Wednesday 7th September 2022.

September 7, 2022

The rector of the University of Panama (UP) , Eduardo Flores, warned that the budget recommended for 2023 by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) would jeopardize the progress of the construction of the new University Regional Center of San Miguelito (Crusam). The UP requested 25 million dollars to continue with the project for 2023, but the MEF recommended 18 million 82 thousand dollars. That is, it suffers a reduction of 6.9 million dollars. According to the rector, this work is considered “the most important” carried out by the university after the construction of Ciudad Universitaria Octavio Méndez Pereira. He indicated that the construction is almost 50% complete and its completion is scheduled for next year. According to Flores, if the money was not available, the project would be delayed. The UP would also not have funds for the construction of the new Faculty of Medicine. They asked for 6 million dollars to start the project in 2023, but only recommended 500 thousand dollars. “In addition, those 500 thousand dollars have to come from our funds,” said the rector during the support of the budget project before the Budget Commission of the National Assembly. The recommended budget for the operation and investments of the UP for 2023 would be 350 million dollars. The university authorities had requested 370 million.

The President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo , met with Carlos del Toro , Secretary of the United States Navy, to discuss security issues. According to a statement from the Presidency, the Panamanian president expressed at the meeting that he seeks to strengthen relations with the United States to continue joint work on the security of the Panama Canal, irregular migration, illegal fishing and drug trafficking. “Relations between Panama and the United States are unique, particular and based on trust, and thanks to that we can work together,” said Cortizo. Meanwhile, Del Toro highlighted the actions carried out by Panama in terms of security and stated that the United States is executing security strategies in various perspectives, not only in Panama but in other countries in the region. It was reported that the meeting also discussed educational and security exchange programs for training in the United States, complying with the agreements on this matter. Cortizo was accompanied on the visit by Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes and Security Minister Juan Manuel Pino. Del Toro was accompanied by the charge d’affaires of the US Embassy in Panama, Tanya Ward; Senior Advisor to the Secretary for International Affairs, Anne Gebhards; and the military attaché, Navy Captain Rick Ursery.

The Public Ministry reported that one of the people involved in the multi million robbery at the cargo terminal of the Tocumen International Airport was sentenced to 14 years in prison. “The Second Section of Crimes Against the Metropolitan Economic Patrimony achieved a sentence of 14 years in prison for a man guilty of the crime of aggravated robbery of more than one million dollars, which occurred in 2021, in the facilities of a company at the Tocumen Airport”, informed the Public Ministry. This robbery occurred on October 6, 2021 and was at the facilities of the DHL parcel transnational, located in the cargo terminal of the Airport. This money was used notes and was destined for the United States. On January 21, the National Police confirmed the arrest in Penonomé, province of Coclé, of a man who was involved in this event.

Judges Virginia Rodríguez, Florelia Bonilla and Amarelis Sucre declared the former governor of the province of Coclé, Richard Fifer, investigated for the crime of illegal withholding of contributions from the Social Insurance Fund, as not guilty. The verdict comes after several days of hearing at the facilities of the accusatory penal system, in the district of Penonomé, province of Coclé. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office immediately announced that it will present the appeal. Fifer faced trial for the alleged commission of the crime of improper withholding of employee-employer fees to the detriment of the CSS, for an amount of more than 6 million dollars. This investigation began with the alleged withholding of CSS quotas from the end of 2013 to January 2015, through the companies Petaquilla Gold, SA and Panamá Desarrollo e Infraestructura, SA, of which the former governor of Coclé was the legal representative.

The Superior Court of Appeals confirmed the sentences of 5 and 4 years in prison imposed on Oydén Ortega Collado, son of the former magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice , Oydén Ortega Durán, and Claudia Purcait for the crime of corruption of a public official, imposed by a Trial Court on March 25. During a hearing held this Tuesday, the Court of Appeals decided to maintain the sanction imposed on Ortega Collado. In Purcait’s case, the prison sentence was commuted to the payment of a fine of $5,000 payable to the National Treasury. The ruling maintained the decision of judges Ilka Castillo, Jennifer Saavedra and Roberto Tejeira, who unanimously gave a guilty verdict for both defendants for having managed the handling of a judicial ruling that was in the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice.

