Monday 14th November 2022.

November 14, 2022

On August 31, when he went to support the 2023 budget to the National Assembly, Bernardo Meneses, director of the Institute for the Training and Use of Human Resources (Ifarhu), assured the deputies of the Budget Commission that his administration has “tried to change the image of politicization that the institution has evidently carried for years, for decades.” Almost two months after formulating that approach in the Legislative, Meneses, former leader of the youth of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), has not been able to placate the voices of rejection of his administration precisely because of the political management with which he allocates resources. Of the entity. This after it was revealed that dozens of the so-called economic aids remained in the hands of the circle of power of his party, the PRD.That is why now, when the millionaire budget for 2023 is known, a key year for the 2024 general elections, the alarms are going  off. Some, like the teacher and researcher Ileana Gólcher, one of those who protested against the entity when the economic aid scandal broke out, assure that the increase in funds “has an eminently electoral and patronage purpose.” The entity that Meneses directs will allocate a large part of its budget for next year precisely to the program of Educational Assistance Scholarships and Economic Aid. This is $369.7 million of the $442.2 million that make up the institution’s total budget for the coming year. The figure is $8.5 million more than in 2022, when it was allocated $361.2 million. Gólcher also put the accusing finger on the comptroller Gerardo Solís, as he assures that this official has to control these funds “and he does not do it.” “The only thing that can make a change is citizen pressure,” he added. The scandal caused by the discretion and political criteria with which the economic aid of Ifarhu has been distributed broke out at the end of last October, a period that preceded the holidays for the dates of the country. So far it is unknown what changes the entity will make so that the aid does not remain in the hands of those close to the political party in power. President Laurentino Cortizo said on November 4 that it is necessary to “make adjustments” to the regulations, but he did not specify which ones. “I am in favor of economic aid, as long as the socio-economic situation is combined, but also the academic one,” said the president, who was approached by journalists after the protocol acts on the Day of the Patriotic Symbols, in the Presidency . The ruler also stated that he does not know who are the beneficiaries of this economic aid given by Ifarhu. “Who was it delivered to? No, I don’t have that list, I don’t have that list,” he said.

The two collective agreements signed between the union leadership of the negotiating units of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and the administration cover approximately 7,000 employees or 85.4% of the canal labor force. These are the collective agreements signed with the union leadership of the Non-Professional Workers Unit, to which 83% of the employees, the Professional Workers Unit and the Firefighters Unit are affiliated, reported the ACP. The economic impact of these adjustments represents $94.9 million to cover what was agreed for 2022, 2023 and 2024, in the case of workers in the non-professional unit; and for Firefighters, until 2028. Negotiations for the new collective agreement with the Non-Professional Workers Negotiating Unit were stalled for nearly two years until a rapprochement was achieved between the parties for the signing of the new labor agreement on May 16, valid until 2025. But during a press conference of the Canal unions affiliated with the Transport Workers International (ITF), last Wednesday, November 9, they complained about the delay in the negotiations of the new collective agreements due to the resources that are presented during the process. They indicated that this keeps a mass of workers in constant “agony” because attempts are made not to recognize their rights. For the Non-Professionals Unit, a first salary increase of 3.5% was established for 2022, which became effective as of last June, the ACP reported.

Yanibel Ábrego, deputy and secretary general of Cambio Democrático (CD), was unable to get the Electoral Tribunal (TE) to overturn the date of the internal elections of this party, a tournament scheduled for March 19, 2023. With this verdict, Ábrego and the 14 CD deputies who support her, once again lose another battle against the group of Rómulo Roux, president of the party, and whom the deputy from Capri is trying to expel from the directive. In a resolution of the TE issued on November 9, the magistrates Heriberto Araúz, Alfredo Juncá, and Eduardo Valdés Escoffery, resolve two challenges. One was presented by lawyer Ceila Peñalba on behalf of Abrego and another group of deputies. The other was promoted by Agustín Sellhorn, substitute for his wife, deputy Marylín Vallarino. The main objective of the two legal actions was to overthrow the date chosen by the CD elections committee. Ábrego wants internal elections to be called in January 2023.

The Department of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported five new cases of monkeypox in Panama. With this, to date 26 cases have been confirmed throughout the country. The new cases correspond to the male sex, between the ages of 29 to 47 years and come from the Metropolitan Health Region. For this reason, the health team of the Metropolitan Region carries out field investigations in order to determine the close contacts of these cases and offer them vaccination against monkeypox to cut the chain of transmission of the virus, it was reported this Saturday, November 12. of 2022.

The National Aeronaval Service of Panama reported this Sunday the seizure of 919 packages of alleged cocaine in a Pacific port terminal, which was destined for Sweden. The drug, cocaine according to an official source told EFE , was stored in 19 packages inside a container that was located in one of the patios of the port terminal.The container with the illicit substance “had Stockholm, Sweden as its destination port,” said a statement from the National Aeronaval Service (Senan). Senan highlighted that this year it has seized 78 thousand 638 drug packages, of which 13 thousand 720 in the form of containerized cargo. The Panamanian authorities pointed out that the use of containers to transport drugs is one of the booming modalities of transnational drug trafficking. This 2022, the dismantling of several syndicated groups of contaminating, that is, introducing the drug in containers in Panamanian ports, was reported. Public security forces in Panama have seized more than 100 tons of drugs this year, a record figure for the last 20 years, according to data from the Ministry of Security.

As one of the initiatives that seeks to grow the regional electric mobility market, last Friday, November 11, the caravan of 10 100% electric vehicles arrived in Panama, traveling 1,800 kilometers through Central America, from Guatemala, without using a drop of fuel. The starting signal in Guatemala was on November 4 to begin the tour of the Central American Electric Route, allowing vehicles to recharge at existing stations in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. This activity, which was organized by the Costa Rican Association of Electric Mobility (Asomove) had the support of the National Government, through the National Secretariat of Energy, and representatives of the private sector and governments of the region, which aims to change the use of combustion cars for electric cars. Currently, Panama has a total of 245 100% electric vehicles, supported by more than 134 fast and semi-fast public chargers installed from Panama City to the border with Costa Rica. The electric fleet is minimal when compared to about a million cars that circulate in the country with gasoline or diesel engines.

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