Tuesday 1st November 2022.

November 1, 2022

The first judge to liquidate criminal cases, Agueda Rentería, accepted the 30-day term allowed by law to issue a sentence in the process followed by the former head of the National Security Council, Gustavo Pérez, and the former director of the National Assistance Program (PAN), Giacomo Tamburelli, for the disappearance of the so-called wiretapping, equipment bought in 2010. The anti-corruption prosecutor Ariel Degracia requested the conviction of the two defendants for the crime of embezzlement, for the loss of equipment belonging to the State. Degracia assured that in this case it was possible to establish the link between the defendants and the disappearance of the equipment. Alfredo Vallarino, Pérez’s lawyer, assured that in this case the link between his client and the alleged crime could not be established, since in 2014, when the loss of the equipment was reported, his client was not head of the Security Council. .

The National Migration System (SNM) reported that as of Monday morning, nearly 4,000 irregular Venezuelan migrants have returned to their country voluntarily after being unable to continue their journey to the United States. It was reported that 163 Venezuelans traveled on Sunday’s flight and that two flights were scheduled for this Monday. To address this migratory crisis, Panama scheduled a meeting for this Tuesday with the authorities of Costa Rica and Colombia, in order to take actions to face the irregular migratory flow. Since last Thursday, in the capital city, the presence of Venezuelan migrants who have returned from Central America or who gave up continuing on their way to the United States has been observed. This concentration of travelers in the country occurs after the United States took the measure of not allowing the entry of Venezuelans who have arrived irregularly in Mexico or Panama.Through the Venezuelan Embassy in Panama and a church, in the Locería sector (Betania), a temporary shelter was set up for these migrants, most of whom want to return to their country  voluntarily.The SNM reported that until this Monday there are about 700 migrants in this holding center, since just as nearly 4,000 have managed to return, dozens of these irregular travelers from Central America continue to arrive in Panama daily. It is important to highlight that in order to return to their country, these Venezuelans must obtain the money to cover the cost of the air ticket, with a value of about $260.

The Caribbean Corridor, which will link the Panama-Colón highway with the coast above the province of Colon, should be ready within 24 months and will cost $91.6 million dollars. This Monday, October 31, the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, delivered the order to proceed with the work to the Consorcio Transeq SA–Ingeniería Estrella consortium for the execution of the project of about 28 kilometers. The contract is for the study, design, construction and financing of the Quebrada Ancha-María Chiquita highway and it is projected that it will benefit about 55,800 inhabitants of the districts of Colón and Portobelo. “With the delivery of the order to proceed for the construction of the Caribbean Corridor Project, we are adding a new road structure to improve land connectivity in the province of Colón,” said the president. It is highlighted that with the optimization of the road region of this region, new opportunities are created for tourism in the province that have a positive impact. In addition, direct and indirect jobs are generated and producers in this area also benefit. In a statement from the Presidency of the Republic it is highlighted that the design, financing and construction of the project includes all the necessary topographical, hydraulic, hydrological, soil, geotechnical and environmental studies required to guarantee the quality of a work of this nature. It is detailed that the construction goes from the Quebrada Ancha sector, near the intersection with Boyd Roosevelt Avenue and will extend to the intersection with the highway to Portobelo. Likewise, it was reported that the work includes seven vehicular bridges, an acceleration lane at the Quebrada Ancha-María Chiquita highway exit, a deceleration lane (access to the highway), a roundabout, four level returns on Boyd Avenue Roosevelt, a vehicular viaduct and overpass with its accesses.

The Executive’s promise to increase total public investment in science, technology and innovation to 1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in this mandate —embodied in the Joining Forces Action Plan— vanished, as the National Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (Senacyt) does not have the desired budget. The entity, which seeks to raise the level of productivity, competitiveness, and modernization of the private, academic-research, government, and general population sectors, will manage a budget of $49.6 million, this being lower than the 2022 budget, which was $50.4 millions. In fact, Senacyt obtained $49.6 million, after requesting the Budget Commission of the National Assembly and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) a reconsideration of the general budget bill for an amount of $8.6 million. However, the result was not what was expected, because only an additional $3 million was approved, despite the fact that what was requested was for more investment . The original request that Senacyt presented to the National Assembly and the MEF was for $88.6 million, of which the MEF recommended $46.6 million, which turned out to be $3.8 million less than last year. The highest budget available to the institution in recent years amounts to $58.7 million and was granted in 2019, despite the fact that it has under its umbrella the research and innovation centers in the public interest association (AIP) modality. with which you must distribute the budget.These  centers include the Institute of Scientific Research and High Technology Services (Indicasat), Infoplazas, the National Metrology Center of Panama (Cenamep), Coiba, Applied Scientific Research in Information Technology and Communications (Indicatic), the International Center of Political and Social Studies (Cieps) and others in training.

The Gorgas Commemorative Institute for Health Studies (Icges) also requested on September 6 that its 2023 budget be reconsidered. Icges requested a budget of $34.9 million and the Ministry of Economy and Finance assigned $32.7 million, of which $16.7 million would be for investment and $16 million for operation. The operating budget would have $1.5 million less than what the entity needs and the investment budget would be cut $519,140.The director of the Icges, Juan Miguel Pascale, maintained that they really needed $1.5 million to function. Pascale’s clamor was heard, because $2,390,000 was reconsidered in the budget bill, of which 1,567,308 is for operation and 822,692 will be for investment.

A month ago, the Administrative Court of Public Procurement (TACP) rejected the request of the Odebrecht company (CNO) to declare itself prevented from reviewing the appeal against the annulment of the construction contract for the new passenger terminal, ordered by Tocumen, SA for breach. Now, the TACP notified the CNO and Tocumen of the beginning of the phase of admission or rejection of evidence presented by both parties. With this, it intends to determine whether or not to admit the appeal filed by Odebrecht 12 months ago. The process has been delayed for almost a year after the filing of multiple legal appeals by Odebrecht before the TACP itself and the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice. The company wanted the airport administration to be ordered to desist from canceling the contract, in addition to lifting the three-year suspension measure for Odebrecht to sign new contracts with the state. Upon receiving the refusal of the Third Chamber that rejected a warning of illegality, CNO also filed an arbitration process against the airport administration where it requests compensation of more than 20 million dollars, the reactivation of the contract and that the TACP be declared impeded. After rejecting the last appeal filed by the Brazilian company, the substantiating magistrate of the Administrative Court, Luis Mariscal, ordered a series of expert inspections to verify the information provided by both parties. The magistrate wants to verify if CNO resolved the 600 pending works in the 116 thousand square meter building, as well as another series of possible breaches that led Tocumen to administratively terminate the contract on September 28, 2021, two days before the contract expired. term agreed in the eighth addendum to the document signed in 2012.

From this Sunday, October 30, Turkish Airlines connects directly three times a week to the city of Panama with Istanbul, Turkey, reported the Tocumen International Airport . It is highlighted that Turkey’s national airline, based in Istanbul, modified air services by adding three non-stop flights to and from Panama on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.Currently Turkish Airlines also operates a daily flight on the Istanbul-Bogota-Panama-Istanbul route. Raffoul Arab, general manager of Tocumen SA, stressed that the decision to establish a direct route by the airline is a support for confidence in the Panamanian market.

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