Thursday 14th December 2023.

December 13, 2023


In total, 23 of the 26 representatives of townships that make up the Municipal Council of the district of Panama will try to retain their position in the May 2024 elections.

Initially, those who ran for re-election were 24. However, the number changed, after the death, on December 6, of Nelson Vergara , representative of the 24 de Diciembre district. Vergara was also the running mate of Mayor José Luis Fábrega, who is also running for another term.

While PRD member Ramón Ashby , current mayor of Calidonia, did not run, as he was convicted of embezzlement, to the detriment of the community board that he directs.

However, Ashby would continue to control the district of Calidonia, as he managed to get the Popular Party to nominate his son Ramón Ashby Barrera, twice: candidate for representative of that area and candidate for deputy of circuit 8-3.

While Panamanian Guillermo Willie Bermúdez, representative of Don Bosco, did not opt ​​for re-election, as he has another priority: being mayor of the capital district. He is the candidate of the alliance between the Panameñista Party and Democratic Change.

Thus, among those seeking reelection there are several who have pending accounts with justice and those who aspire to occupy a seat in the National Assembly.

Currently, half of the current capital city councilors have three or more terms leading a community board. In recent years, being a district representative has become one of the most coveted elected positions by politicians. Precisely, through the community boards the so-called parallel decentralization was consolidated: funds from the National Decentralization Authority (AND), distributed outside the scheme established by Law 37 of June 2009 , on decentralization.

Ten of the 26 community boards were mostly benefited from this scheme. They received $19 million 715 thousand 798.36 cents between 2021 and May 2023, according to the database built by La Prensa , with information from the Comptroller General of the Republic.

While five of the six councilors who achieved their first term in 2019 are seeking re-election. These are Elías Cárdena s, Rodolfo Precilla , Noel Camargo , Carlos Domínguez and Yoira Perea . The latter was convicted of embezzlement.

Meanwhile, PRD member Mario Kennedy, who has been mayor of San Felipe for 25 years, is another who is seeking another five-year term in power and is on the list of those convicted of embezzlement.

In the capital district, reelection not only has supporters in the community boards. Mayor José Luis Fábrega, also from the PRD, is betting on another term. In the 2024 elections, Panamanians will elect 701 township representatives.

This Tuesday, December 13, environmental groups presented a letter to the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo , asking him to dismiss the Minister of the Environment, Milciades Concepción.

After the ruling of unconstitutionality of Law 406 that adopted the mining contract between the State and Minera Panamá, for the extraction of copper in Donoso, environmentalists affirm that Minister Concepción did not fulfill his duties.

Martita Cornejo said that Judge Olmedo Arrocha requested a log on the environmental monitoring that was given to the mining company and that the last one that was carried out was in 2021.

“For two years we have been in the clear, with respect to environmental supervision, when there are imminent environmental risks in the operation of the mine,” said Corteno, whose unconstitutionality lawsuit against the mining contract was one of those evaluated by the Supreme Court to issue its ruling.

Likewise, the environmentalists denounced that the ruling states that through a resolution of June of this year 2023, the minister approved an Environmental Management and Adaptation Plan for the project.

“This cannot be possible, because the minister has approved that there be a Minera Panamá gold processing plant in Panama and this is not possible when there was no legal framework for the approval of such a thing,” Cornejo stated.

For her part, Johana Ábrego stated that it is inexplicable that without a concession contract from the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, the Ministry of the Environment has given approval for gold processing.

“In two years, the minister himself reports that his ministry has not carried out inspection work on the project, leaving the environmental management of such a sensitive project, in a sensitive ecological area such as the Mesoamerican biological corridor, totally at the discretion of Minera Panamá,” Abrego stated.

A failure in the air navigation control system caused the delay in the departure and arrival of some flights this yesterday, at the Tocumen International Airport, also affecting other air terminals such as Albrook, Marcos A. Gelabert.

Spokespersons for the Civil Aeronautics Authority (AAC) explained that when the system failed, the non-radar procedure was activated, by which there is an approximate time of 7 minutes between one departure and another of the planes, which has generated congestion and delays.

