Tuesday 2nd May 2023.

April 27, 2023

Hundreds of people marched this Monday, May 1, 2023 on the occasion of International Labor Day.

The activity began in the Porras park and culminated in the 5 de Mayo square, where speeches were given on the occasion of this date.

“Long live organized workers”, was heard in the middle of the march.

As part of the social demands, the union leader Genaro López referred on this day to the increase in the levels of labor informality and the low wages of Panamanian workers.

He also mentioned that there are serious problems to be solved such as hunger, education and lack of medicines, among others.

López advocated for a better distribution of wealth in the country. “The wealth generated by workers is not seen in the population. There are more and more poor people and unsatisfied needs,” he added.

Saúl Méndez, another Panamanian union leader, also complained about the high cost of living in Panama.

“We work eight hours, we rest eight hours and we can allocate eight hours to study or to recreate ourselves, that dignity of human life must be improved in Panama,” he remarked.

The workers also asked that the crisis be addressed once and for all with the pension program of the Social Security Fund.

The Supreme Court of Justice confirmed a decision to admit the lawsuit in which the merchant Abdul Waked Fares claims compensation of $1,268.7 million from the National Bank of Panama (BNP) , for alleged damages linked to the transfer of his former Soho Mall .

Judges Cecilio Cedalise and María Cristina Chen Stanziola , both from the Third Chamber of Administrative Litigation, rejected an appeal filed by the Administration Attorney, Rigoberto González , and the lawyer Nelson Rojas , representing the Ministry of the Presidency, against the decision adopted on May 12, 2022 by Carlos Reyes Vásquez (also magistrates of that same courtroom) to admit Waked Fares’ claim for compensation.

Cedalise and Chen’s decision was adopted on April 21 and communicated by means of an edict released last Friday, at 4:00 p.m.

The attorney for the Administration and the attorney for the Presidency had filed the appeal on September 7. On several occasions, both have tried to remove Cedalise, considering that he has issued “critical value judgments of clear and sufficient forcefulness” in favor of Waked in this and other cases, which makes impartiality unfeasible. The recusal appeals against Cedalise have been rejected by the other magistrates of the Court.

In his claim, Waked argues that he was pressured by the BNP to sign the trust to which Soho Mall voluntarily transferred in July 2016, after being included in a sanction list of the US Department of the Treasury, on activities related to money laundering and the drug trafficking Waked, his son and several of his companies are still on the so-called Clinton List .

Before, the merchant tried a similar maneuver, but with respect to the trust to which he transferred the Felix store chain, in an attempt to save that business after its inclusion in the Clinton List. However, that claim was rejected on July 3, 2017, because then the Third Chamber considered that it had no jurisdiction to settle this conflict, as it was a private and commercial transaction. On that occasion, Cedalise saved his vote for disagreeing with the decision of the rest of the magistrates since, according to him, that trust “is of an administrative nature.” That was one of the reasons why the Administration attorney challenged him, alleging that Cedalise already has a definite opinion on a case that is still under discussion in the Chamber.

In both trusts (Felix’s and Soho Mall’s), the BNP acted as trustee, at the request of Waked himself and its creditor banks.

Felix and Soho Mall were removed from the Clinton List, once transferred to a trust.

The amount that Waked claims as compensation in his lawsuit (which is back in the office of magistrate Carlos Vásquez) represents an additional 20% of the paid-in capital of the BNP, whose lawyers have also challenged Cedalise.

If the Third Chamber finds at fault the BNP, this would be the largest compensation to which the Panamanian State would have to respond in its entire history.

Waked has never claimed compensation from the US authorities and his requests and legal actions to be removed from the sanctions list have been rejected by the Treasury Department and in the courts.

The bill that modifies Law 1 of January 2001 (which regulates the general management of medicines in the country) arising from the technical medicines table, led by the Vice President of the Republic, José Gabriel Carrizo, was pending discussion. in the National Assembly.

The initiative, which aims to repeal the current law, came from the Minister of Health, Luis Francisco Sucre, on March 29 to the plenary session of the legislature.

The bill includes the ideas that arose from the technical committee on medicines, chaired by the Vice President of the Republic, José Gabriel Carrizo, and which seeks to supply quality drugs, at low cost and with quick access for the population.

At the time, Sucre indicated that institutions, chronic patient organizations and representatives of the University of Panama participated in the creation of this project, among other groups and unions.

In addition, he said that “this project touches on two important aspects: regulation, demand and the acquisition of medicines. This comes to reinforce and leave reflected, under a law, all the decrees signed by the President of the Republic”, added Sucre.

The so-called Medicines Law was modified by the National Assembly through bill 841, which was approved in the third debate in mid-March and is pending sanction or veto by the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo. This project implied 32 modifications of the current law.

The issue of medicines has been under analysis by the various sectors for more than a year, with the aim of ending shortages in the public sector and lowering prices in the local market.

In fact, a 30% discount on the price of at least 900 drug molecules was one of the proposals that emerged from the drug technical committee last year.

This discount, last February, was extended for six more months by the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo through Executive Decree 3 of February 14, 2023.

An aircraft with four people on board crashed on Monday May 1 and fell on La Amistad avenue (Ancón). The event occurred near the Panamanian Chinese Cultural Center.

Official sources confirmed that the condition of the four occupants is stable. Only one of them complained of knee pain, but he has already been treated by medical personnel.

The aircraft, with registration HP-1655 and model Cessna 172, came from a regional area of ​​the country; It was led by Captain Arquimedes Vargas.

Personnel from the Civil Aeronautical Authority, SUME 911 and the Fire Department moved to the site, while traffic in the area was blocked to facilitate emergency work.

The Institute of Geosciences of the University of Panama reported an earthquake registered at 12:22 pm on Monday, May 1, with a magnitude of 4.2, located 36 kilometers from Santiago, Veraguas province.

In this regard, the National Civil Protection System announced, through its Twitter account, that no affectations have been reported for the moment.

However, monitoring continues in various sectors.

The Institute of National Aqueducts and Sewers (Idaan) reported that users in the sector of Tinajitas, 6 de Abril, La Providencia and surrounding areas will present affectations in the water supply this Monday, May 1 and Tuesday, May 2, 2023.

This is due to the fact that technical personnel will carry out welding work on the drinking water reserve tank located in the 6 de Abril community in Tinajitas.

Therefore, the service will be interrupted in this sector from Monday, at 3:00 p.m., to dry the tank and be able to carry out the repair work on Tuesday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Idaan reiterates to the population that to make the proper reports there is the free line 311.


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