Weekly results of the Single Table of Dialogue for Panama are detailed

During the meeting of the Single Table for Dialogue for Panama, which resumed at 3:45 pm on Friday, August 19, 2022, in Penonomé, Coclé, the National Alliance of the Organized People (Anadepo) asked about the distribution of the budget of the year 2023, in addition to explaining in detail the rental of cars in the Ministry of the Presidency.

Luis Amado, economic advisor to the Presidency of the Republic, gave the facilitators and social groups the number of the public act that appears on the Panama Compra website, where the details of the car rental contract are.

Amado explained that when the investigation was done, it was found that in the local market each vehicle had an estimated cost of B/.77 thousand, while sedan cars were between B/.48 and B/.58 thousand; the calculation was made in 24 months with depreciation and for this reason it was concluded that it was more expensive to buy than to rent.

Responding to queries made by representatives of Anadepo, Sara Pedreschi, general director of Administrative Career, stated that in the Ministry of the Presidency there are 22 positions of national executive directors and deputy directors and more than 90% of these officials do not earn more than the Minister of the Presidency, except for some directors who are protected by special laws.

NEGOTIATIONS FOR SOCIAL PEACE BULLETIN No. 34 1/5 2/2 He explained that the National Dialogue for the CSS is suspended because the International Labor Organization (ILO) was asked to prepare the report on the actuarial situation of the entity and define the future of the Disability, Old Age and Death (IVM) program.

Salamín said that, following the methodology of the Single Table of Dialogue for Panama, the point related to the recomposition of the National Dialogue by the CSS is considered in dissent. Social organizations question why the Catholic Church is not allowed to convene and facilitate the Dialogue for the Social Security Fund.

The facilitators of the Catholic Church that participate in the Single Table of Dialogue for Panama pointed out that the ecclesiastical authorities do not convene, but rather accept the request made to them to be facilitators, with the approval of the other participating groups present at the table.

Doris Zapata, Minister of Labor and Labor Development, stated that she is not opposed to the establishment of a Monitoring Commission for the agreed issues, as proposed by social organizations, since there are personnel from the Authority for Consumer Protection and Defense of Competition (Acodeco) working and verifying in specific places where there may be anomalies with the prices of regulated products of the basic food basket. Zapata requested that the methodology of the dialogue be resumed without losing sight of compliance with what was agreed on issues of the basic basket, fuel and medicines.

NEGOTIATIONS FOR SOCIAL PEACE BULLETIN No. 25vaqa 2/5

Pedreschi added that in the other ministries there are many directors covered by laws, ranks and specialties who earn more than some ministers. The Vice Minister of Labor and Workforce Development, Roger Tejada, requested respect for Mr. Luis Amado before comments expressed by participants of the Single Table of Dialogue for Panama. Anadepo and the Alianza Pueblo Unidos por la Vida request the presence of the Authority for Consumer Protection and Defense of Competition (Acodeco), the Ministry of Agricultural Development (Mida) and the Agricultural Marketing Institute (IMA) to respond to the issue of the 72 regulated products of the basic food basket.

The Minister of Labor and Labor Development, Doris Zapata, pointed out that the issue of the basic basket has already been exhausted, although she agrees to follow up, especially since Acodeco is carrying out operations to monitor compliance with the agreements. Zapata mentioned that there is an instruction from the Vice President of the Republic and Minister of the Presidency, José Gabriel Carrizo, to form a team to follow up on everything agreed at the Single Dialogue Table for Panama. Roberto Lugo, advisor to the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), replied to Anadepo representatives that the State subsidizes decentralized entities using the 6% allocated to education. He added that the organic law of the Social Security Fund (CSS) prevents the Executive Branch from touching the budget of that entity.

NEGOTIATIONS FOR SOCIAL PEACE BULLETIN No. 25vaqa 3/5 Mr. Lugo made a graphic presentation and offered details of the State budget for the year 2023, revealing the figures of total income and total and current expenses. Members of the group Bastión de Lucha del Oriente Chiricano, Comarca Ngäbe Buglé, and Campesinos complained about the lack of medicines and the limited health budget assigned to the Ngäbe Buglé comarca. Roger Tejada, Deputy Minister of Labor and Labor Development, said that the agreements reached in the dialogue are being fulfilled gradually, not only by Mida and the IMA, but also by other institutions. Mr. Lugo gave a broad explanation of all the procedures followed for study, advisory and research consultancies. The facilitators indicated that they have finished 10 rounds of debate, with questions and answers, so it is necessary to define whether there will be a contact table or commission to define consensus and dissent. The Alianza Pueblo Unidos por la Vida requested a final round of debate because there are some outstanding doubts, indicating that they would be focused on making concrete proposals. The National Government team and the other social groups approved the 11th round of debate on the topic: Corruption and Transparency. The Alianza Pueblo Unidos por la Vida spoke about the cases of child abuse in which national political figures are allegedly linked and there is no definitive answer.

NEGOTIATIONS FOR SOCIAL PEACE BULLETIN No. 25vaqa 4/5 Anadepo requested more responses on corruption issues in the country. The Alianza Pueblo Unidos por la Vida denounced that an official, head of Human Resources of the Authority for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (Ampyme), has carried out attacks on social networks against educators. The Vice Minister of the Presidency. Carlos García reiterated the critical situation in which the National Government received public finances in 2019 with a deficit of more than B/.2 thousand 300 million, and that the economic situation worsened with the Covid-19 pandemic. García stated that more than 150 questions were answered apart from the 32 proposals from social organizations, so in some cases the questions are repetitive. Elsa Fernández, general administrator of the National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information (Antai), pointed out that social audits are already working on projects under construction. Regarding the case of the Ampyme official, Fernández responded that Antai recommended her dismissal. Responding to questions from the educators, Deputy Minister García stated that the vehicles of the institutions that were used for traceability work during the Covid-19 pandemic had simple damage but that a long process was needed to repair them. Faced with the need for immediate traceability, discretionary funds were used to purchase tires, batteries, and other parts that would allow the cars to be used immediately.

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