The Panamanian authorities reported this Tuesday that they surprised a Colombian-flagged vessel fishing in an area of ​​the Cordillera de Coiba closed to fishing, for which it was apprehended and will be fined. The Colombian-flagged vessel “was not authorized even to enter national waters,” said the director of the Aquatic Resources Authority of Panama (ARAP), Flor Torrijos, at a joint press conference with the National Aeronaval Service (Senan). ). A statement from the ARAP specified that the boat, named “DE PESCA” and manned by 8 people of Colombian nationality, “was fishing in a prohibited area of ​​the Cordillera de Coiba sector” when it was detected last weekend. The Cordillera de Coiba is a protected area of ​​almost 68,000 square kilometers located in the Pacific of Panama. Its management plan establishes that two thirds of it are totally closed to the exploitation of species, while in the remaining third it is only possible to fish up to 70 meters deep. Torrijos recalled that the current law in Panama dictates that a fishing boat with a foreign flag has to request an authorization to enter Panamanian waters and, if obtained, has to “share satellite monitoring” with the authorities, this with “the objective of guaranteeing sustainable fishing. The Colombian-flagged ship seized did not follow this procedure. In addition, “dogfish” or juvenile sharks have been identified among the fishery products on board, which “is going to aggravate the implementation of the fine,” added the official. Panamanian law establishes “possible fines of between 50,000 and 300,000 dollars” for offenses such as those accredited to the Colombian-flagged ship, and “in 30 to 80 days” the economic sanction should be imposed, added the ARAP director. Senan also “recently” surprised a Panamanian-flagged vessel with four crew members in an area of ​​the Las Perlas Archipelago fishing without permission and without issuing the satellite monitoring system, for which the corresponding file was opened. In this vessel was found “prohibited product of the sea for fishing,” said the Aquatic Resources Authority.

Panamanian banking is ready, and some have already activated the option to make transfers in real time under the figure of express ACH or Xpress on their platforms. The Clave system managed by Telered concluded at the end of 2021 the adaptations to allow these transactions between bank accounts of clients of different banks to be carried out in real time and not take 2 or 3 hours or up to 24 hours as usual. With the traditional procedure, three cuts are made daily in ACH so that transfers between banks are made effective. “Telered is ready with the ACH Xpress platform that allows these transfers in real time from November 2021”, reported Alexander Acosta, general manager of Telered. He explained that the banks of the plaza are in different stages of the process to adopt the service. This week, BAC and Multibank customers indicated that the ACH Xpress option can now be seen through online banking and there is also the traditional option. In this phase the service will not be charged. In Telered they reported that this year they expect at least 10 banks to activate online transfers and payments in real time and the rest are expected to adopt it in 2023. “The country is taking an important step towards modernizing the financial payment ecosystem”, highlighted the general manager of Telered.

The patriotic parades in the capital city will once again take place on two routes, confirmed this Tuesday, September 6, the Minister of Education, Maruja Gorday de Villalobos. The head of the Ministry of Education (Meduca) stressed that coordination continues with the Ministries of the Presidency and Security for the celebration of the national holidays next November. Gorday de Villalobos confirmed that the student delegations, independent bands and institutions will once again parade on two routes: the coastal strip and on 50th Street, just as it was carried out before the pandemic. Due to the pandemic, the parades were not held in 2020 and the following year it was allowed to honor the homeland in controlled spaces; in the case of the capital city, the Rommel Fernández stadium was the stage. “Some precise issues are being defined. The issue of independent bands generates a lot of expectation because there has to be order and organization”, said Gorday de Villalobos on Telemetro. “Since we had this period of two years, we must ensure that everything that is going to be presented generates citizen security and the greatest participation of schools at the national level,” she added.

It should be noted that for national days, in addition to the capital city, parades are also held in other parts of the country on November 3 and 4. In some districts, activities are even carried out on different dates. The Health authorities announced that the behavior of the virus will be monitored after the patriotic parades, to make a decision on the celebration of the 2023 carnivals.

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