Tuesday 3rd January 2023.

January 3, 2023

President Laurentino Cortizo declared himself “respectful” of the autonomy of the Social Security Fund (CSS) and announced that the reforms to the Disability, Old Age and Death (IVM) pension program should arise from the dialogue table, which is currently in a de facto recess. This was communicated by Cortizo in a report to the country, which he presented during the installation of the second period of ordinary sessions of the fourth legislature of the National Assembly. “The national government is respectful of the autonomy of the Social Security Fund and Panamanians hope that, from the Dialogue Table, viable options will emerge that strengthen the Disability, Old Age and Death program and that the responses that are achieved in the dialogue do not jeopardize the current progress of the economic recovery,” said Cortizo. He reported that, in the first two years of the pandemic, the State stopped receiving $4.477 million in current income. “However, and even in the midst of these budgetary limitations, the national government has maintained, during these 42 months, in a responsible and supportive manner, the delivery of economic support to the population,” he said. Cortizo also referred to the renegotiation of the Donoso mine concession contract. Despite the fact that efforts are being made to close the commercial operations of the mine, he said that Minera Panamá, a subsidiary of the Canadian First Quantum, does not have its doors completely closed and that it has in its hands a “final contract text” that contemplates a minimum contribution to the State of $375 million per year. It is the same thing that had been agreed with Minera Panamá a year ago and that the company accepted at that time, only to retract it last December. He recalled that Minera Panamá does not have a current contract, since the current one was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Justice, in September 2017. “The position of our government is firm, in the sense of enforcing what is established in the Political Constitution, which I quote below: Concessions for the exploitation of the soil and subsoil (…) will be inspired by social welfare and public interes”, he indicated.

The Minister of Public Security, Juan Pino, urged the deputies on January 2 to sit down at the table to discuss project 625 in the first debate, which adopts the legislation for extinction of domain of illegal assets in the country. “Enough of the surveys, enough of the consultations, the time has come to sit down at the table and discuss the project, analyze it, make any changes and start with something. The problem is to start,  there is some resistance (in the Assembly), we understand it, ”he said after explaining that the project was prepared for a year and went through all the corresponding stages. He said that the important thing at this time is to discuss it and make the necessary adjustments, “because Panama requires it to be able to fight organized crime, against taking its financial muscle, especially against corruption,” he added. He revealed that they have already spoken with the president of the National Assembly, Crispiano Adames.

The president of the National Assembly , Crispiano Adames, said this Monday, January 2, that he has asked the Minister of Public Security, Juan Manuel Pino, to withdraw bill 625, which adopts the legislation for extinction of domain of illegal assets in the country, due to “multiple shortcomings”. According to Adames, the alleged shortcomings were “determined by Panamanian technicians.” The president of the Assembly assured, during his speech to install the Assembly, that they are not against the norm that seeks to combat drug trafficking. “National history has shown that as a Nation we have tried to pass laws that respond to our realities, not to the realities of other people. We are not in favor of accepting the aspirin used by other people to remedy their illnesses. We are in favor of manufacturing our own aspirin with our own flavor, typically national,” he said. In my opinion, the project should be improved. He recalled that last year, when he was on the Government Commission, they traveled to Colombia to learn about the implementation process of the asset forfeiture law. “It took 18 years for it to be a law,” he said. He indicated that in the countries where this rule is applied there are constitutional courts that defend people “whose due process is violated” and “there is no such thing here.” Earlier, Minister Pino also spoke about the project. He said that withdrawing the initiative means more time for its preparation and they would be against the clock because this administration ends in June 2024. In his speech, Deputy Adames also spoke about the Minera Panamá contract and questioned the Executive for not informing them in detail about what was discussed with the company. He also announced that this year they will discuss the drug bill.

José Luis Rodríguez, alias “Puma”, and who was on the most wanted list, was captured, it was reported this Monday. “Puma”, identified as an alleged member of the gang calling itself Bagdag El Tecal, maintained a precautionary measure of house arrest for gang membership. Through a search procedure in Nuevo Chorrillo, Arraiján district, the National Police and the Public Ministry apprehended a total of four people required for the crimes of gang membership and against collective security, among whom was “Puma”. It was reported that two people were required for alleged acts against collective security and another for the crime of gang membership. In turn, a firearm was confiscated at the scene, being sent as evidence for investigations.

The Chinese company Yutong Bus Co. was awarded the tender carried out by the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP), for the purchase of 5 electric buses that will be used to implement the first green route in the country and that will help improve mobility within from Casco Viejo, one of the most visited tourist sites in the country. The company presented an offer of one million 399 thousand 300 dollars, surpassing BYD Panama that had proposed one million 582 thousand 211 dollars. The tender was carried out under the contracting parameters of the Inter-American Development Bank, an entity that is also financing the acquisition of the 5 units and two chargers. According to the ATP, once they are operational, the units will depart from the Metro Bus yard, in El Chorrillo, bound for the Old Town. They will connect with Plaza 5 de Mayo and Plaza de Los Poetas. The route would operate from Monday to Sunday and will be available to the general public. Once the buses arrive in the country, they will be transferred to the company Mi Bus, responsible for their operation. According to the Yutong Bus Co. website, the company based in central China’s Henan province controls 38% of the Chinese bus market and has delivered 147,000 units using alternative energy to date. to hydrocarbons. It is projected that the electric buses will operate from 4:00 am to 11:00 pm and the Transit and Land Transportation Authority will be responsible for establishing the rate. The administrator of the ATP, Iván Eskildsen, pointed out that the acquisition of this fleet of vehicles is part of the actions of the program: Comprehensive Urban Development of Cities with a Tourist Vocation, which is carried out in Pedasí, Bocas del Toro, Boquete, Tierras Altas, Soná, Taboga and the Old Town, in the capital city.

More articles