Thursday 13th April 2023.

April 12, 2023


Despite the fact that there is documentation in the Public Registry confirming that the National Land Administration Authority (Anati) directly sold 18.4 hectares of national land in Río Indio de Los Chorros in Capira, to CD deputy Yanibel Ábrego, the entity now he denied.

On March 23, 2022, the general administrator of Anati, José Montenegro , delivered 18.4 hectares to deputy Ábrego, for only $120, in Cirí Grande, Capira. However, after questions about the possible irregular use of the special titling law, Anati’s general secretary, Víctor Vergara , stated last Thursday in a local media that Anati had not sold those lands to the deputy.

“Anati does not own land, although it manages the national land. The possession of the land is in the hands of the Panamanian citizen,” said Vergara. He also indicated that “friends” have asked him for land, but he has not been able to give it to them.

But in the documents that rest in the Public Registry, you can see the delivery process of 1,900 square meters for $6 and 18.3 hectares for $114 in Río Indio de Los Chorros, to Ábrego, and not as Vergara points out, who pointed out that these Lands were purchased by the deputy from “a private citizen, through the acquisition of a possessory right” and not from Anati.

In turn, Ábrego confirmed having acquired several hectares of land from Anati, land that -he insisted- she sells as part of her private real estate activities.

This medium has been able to observe that the titles delivered to the deputy do not detail when these lands of the Nation were requested from the entity nor when the inspections were made to the lands and how was the process of measuring the boundaries, as could be observed in the delivery of this type of land to other citizens, as well as to other politicians, such as the PRD deputy, Raúl Pineda , who also received 132.5 hectares in Colón, in June 2022.

Vergara assured that the lands that Ábrego “bought from a citizen” in Cirí Grande are part of a “cadastral sweep that Anati made”, as part of the Special Law of Massive Titling of 2006. But the almost free delivery of the 18.4 hectares of national lands were signed only by Montenegro, despite the fact that Anati has the National Directors of Titling and Regulation, Damián Cigarruista , and of Mass Adjudication, Roberto Lide .

The Ministry of Agricultural Development (Mida), headed by Augusto Valderrama, filed 10 complaints with the Public Ministry to investigate the alleged commission of crimes against public administration, public faith and document falsification.

The complaints were filed between Monday and Tuesday of this week, as reported by the institution to this medium.

The institution’s Legal Department suspects that producers, entity officials, and companies engaged in mismanagement in the areas of rice and certified seed. Everything would have happened in the provinces of Los Santos and Veraguas.

According to a press release distributed by the ministry, due to these events, property damage amounting to $666,928 would have been committed. However, the note does not give details about who the defendants are, nor how the events occurred.

The Mida press release also reports that these 10 complaints are added to another 11 that have been processed so far this period of government. So far the status of these legal actions is unknown.

The Communication and Transportation Commission of the National Assembly did not approve yesterday, Tuesday, April 11, in the first debate, bill 986, which establishes “the regulatory framework for the use of information and communication technology platforms, in the service of luxury taxi”, as planned.

The proposal seeks that the concessionaires of the selective public transport service (taxis) control the technological platforms of transport service (Uber, Didi, among others).

The reason? Lack of quorum. Only three of the nine deputies that make it up attended the session, among them, the president of that instance, the PRD deputy Abel Beker, who promotes said initiative.

Although the proposal is still not endorsed in the first debate, the commission listened to the opinions for and against the project, from the leaders of the transport sector.

During the session, there were shouts, handshakes and opinions crossed, therefore, a consensus was not reached between the leaders, since each one maintained their position.

The 986 project is rejected by the drivers of digital platforms. They assure that the proposal obliges them to belong to a selective public transport provider.

While the taxi drivers assure that the law does not go against the users, nor the platforms, but rather those who are outside the law.

Even before starting the session on Tuesday, leaders of the National Union of Drivers of Digital and Similar Platforms marched towards the National Assembly to protest against this initiative.

“We oppose project 986 because we consider it unconstitutional by violating the citizen’s rights to choose; in the first instance, to the users who have adopted this transport system as their own”, said José Gabriel Lezcano, who, in turn, assured that the bill only benefits the borrowers and not the taxi drivers, nor the platform drivers and much less users.

Despite these marked differences in the transport sector, Deputy Beker insists on the approval of the initiative. He announced that next week he will again convene a meeting to discuss the bill, which can possibly be approved, since all parties have been heard.

“After listening to 26 people from each of the organizations at the national level (…) we are going to call a new meeting so that the deputies can make a decision,” said deputy Beker.

