Thursday 6th April 2023.
April 5, 2023
The Municipality of Panama is not accepting the provisional suspension ordered by the Supreme Court of Justice on Municipal Agreement No. 142 of Tuesday, August 2, 2022, which establishes an increase in the municipal tax tables, denounced this Wednesday the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap).
Marcela Galindo , president of the Cciap, stressed that at the time the capital authorities were asked to suspend the measure so that it could be widely discussed and, in the case of companies that have complied with the payments, they would be given credit. And that to this is added the decision of the Court to suspend the measure.
On February 9, the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court ordered the provisional suspension of the municipal agreement, in response to a lawsuit filed by lawyer Ernesto Cedeño. On that occasion, the Chamber based its decision on the damages that the increase in taxes could cause to the community.
In the lawsuit before the Court, it is alleged that the increase in municipal taxes was a decision without consultation and that the taxpayers themselves were not informed of it. Even the former vice mayor Judy Meana said she was unaware of the measure.
“It is clear that Agreement No. 142 of August 2, 2022, directly increases -and exponentially- the municipal taxes that taxpayers of the District of Panama must pay, as of January 2023, which It could have a serious impact on the economic situation of the Capital Municipality”, the document of the Court that was disclosed last February is reflected.
In a letter sent to the mayor of the capital, José Luis Fábrega , the Cciap warned that the entity is not accepting the provisional suspension ordered by the Court.
“At the time of entering the system of the Municipality of Panama to make the payment of the tax, the payment percentages corresponding to the new tax established in Agreement No. 142 still appear, which is contrary to what was discussed in the room courtesy granted to the Mayor Fábrega and his work team before the Board of Directors of our union, on March 1 of this year,” recalled the Chamber, in a statement
The Cciap announced that the Center for Economic Studies presented an analysis where the economic sectors that would be impacted by this modification were exposed, including small, medium and large companies.
The accelerated and unplanned growth in Arraiján, La Chorrera and Capira, in the province of Panamá Oeste, exploded like a bomb and now there are traffic problems, drinking water and electricity supply and waste collection, among others.
Currently, around 19 communities in Arraiján and La Chorrera do not receive water continuously, only a few hours a day, which generated protests and caused both residents and authorities from the Institute of National Aqueducts and Sewers (Idaan) to sit down to find solutions.
For now, the talks are ongoing and the director of Idaan, Juan Antonio Ducruet, in an interview with this medium, stressed that the demand exceeded the offer. He estimates that of the 600,000 people who live in West Panama, 10%, that is, 60,000, are the ones who face the problem with supply deficiencies, the majority are in the higher parts of the province.
In the words of the official, new water treatment plants are being expanded and built, since it is expected that in the next 10 years the province will have a population of 1.2 million people, taking into account the development of projects such as line 3 of the Metro. For 12 years, in West Panama the same water production has been maintained.
Despite the implementation of a territorial control plan deployed by the country’s security agencies as a result of the increase in crimes in the San Miguelito district, acts of violence continue in that territory.
Of the 96 homicides that were committed in Panama in January and February, 28 occurred in that district.
This figure is higher than that registered in 2022 in the same period, when 56 murders were committed throughout the country, 8 of which occurred in San Miguelito.
Several of the crimes committed this year have made headlines on the news because they have been committed viciously: mutilations, beheadings, among other methods. The Minister of Public Security himself, Juan Manuel Pino, acknowledged that the issue got out of control. “We had a problem in San Miguelito and I admit it. We are going to push, as we know how to push, ”he said last February.
The ministry highlights the increase in police presence in the area, with more than 300 agents. This includes personnel from the National Police, the National Aeronaval Service (Senan) and the National Border Service (Senafront).
Recently, the Ministry of Security installed a video surveillance center in San Miguelito, made up of 600 high-resolution cameras that allow facial recognition and vehicle license plates, to locate potential lawbreakers.
The cameras are located at 200 strategic points in the district, which makes it possible to monitor areas with a high crime rate in real time.
According to the director of the National Police, Jhon Dorheim, this center allows a rapid reaction by police officers to deal with any disturbance of public order.
This is the sixth video surveillance center that operates in the country; the remaining five are located in the metropolitan area of Panama City, Colón, Chiriquí, La Chorrera and Arraiján.
Since it came into operation on March 24, the San Miguelito video surveillance center has received more than 6,000 reports of robberies, acts of vandalism, disturbance of public order, and homicides.
The minister assured that video surveillance has been effective as an instrument that helps detect criminals and that the results obtained in the monitoring centers already installed have been positive.
In the last two weeks, no deaths from the covid-19 respiratory virus have been reported , the Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported this Wednesday, April 5, 2023 .
However, new cases of contagion have had a slight rebound. In its weekly report, the Minsa details that from Sunday, March 26 to Saturday, April 1, 949 new positive cases of covid19 were confirmed.
The average positivity for that week was 6.2%. That of the previous week was 5.2%.
To date, the accumulated number of deaths throughout the country due to this virus remains at 8,612.
780 people are in home isolation and 57 people are hospitalized. No patients are registered in intensive care units.
Faced with the displacement of thousands of people to different regions of the country on the occasion of Easter Week activities , the security forces will deploy some 24,000 officials during the surveillance operation that will last until Sunday, April 9.
The authorities reported that personnel from the Public Force, the Fire Department, Sinaproc, the Ministry of Health and the Social Security Fund, among other entities, participate in “Operation Easter Week 2023” nationwide. This includes residential, commercial and recreational areas such as beaches, spas, trails, tourist and religious places.
It is highlighted that security, prevention and response actions will be carried out in situations that may arise during the movement of people to different parts of the country.
The director of Transit Operations, Emiliano Otero, informed that the reversal of lanes towards the interior of the country will begin this Thursday, April 6, starting at 10:00 am in two sections.
One will be from the La Espiga sector to Campana and the other starting in Sajalice to Argos in San Carlos, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
In the same way, a lane inversion will be made from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm from the Las Américas bridge to Arraiján.
“On Sunday’s return we have 52 kilometers of lane inversion, from Las Uvas de San Carlos to Sajalice and from Campana to La Espiga, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.,” Otero explained.
He informed that lane reversal would be scheduled for Friday and Saturday depending on the traffic flow, either for the interior of the country or the capital city.