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Keith Woolford

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  1. President Varela announces reduction of the fare in both corridors and other measures of the Urban Mobility Plan The Government increases penalties for drivers who provide the service in an irregular manner, so that as from tomorrow it will start operations on the streets. A reduction of 0.50 cents in the price of the fare in the corridors, the authorization of exclusive lanes for the Metro Bus in both fast routes, the purchase of 70 new wagons for Line 1 of the Metro and of 273 buses for the Metro Bus, are part of the measures announced today by President Juan Carlos Varela in the plan to improve mobility in the city. The President said that he asked the company Mi Bus to make the adjustments to reduce from 1.25 balboas to 0.75 cents the passage of the Metro Bus in the route of the corridors, which will represent a saving of 40% for the user. In addition, the President gave the order to proceed to the consortium Asociación Accidental C & C Corredores Norte y Sur for the habilitation, adaptation and signaling for the reclassification of a three way and reversion of the lanes for the corridors, a project that has a cost of 27 million of balboas and the application will begin in April 2018. "I reiterate the commitment of our Administration to continue investing the resources of the State with transparency to build and expand roads, modernize public passenger transport and speed up vehicular traffic, in order to improve the quality of life of all Panamanians”, assured the Head of State. During the act, President Varela also indicated that will be purchased 70 new wagons for the Metro at a cost of 150 million balboas, which will double the capacity from next January. He affirmed that 273 buses were purchased to strengthen the frequency of the Metro Bus, with an investment exceeding 36.5 million. He said that as from November will start to circulate 203 large buses, and in March 2018 the 70 medium. He explained that another of the measures to be implemented is the unification of the fare of the Metro and Metro Bus fares, for which he issued instructions to companies related to the subject, in order to give the population a transportation system massive and efficient. President Varela warned that people who insist on providing the transport service in an irregular manner, was already published in Official Gazette Executive Decree 273 that increases the fine of one thousand balboas to 5 thousand balboas and the cancellation of the license of the driver. He said that since tomorrow Tuesday, the authorities will start operations to enforce these rules and take out of circulation the buses that are offering the service outside the law. Other infrastructure projects that make up the Mobility Plan are: 1. Completion of Line 2 of the Metro and the extension towards Tocumen, International Airport and the Technological University of Panama. It will start operations in January 2019. 2. Extension of Line 1 of the Metro to Villa Zaíta, which will start operating in 2019. 3. Extension of 8 lanes to and from Arraiján. The work should be completed by the end of 2019. 4. Completion of construction of the Corridor Panama North, Pedregal, Gonzalillo (corridor of the Poor), which will be handed over in March 2019. 5. The start of the construction of the Fourth Bridge over the Panama Canal, which will give viability to line 3 of the Metro and would be culminating in 2022. https://www.presidencia.gob.pa/en/News/President-Varela-announces-reduction-of-the-fare-in-both-corridors-and-other-measures-of-the-Urban-Mobility-Plan
  2. Here are the final details of the new property taxation law as approved yesterday by President Varela. President Varela sanctions law that reduces the Property Tax The President of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela, today sanctioned the Law that proposes the most important integral reform of the Property Tax in the last 40 years and establishes a greater fiscal balance, which benefits the owners. Thanks to this law, as from the Fiscal Year 2019 there will be a general reduction in the rates of this tax protection to the main house and the Tributary Family Patrimony, while the regime of exemptions that modifies the regime of exonerations and will improve the mechanisms of recollection. "The National Government has dealt decisively and successfully a very important issue. The Law that we sanction today is of benefit to all Panamanians and has been made possible through dialogue and the participation of different sectors of society,” said the President. The Law establishes the following rates of the Property Tax for the Main Housing and the Tributary Family Patrimony: 0.0% to 120 thousand balboas 0.5% from 120.01 thousand balboas to 700 thousand balboas 0.7% from 700.01 thousand balboas onwards On the other hand, for commercial properties, industrial, second homes and other, the new Law stipulates the following rates: 0.0% up to 30 thousand balboas 0.6% from 30.01 thousand balboas to 250 thousand balboas 0.8% from 250.01 thousand balboas to 500 thousand balboas 1.0% from 500.01 thousand balboas onwards The norm recognizes the exemption of the Property Tax for "first purchase" of a house, whether new or second, that is registered as