and approval of Law 406, despite the fact that he He warned, in writing, what errors were made with the concession granted in Donoso, in 1997, and warned them not to incur the same errors in the new contract with the mining company, such as the “lack of public bidding.”

From his portfolio, Concepción supported the environmental impact studies of the Viaje Data mine, despite questions from environmentalists.

Sabonge, meanwhile, endorsed the mining contract in the Cabinet Council with his vote, despite having personal business with the Minera Panamá company. Saboge has links with the company Grupo Urbe , which is building a Minera Panamá residential project (Casa Pintada), in Coclé.

The Foundation for the Development of Citizen Liberty, Panamanian chapter of Transparency International, said in a statement that it is necessary to separate from public service officials who are involved in possible acts of corruption or lack of transparency, such as serious cases. , revealed by journalistic investigations, but also pointed out that a situation like that of Minister Sabonge shows the ineffectiveness of the National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information in its role of monitoring compliance with the law on conflicts of interest and its effectiveness.

Furthermore, Olga de Obaldía, Executive Director of the Foundation, pointed out that it is not only investigating the officials, but also the public funds that were awarded in direct contracts to advertise and defend a contract about which the Administration’s attorney had already warned. that clashed with the Law and the Constitution .

Cedeño requested in his complaint that the comptroller initiate an audit of the funds used for the advice and drafting of the contract, but De Obaldía raises the question: how and who is going to investigate the use of public funds to promote the mining contract ?

This is taking into account that the organic law of the Comptroller’s Office (Law 351 of December 22, 2022), which is being sued by the Foundation , gives “total discretion” to the comptroller to “close investigations.”

For his part, analyst Edwin Cabrera recalled that positions in the Executive are always at the disposal of the President of the Republic. But he indicated that after failures of this nature in other countries, the entire Cabinet would have resigned, which would give the President room to maneuver before public opinion. “But in Panama that doesn’t happen. They neither resign individually nor collectively,” he said.

“In the end this is a matter of conscience between the ministers and the President,” he said. On Tuesday, after learning of the Court’s decision, President Laurentino Cortizo did not speak of possible changes in his cabinet, nor did he make a mea culpa , he only limited himself to pointing out, among other things, that “immediately” the publication would proceed. of the ruling in the Official Gazette and “the transition process for the orderly and safe closure of the mine will begin.”

Regarding the possible participation of Ministers Alfaro and Concepción in the transition process for the closure of the mine, Stoute proposed that it would be prudent to create an authority, immediately, to assume the complex transition for the closure and sanitation of the mines.

“A Board of Directors must be appointed made up of specialists from civil society,” he stated.

The Mayor’s Office of Panama reported this November 30 that the vehicle stickers corresponding to September 2023 are now available and can be removed without an appointment.

The Department of Vehicles of the Mayor’s Office explained that to remove the sticker, the owner of the vehicle must have paid the circulation tax, be in good standing with the Municipality of Panama and have the current revised one.

He reiterated that the hours of the Plate Center, which is located in the Francisco Arias Paredes Park in Calidonia, diagonal to the headquarters of the Hatillo building, are Monday to Friday from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Saturdays from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. 00 am to 3:00 pm

“The road tax can be paid in person at all agencies, through online banking or the key ATM system through the taxpayer number,” the entity highlighted.

To find out the taxpayer number you can enter the website , then you must look for the ‘Digital Procedures’ option.

“If the owner of the vehicle cannot attend, he must authorize a trusted person by means of a note with personal information, the vehicle and a copy of the owner’s ID,” he highlighted.

The National Immigration Service reported that the residence permits of foreigners that have expired may be renewed until December 31, 2023.

In a statement from the entity, it is highlighted that the measure is related to Resolution 12457 of May 5, 2023, which states that those residence permits of foreigners that expired on or after March 13, 2020, will allow the renewal of the document. only until December 31, 2023.

Immigration Panama highlights that with this provision, those people who maintain their expired documentation for more than six months can use this benefit.

It is detailed that the extension is for temporary, provisional or permanent residence permits and domestic worker visas.

Immigration highlights that if the applicant is outside the country and wants to take advantage of said extension of presentation of documents, they must pay the corresponding fines before entering the national territory. At the time of entering the country he must show a copy of the payment receipt.


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