Tuesday 8th November 2022.

November 8, 2022

The visual inspection diligence scheduled for this Monday, at the PH Urbana on 54 Obarrio street, Bella Vista district, was suspended for security reasons. The decision to suspend the inspection was made after a review carried out by engineers from the Technological University of Panama (UTP) and personnel from the Panama Fire Department determined that in apartment No. 12, where an explosion occurred last November 1, presents cracks in its structure. The primary care prosecutor, Julio Villarreal, specified that the experts made the decision to shore up floors 9, 10 and 11 to avoid a possible collapse of the structures when the inspection is carried out, which seeks to determine the causes of the explosion. These works were carried out this Monday afternoon and also will continue today, to secure the structures of these floors. The explosion on the 12th floor of the PH Urbana broke windows, collapsed furniture, threw debris that affected citizens and vehicles, and left 21 people injured. In addition, the blast wave affected several nearby buildings, some of which cannot yet be occupied by their owners.

The Supreme Court of Justice did not admit a lawsuit of unconstitutionality filed against resolution No. 82 of August 16, 2022 issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (Mici) that set the parameters of how the 30% reduction in the cost of medicines by international laboratories would occur. The lawsuit filed by the lawyer, Víctor Baker, on his own behalf, sought to annul the reductions decreed by the regulatory mechanism issued by the Mici for international laboratories on the price of medicines resulting from the agreements of the dialogue table established in the city of Penonomé, between popular organizations and government representatives and that crystallized through executive decree No. 17 of August 10, 2022. The aforementioned decree established a 30 percent reduction in the price of 170 medicines and it requires pharmacies and laboratories to apply it as of its enactment. The ruling under the presentation of the magistrate, Miriam Chen Rosas, and dated October 5, does not admit the lawsuit, which was based on the fact that the decision made by the Mici contravenes free enterprise enshrined in the Constitution.

From July 2019, when the administration of President Laurentino Cortizo began , to July 2022, some 16,936 officials were appointed to the payroll and monthly salary spending increased by $62.5 million, according to data recorded by the Comptroller General of the Republic. In July 2019, after the start of Cortizo’s mandate, 238,248 public servants were registered, including the head and command officials that he had already appointed, while the monthly salary expense that month was $349.5 million. After three years, in July 2022, the number of public servants on the state payroll amounted to 255,184 officials with a monthly salary expense of $412 million. The accumulated expenditure on wages in these first seven months of 2022 amounts to $2,814 million. The institutions that registered the greatest growth in civil servants in July were the Ministry of Education, with 1,848; the Ministry of Health, with 1,520; the Ministry of Public Security, with 864; the Comptroller General of the Republic, with 465; the Tocumen SA International Airport, with 358; the Ministry of Agricultural Development, with 294; the Judicial Branch, with 262; the Savings Bank, with 190; the Technological University of Panama, with 178; the University of Panama, with 165; the Maritime Authority, with 147; the Fire Department, with 113; and the Specialized University of the Americas, with 109. Compared to June, in July there was a decrease of 1,526 officials. In the National Assembly, 3,919 (which could be temporary contracts); in the Social Security Fund, 164;

international research ed on sarcomas, a rare cancer that often originates in soft tissue. Panama’s entry into this study was promoted by Marina Pacheco, pathologist at the Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital Complex, of the Social Security Fund (CSS) . Pacheco explained that the process to be part of the sarcoma research network began in October 2021, and on August 3, she obtained the approval of the hospital’s Bioethics Committee to begin the study in the country. The study is ambispective, that is, data from patients with this type of tumor will be collected retrospectively from 2012 and prospectively from the present until December 2023. The pathologist hopes that more hospitals and doctors from other specialty areas who treat patients with sarcomas will join the research project. Around 50 sarcomas are diagnosed each year at the Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital Complex, so the researcher anticipates that for both phases of the study (retrospective and prospective) some 600 patients can be included in the defined period. She argued that with this research knowledge will be obtained about the epidemiology and relative incidences of each subtype of sarcoma that is diagnosed locally (there are about 80 subtypes) In addition, the study will allow quantitative information to be obtained on the quality of local care for patients with sarcomas. Other countries in the Americas region that are part of the network are the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Paraguay.

The Ministry of Public Works (MOP) annulled in its entirety the report of the evaluation commission that reviewed the 15 proposals of the companies interested in prequalifying for the tender of the first Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract that the Government will award for the rehabilitation and maintenance of 246 kilometers of highway in the eastern sector of the province of Panama, up to the community of Yaviza. The evaluation commission considered that the 15 companies that participated in the prequalification met the requirements established in the specifications, but after a series of observations made by 4 of the participants, the MOP minister, Rafael Sabonge, ordered a new review. of the 15 proposals. The project has a preliminary cost of $387 million, according to pre-feasibility analyzes carried out by the International Finance Corporation, attached to the World Bank. With the figure of the APP, the State contracts the rehabilitation works that will be carried out in a period of 2 years, and then -through an 11-year concession- the company will be in charge of the maintenance of the intervened area and will receive annual compensation. Payment will be subject to compliance with a list of points established by the contracting entity to guarantee the maintenance of the work.

The Norwegian Encore and Viking Star cruise ships arrived simultaneously this Monday, at the new Amador terminal, as part of the start of the 2022-2023 cruise season. This is the first operation in this cruise terminal, which began services despite the fact that its construction has not been completed. The Viking Star carried out a home port operation or change of all passengers, while the Norwegian Escore carried out a transit operation. The latter refers to the procedure when passengers embark or disembark to travel around the country, which can be shopping or visiting tourist sites. The Norwegian carries about 2,400 passengers. The Viking Star disembarked 890 passengers and embarked 650 passengers, reported the Director of Ports in charge of the Panama Maritime Authority, Jonathan Guerini.This is important income for the economy. According to Guerini, each passenger in transit leaves approximately 100 dollars in the economy, while those who  are in the base port or home port, about 350 dollars. For the cruise season, which runs through May 2023, there are 52 reservations at the Amador terminal.

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