Tuesday 31st January 2023.

January 31, 2023

After remaining silent for two weeks, the Minister Counselor for Private Investment Facilitation, José Rojas Pardini, justified the purchase of a luxurious apartment for $1.7 million last June and his relationship with his cousin, a manager at Minera Panama. Rojas Pardini assured in a paid statement that the million-dollar loan for his apartment in PH The Pole was granted “with the proper bank guarantees, for 25 years, renewable every 5 years.” He stated that the construction of the property “built by our company” began in 2016 and “practically finished in 2019”, although a real estate company promotes that The Pole is from 2020. In his statement, published in other media and in which he does not deny the La Prensa investigation, he omitted to indicate how much they paid for the farm where The Pole was built. He only mentioned that it was purchased from Ideal Living Corp. in 2014. Documents in the Public Registry show that in December 2015, the Mormont Properties company made a full payment for a little more than $609,000 for the farm, but four months later, in April 2016, this company was the mortgage guarantor of the partnership The Pole At The 8th Hole Corp., in a $9.7 million interim construction loan agreement. Of that loan, the document indicates, $2.8 million would be to pay for the finca. In both companies, his partner and current Minister of Public Works, Rafael Sabonge, was the president and legal representative. Regarding the loan to build The Pole, he said that it belongs to 7 partners and that it was canceled in 2022 with mortgages that each one obtained. Rojas Pardini maintained the position of his partner, Minister Sabonge, regarding the purchase of the apartment as a “personal matter of a private nature that is not related to my public function.” The official attacked the La Prensa investigation , describing it as “misinformation”, which has tried to “affect my honor and that of my family.” By the way, he confirmed that he and his family are partners in Porta Norte, in which Urbe Promotion and Development has 100,000 square meters of land for its own developments. In March 2020, President Laurentino Cortizo participated in the act to start work on Porta Norte, in the company of his two ministers, partners in this project: Sabonge and Rojas Pardini. Two weeks ago, La Prensa sent a 16-question questionnaire to Rojas Pardini, who did not respond. As for the complaints to Acodeco, from people who trusted their real estate projects, Rojas Pardini downplayed it.“It is normal in the real estate development industry that a number of complaints from buyers have been filed or are being addressed before Acodeco. There are real estate companies very close to this print media that are leaders in complaints and that are  not being attacked by their journalists. In Acodeco there are more than 50 complaints in only 2 of its various projects.

With the end of the extraordinary contribution on December 31, 2022 to the Rate Stabilization Fund (FET) due to the covid-19 pandemic , only customers who consume up to 300 kW/h per month will continue to receive the subsidy that covers 20% of the electric bill. In this range are 81% of the clients of the national energy network. Jorge Rivera Staff, National Secretary of Energy, indicated that the Tariff Stabilization Fund (FET) due to the Covid-19 pandemic represented a disbursement of 300 million dollars from the start of the respiratory pandemic in Panama in March 2020 until April 31. December of last year. During an interview on the TVN news , the official indicated that an evaluation of the country’s fiscal capacity and economic indicators was carried out monthly to determine if it was necessary to continue with the extraordinary subsidy that covered up to 50% of the bill. of customers with a monthly consumption of up to 300 kW/h, and 20% of households with bills between 300 kW/h and 750 kW/h. Over the weekend, users expressed their discomfort on social networks due to the increase in the electricity bill for the month of January and pointed out that the Government did not inform that the special subsidy established during the pandemic had ended on December 31, 2022. Staff noted that 92% of customers who were in the 300 kW/h and 750 kW/h range received the extraordinary subsidy. On December 30, 2022, the new rates that will apply during the first half of this year were announced. As of January 1, a reduction was applied to clients of the Naturgy electricity distribution companies such as Edemet and Edechi, in the global price of -3.19% and -2.6% respectively, while ENSA clients will register an increase of 1.45 % on average, according to the National Authority for Public Services (ASEP). Regarding the extension of the fuel subsidy, the official explained that the same analysis is being carried out on the fiscal capacity and economic reactivation to determine if it will be extended or will end on February 15.

Two people died in the early hours of this Monday, January 30, during a shootout on 21st street in the town of El Chorrillo, when a party was taking place. The victims are father and son, detailed Rolando Alonso, commissioner of the National Police. In addition, three people were shot and taken to the hospital. According to the commissioner, at about 9:00 pm they went to the place to suspend a “parking” that a group of people were carrying out to celebrate the victory of a soccer game. But hours later, the clandestine party continues. At about 2:50 am the shooting began. “Unfortunately, these are situations that occur with a discussion, with a bad look or with a bad word and this is the El Chorrillo sector,” said the agent. Authorities are after two suspects in the shooting after they were pointed out by area witnesses.

In epidemiological week No. 4, which runs from Sunday, January 22 to Saturday, January 28, 640 new cases of covid-19 were confirmed in the country, the Panamanian Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported. The most recent epidemiological report of the entity shows that on Thursday, January 16, the highest number of cases was reported, with 117. Regarding deaths, 2 were registered in said epidemiological week, the Minsa specified. Thus, the total number of confirmed cases in the country is 1,029,701, while the number of deaths is 8,596. In said epidemiological week, 16,311 detection tests for the new coronavirus were carried out and the average positivity is 3.9%, the entity said in a statement. In the report, the Minsa also announced that there are 8,756,308 vaccines applied against covid-19, from January 21, 2021 to January 30, 2023. The total corresponds to the sum of the first, second, third and fourth dose nationwide; Vaccination of immunosuppressed patients is included. While the total pediatric doses applied is 497,696. It must be remembered that Panama began the vaccination campaign in January 2021.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently identified a possible safety signal with the bivalent covid-19 vaccine made by the pharmaceutical duo Pfizer/BioNTech , but it is unlikely to pose a real risk. The health agency continues to recommend that people stay current on vaccinations against the disease starting at 6 months, as it reduces the risk of serious illness and death, this includes people who are currently eligible to receive the bivalent vaccine. The CDC noted that one of its vaccine safety monitoring systems, a “near real-time surveillance system” called the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), detected a possible increase in a certain type of stroke in people 65 and older. or more who had recently received one of the updated Pfizer/BioNTech booster shots. Panamanian scientists agree that at this time there is nothing to suggest potential alarm, and the recommendation is not to suspend vaccination. The infectologist and pediatrician, Javier Nieto, stated that the finding was observed only in a security monitoring database, and in the rest of the databases no findings have been detected. In addition, Nieto emphasized that there are at least three studies that demonstrate the effectiveness and impact of the bivalent vaccine in reducing hospitalizations, which can range between 50% and 81% in people 65 years of age or older. For his part, the pediatrician, infectologist and clinical researcher, Xavier Sáez Llorens, explained that these agencies use multiple complementary safety monitoring systems to help detect possible safety signals for vaccines or medicines and initiate a more rigorous investigation as appropriate. He noted that these sensitive security systems often detect signals that could be due to factors other than the vaccine or drug under study. However, Sáez Llorens stated that any sign, no matter how small, requires more investigation and confirmation in formal epidemiological studies.

More articles