Monday 22nd April 2024.

April 21, 2024


In the opinion of Panamanian singer-songwriter Rubén Blades , the scandal of the economic aid program of the Institute for the Training and Use of Human Resources (Ifarhu) recently shows the level of administrative corruption in Panama.

Blades questioned that these financial “supports” were granted to students who in most cases did not need such “financial aid.”

In addition, he expressed concern about more than 2,000 “donations” whose beneficiaries are unknown, because “the authorities refuse to offer the names and amounts given, alleging that doing so would lead to ‘political persecution’.”

“ It’s our tax money, Comptroller [Gerardo] Solís. “We demand that you explain to us what they are used for, since part of your function as Comptroller, apart from authorizing these dubious disbursements, is to explain the way in which those granted by Ifarhu are used, for what reason and to whom they are delivered.” , Blades emphasized in “Notes from the Corner and My Allegation” , on April 19, 2024.

Blades highlighted the constant refusal of Comptroller Solís to present reports, names and numbers of people favored with exorbitant sums granted free of charge, which seems to obey a political-clientelist criterion. “The self-confidence of the current Comptroller of the Nation is truly unprecedented,” said the singer, in the face of the scandal and the growing citizen indignation over this issue.

Given the significant structural challenges facing the country, the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap) has urgently urged that the proposals presented by the candidates be translated into concrete actions from the first day of government of the new administration . This call arises after the third and last television presidential debate took place last Wednesday, April 17, ahead of the May 5 elections.

“Panama cannot afford to waste time. Pressing issues such as the pension system, unemployment, education, access to water and risk rating require decisive measures and firm political will,” said Cciap, in charge of organizing this final debate, focused on the issues critics of the Agenda País project that it promotes.

Six of the eight presidential candidates participated in this event: Melitón Arrocha (free nomination), Maribel Gordón (free nomination), Ricardo Lombana (Otro Camino Movement), Zulay Rodríguez (free nomination), Rómulo Roux (Democratic Change-Panameñista) and Martín Torrijos (Popular Party). As in previous debates, José Raúl Mulino, candidate of the groups Realizing Goals and the Alliance, did not appear. Furthermore, José Gabriel Carrizo, the official presidential candidate, decided to be absent and condition his participation to Mulino’s appearance.

The Cciap highlighted the participation of the candidates present, recognizing their commitment to the country and their willingness to face the challenges facing Panama. However, he regretted the absence of the two candidates who chose not to attend the debate.

“Democracy is strengthened through the exchange of ideas and the confrontation of different visions. The absence of these candidates deprived citizens of the opportunity to learn about their proposals and contrast them with those of their contenders,” the union added in its Sunday column, La Cámara Opina .

For Cciap, the presidential debates represented a crucial step towards informed elections. “Now, more than ever, it is essential that candidates commit to translating their promises into concrete actions. The future of Panama is at stake, and we cannot postpone the decisions that will determine our collective destiny,” she stated.

According to figures provided by the Electoral Tribunal, a total of 3,004,083 citizens are eligible to vote in these elections. Of these, 1,511,049 (50.3%) are women and 1,493,034 (49.7%) are men.

About 140 people were affected by the fire that occurred on April 19 in the afternoon, which consumed about 10 wooden houses located between streets 14 and 15 in the town of El Chorrillo, leaving the loss of one life.

The first social evaluation carried out by the National Directorate of Social Development of the Ministry of Housing and Territorial Planning (Miviot) showed that in total there were 37 affected families, of which 10 accepted the support of the entity and were housed in a nearby hotel; while the rest took refuge in relatives’ homes.

Virginia Miranda, National Director of Social Development of Miviot, explained that next Monday a more in-depth social investigation will begin to determine if these families have any resources to apply for the programs offered by the ministry, such as social rental assistance, the bonus solidarity housing or other social housing projects.

Miranda added that the evaluation must also determine if the group of mansions that were consumed by the fire had been declared condemned houses, and if the families paid rent or any public service.

For his part, Lieutenant Colonel Ángel Delgado , general secretary of the Panama Fire Corps (CBP) , indicated that the investigations began today, Saturday, April 20, together with the Public Ministry (MP) , to determine the causes of the incident. which caused the death of a 41-year-old man with a disability.