The history of tourist incentives through tax credits advances against vetoes, criticism, street protests and unconstitutionality claims.

The General Directorate of Revenue (DGI) recognized the benefit of Law 122 to two projects that, together, total $32.3 million. According to information that is in the Superintendency of the Securities Market (SMV), there are another 25 projects in the process to issue securities and two of them are already issuing: Chiricanas Investments of Hotels and Tourism Development Trust .

It is a new chapter in the saga that began in December 2019, when President Laurentino Cortizo sanctioned a regulation – Law 122 – for the State to finance the construction of hotels and private tourism projects outside the district of Panama. While businessmen close to his government obtain state financing, the Supreme Court of Justice analyzes whether or not this is constitutional.

There are two lawsuits filed in court. One against Law 122 of 2019 and another against a later regulation, Law 314 of 2022 , approved by the National Assembly (AN). In essence, they are the same: million-dollar tax incentives for private businesses.

After the questioning of the first rule, the AN hastened to issue a new one. Then the critics elevated the policy to the category of scandal: hoteliers , social movements , civil society and business unions asked to eliminate them in the framework of the protests of July 2022 and pushed President Laurentino Cortizo to request their repeal from the AN . Law 314 had been enacted just three weeks earlier. The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Federico Alfaro, even presented a bill to veto the two regulations, but nothing managed to stop the drain on funds. The deputies did approve a project, which was not Alfaro’s, but another to maintain the credits.

The movement through the Tocumen International Airport in the first quarter of 2023 registered a transit of 4.2 million passengers, a figure that is 3.2% higher than that achieved in the same period of 2019, prior to the covid-19 pandemic.

Statistics show that between January and March 2019, 4,145,294 travelers were mobilized, while this year the figure is 4,280,073.

According to the entity’s report, in the month of March 1,468,648 travelers were mobilized and that of this total, 81% correspond to connecting passengers. Likewise, it is detailed that 11,923 aircraft movements were managed.

It is important to highlight that the figure registered in March 2023 is 5.6% higher than that of March 2019, which was 1,390,605.

Data from the Tocumen Airport Statistics Department highlight that the markets that contributed the most passengers to transit were South America with 44%, North America 28%, the Caribbean 11%, Central America 11% and European markets registered 6%.

It is also reported that direct routes to 83 destinations were maintained in March, through 17 commercial airlines that offer services to the main cities of America and Europe.

“We are showing robust competitiveness in relation to other airports in the region. If the economic, sanitary, and social conditions are maintained, we can project an operating performance higher than that of 2019,” said Raffoul Arab, general manager of Tocumen Airport.

When the coffee harvest period ends, the producers of the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama (SCAP) prepare the best batches of the grain with a view to participating in an international cupping.

Hunter Tedman, president of SCAP, confirmed that the activity begins with electronic registration, from April 17 to 29, while the reception of the coffee lots selected by each owner will be from May 2 to 13.

Meanwhile, from May 22 to 26, the tasting will be carried out with national judges, who will select the best batches of grain. Subsequently, the coffee samples will be tasted by international judges, from May 29 to June 3.

“It is an event that takes time and a lot of effort to organize. It includes great logistics, from the preparation of the batches by the producer to the invitations to international judges. We are approaching the final phase and everything is going very well”, said Tedman.

SCAP members consider that Panamanian coffee is at the high specialty level, after the impressive results achieved in the last three years with cups that reached historical values ​​in Panamanian coffee farming and rarely seen in an international coffee competition.

In the 2022 Best Of Panama, Geisha Natural coffee obtained 96.5 points, Geisha Lavado 96 points and a varietal of the Chicho Gallo variety reached 94 points, numerical values ​​that are almost unattainable in a varietal coffee.

The participation of 20 international judges and another 18 invited judges is expected, from the United States, Australia, Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea and Bulgaria.

This year, high specialty coffee from Panama will be evaluated in three categories: Geisha Natural, Geisha Washed and Varietals (includes all other coffee varieties). Each producer will deliver lots of 42 kilograms to the competition, of which 25 kilograms will be offered in the electronic auction of the BOP.

Tedman highlighted the important effort that each producer makes year after year to continue improving the quality of the coffee that Panama offers to the world. A combination of experience, the terroir that the mountains of Boquete, Cerro Punta, Volcán and Renacimiento have, the flowering and the final process of turning coffee into gold. For every 6.2 pounds of cherry coffee, one pound of gold coffee is obtained.



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