Through “X” AAC reported that the specialized technical team were carrying out work to normalize operations.

AAC reported that it estimated that the service will be normalized within a few hours, as AAC personnel carry out repair work on the affected system related to the radar.

At least 67 flights registered delays at the Panamanian terminal according to the real-time flight tracker Flightradar24.

Copa Airlines airline reported on its social networks that “due to technical failures in the air control system in Panama, flights to and from Panama are being affected.

Likewise, some users reported the diversion of flights to Barranquilla and Cartagena. “Our daughter is coming on American Airlines flight AA1407 from Miami and they inform us that it was diverted to Barranquilla to refuel, because they could not land in Panama due to congestion,” Mr. Frank Amador told the newspaper La Prensa .

As if it were a scene from an action movie, agents from the special unit of the National Police arrested two men who were barricaded in a truck for an hour and a half on Ricardo J. Alfaro Road, known as the Dead Tomb. .

In order to capture them, the agents carefully moved towards the vehicle, carrying shields and special weapons. Once they managed to get close, under the gaze of dozens of people who were in the place recording with their cell phones, they placed a small explosive on the window of the trunk door.

The two occupants were taken out of the truck with their hands raised and immediately thrown to the ground to be handcuffed. The tension due to the large police deployment lasted about an hour and a half and was broadcast live on television.

One of the captured men was wanted for homicide, the Public Ministry confirmed.

At around 11:15 am police officers had detected the suspicious movement of the gray truck, so they followed it up. Its occupants noticed this operation and tried to flee, in the middle of the December vehicular traffic.

To stop them, the lynxes shot the car’s tires. Many drivers were disconcerted when they heard the explosions. More agents immediately arrived at the site and some drivers had to abandon their cars for security measures and while the operation took place.

One of the lawyers for those captured had reported that they did not get out of the vehicle because “they are scared.”

“They have said that they came from the Plaza Edison area and the motorized units known as the lynxes began to shoot. There is a person who suffers from nerves,” said Edgar Barsallo, lawyer.

The Homicide and Femicide Section began an investigation and proceeded to inspect the vehicle.

Inside the vehicle they found a gun and three magazines. In addition, there was a bag with dry grass, Commissioner Juan Arango confirmed.

The Social Security Fund (CSS) created the Coordination of Supply of Medications and Medical-Surgical Supplies , an entity to guarantee that patients receive their medications in a timely manner and doctors have the necessary medical-surgical supplies.

This coordination aims to know in real time the situation of the supply of medicines and supplies, follow up on the actions that must be carried out and guarantee effectiveness in dispensing to patients.

The general director of the CSS, Enrique Lau Cortés , stated that “for more than 40 years, policyholders have been complaining about the lack of medicines and supplies within our institution, which has led us to create a series of strategies to get in tune with the demand of society.”

He added that currently the supply of medicines is 94% in medicines and 90% in supplies in the country.

This coordination will be headed by the former Minister of Health, Eric Ulloa, and will be accompanied by a multisector team, made up of eight officials from different CSS departments.

Recently, Lau Cortés also gave the green light to create the administrative position of compliance officer, following the recommendation of the United States Anti-Narcotics Agency (DEA), following the loss a year ago of 19 thousand vials. of fentanyl, a controlled use drug, at the Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital Complex.

Fuel prices will register a drop starting this Friday, December 15, 2023, according to the National Secretariat of Energy.

The 95 octane gasoline will drop four cents per liter and will be sold at $0.911 ($3.45 per gallon), while the 91 octane gasoline will drop two cents per liter and will be sold at $0.866 ($3.28 per gallon).

Meanwhile, low sulfur diesel will decrease by six cents per liter and will be sold at $0.872 per liter ($3.30 per gallon).

These prices will take effect from 6:00 am on Friday until December 29, 2023.

It must be remembered that 91 octane gasoline and diesel are within the Government’s subsidy plan, with a fixed price of $3.25 per gallon nationwide.

95 octane gasoline has not been part of the fixed price since last April.


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