Delgado indicated that field inspections were carried out, where 10 structures were counted, six on 14th Street and five on 15th Street, in addition to a grocery store that was not consumed, but was affected.

It is estimated that this week the CBP experts, together with the MP investigation staff, will conclude the field inspections and make progress in determining the origin of the fire.

Regarding the extinguishing work, Lieutenant Colonel Luis Jaramillo, of the CBP, reported that during the day Saturday the last sources of fire were put out. In total, 200 units including firefighters and volunteers worked, of which four were affected with injuries, three were discharged and one remains detained under observation.

The list of municipalities delinquent in the payment of the employer’s worker’s fee to the Social Security Fund is led by the municipalities of Colón and San Miguelito, controlled by Rolando Alexis Lee and Héctor Valdés Carrasquilla , who are precisely seeking re-election in the elections of the 5th next May by the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD).

This is stated in a report obtained by La Prensa on the debt in employee-employer contributions to the CSS of government agencies, municipalities and decentralized entities, an essential contribution, not only for the financial health of the CSS pensions, but also for the attention health of the workers themselves. That is, if your employers do not pay, the CSS does not issue the tokens to access health services.

These State entities, in which community boards predominate, have a debt of around $36.7 million. There is no certainty, however, that this is the total delinquency of the entities that do not pay the CSS.

What there are records of is that Lee owes $7.69 million , according to the CSS report to which this newspaper had access. For his part, Carrasquilla, who in the past has faced several protests from San Miguelito officials over this issue, owes $4.1 million.

It must be remembered that a good part of the local authorities are currently on an electoral campaign. For example, 49 of the 81 current mayors are seeking to remain in power.

In three years of management, the Task Force against Money Laundering and Corruption of the Ministry of Security has seized nearly 14 million dollars from organized crime.

As a result of 26 operations carried out against money laundering and corruption, 192 people were captured and 14 million 648 thousand 514 dollars were confiscated, said the Minister of Public Security, Juan Manuel Pino.

“Panama, whose territorial position is privileged, offers an extensive platform at the service of the growth of the world economy and international profitability, which makes us an attractive scenario for the actions of transnational organized crime,” acknowledged the head of Public Security.

The minister added that this team also responds to requests for assistance from police agencies in other countries, which, in a similar manner, fight against money laundering and transnational crime, following the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force.

This special unit is made up of the Money Laundering Division of the Judicial Investigation Directorate, the General Directorate of Revenue, the Financial Analysis Unit, the Public Ministry and the Superintendency of Banks of Panama (SBP), with the support of the FBI Federal Investigation Agency. The headquarters of this Task Force against Money Laundering and Corruption is located in Amador.


Users of the mass passenger transportation system who reside in the Panama North sector are waiting for the Villa Zaíta Metro station to begin operating , which is part of the extension of line 1 of the Panama Metro.

The extension to Villa Zaíta will benefit more than 300 thousand people in the northern sector of the province of Panama and, according to estimates from the Panama Metro, SA , its inauguration is scheduled for the end of April.

The Panama Metro, SA . projects that once the Villa Zaíta station is inaugurated, the number of users who travel on line 1 will increase by 4%. Per day, they estimate to mobilize 40 thousand users, added to the 290 thousand who already use the system, exceeding thus the 330 thousand daily users.

Currently, the metro continues to carry out operational tests to strengthen the system. These tests are known as “blank march”, since the route is carried out without passengers, from the section from the San Isidro station to the Villa Zaíta station. The extension is 2.3 kilometers.

The Panama futsal team made history by securing its first title from the Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Football (Concacaf).

The Canaleros won the final of the Pre-World Cup Tournament against Cuba, in an exciting match that ended 4-3 in favor of Panama.

The goals for Panama were scored by Claudio Goodridge, who scored a double, Ruman Milord and Aquiles Campos. This victory meant revenge for Panama, since in the group stage they had fallen to the islanders with a score of 3-2.

In addition to this historic victory, Panama was awarded the Fair Play award of the 2024 Concacaf futsal championship. Jaime Peñaloza and Alfonso Maquensi were recognized as the best goalkeeper and player of the tournament, respectively, at the event held in Managua, Nicaragua.


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