main house or Tributary Family Patrimony for 3 years, and which value is between 120.01 thousand to 300 thousand balboas. Additionally, and temporarily, a moratorium period for the payment only from Property Tax caused until 31 August 2017, which could be paid, without surcharges or interest, in full, until 31 December of this year. The process of moratorium of the payment of the Property Tax can be used by the taxpayers throughout the country, either through the Internet on the DGI website or by approaching the different Provincial Revenue Administrations of the DGI. In both cases, it is necessary for the taxpayer to have electronic e-mail, Unique Taxpayer Registry (RUC) and Tributary Identification Number (NIT). DGI officials have been trained to handle the tax payment processes in this moratorium period. https://www.presidencia.gob.pa/en/News/President-Varela-sanctions-law-that-reduces-the-Property-Tax
  3. Bus (Diablos) Drivers Suspend Service for Government-Imposed Sanctions Bus drivers partially suspended their service in protest against the government's announcement of new fines and cancellation of licenses for bad driving practices. The workers of the transport system also grouped together to protest against the decision announced by President Juan Carlos Varela as part of the Urban Mobilization Plan. Executive Decree 273 states that any person who insists on providing irregularly transportation service shall be punished with fines of between 1,000 and 5,000 dollars and the suspension of the driver's license. The regulation, which is in effect from today, will be applicable for those who are caught using a vehicle not authorized by the Panama Transit and Transport Authority (ATTP), buses with incompatibility in the Vehicle Registry Office and those that were compensated by the State. Several units of the area crowded in the vicinity of the Rommel Fernández Stadium, in Juan Díaz, to organize a caravan towards the President’s Office. However, they were retracted by agents of the National Police. Transportation manager for the Pacora sector Idaira De León said that the government's decision was inconsistent, affecting the economy of the transport drivers. She added that this administration has no intention to renew temporary permits and certificates of operation expired, so they demand a response in order to continue providing the collective service to passengers. "We have been showing copies of the temporary permits of the buses that have not been renewed, we depend on our transportation, that is our job," said the leader.
  4. Two members of the Policia Nacional, apparently on route to their shift, were shot in the head and killed in Chilibre this morning.
  5. Apparently as a result of yesterday's murder of two officers at a similar checkpoint in Chilibre, all personnel scheduled at 'puestos de control' nationwide have been reassigned. The Mayor of Boquete stated emphatically that he is not in agreement with this measure.
  6. Why would anyone doubt a press release from the Ministerio Publico?
  7. Arrests Made in Human Trafficking A total of 25 people were arrested in Central America as the result of a joint operation that dismantled a network of human traffickers. The ring smuggled people to the United States and Canada. The operations were carried out in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Panama. Organized Crime Prosecutor Rafael Baloyes explained that, in Panama the network maintained operations in an apartment of the LaCosta Tower building in Costa del Este, where the ringleaders of the criminal network were arrested. Baloyes explained that there were also raids in the La Cigarra hostel in Santa Ana, and in Parque Lefevre, where five other people were arrested. Migrants remained in the hostel, without being able to leave, until they were taken to the Albrook terminal to be moved to Chiriqui and then to Costa Rica. At the same time it was reported that seven other people are under investigation to clarify their relationship with the criminal network. The traffickers were apparently paid $1,500 to help people cross through Panama. Those arrested included two Colombians who were identified as the ringleaders of the network. The migrants mostly came from North Africa. http://www.prensa.com/in_english/Desarman-red-trafico-personas_21_4517758180.html
  8. The minor who was being investigated in this case was charged as an adult for illegal possession of a firearm. A plea agreement was struck and and he has been sentenced to 62 months in prison. http://ministeriopublico.gob.pa/ordenan-detencion-provisional-3-personas-se-logra-condena-mediante-acuerdo-pena-cuarto-implicado/
  9. plus one +1 https://twitter.com/laexitosapanama/status/920277978952716289 https://twitter.com/laexitosapanama/status/920275577021566976
  10. One of the two Glock firearms that the officers were slain for in this case was recovered yesterday. http://ministeriopublico.gob.pa/mp-policia-nacional-recuperan-arma-reglamento-agente-policial-asesinado/
  11. Three suspects in this case were arraigned yesterday. 3 men in court in police murders THE PRELIMINARY hearing against three men facing accusations of murdering two National Police officers, were held behind closed doors on Monday October 16 at the request of the prosecution. The two policemen, agent Juan Martin and first corporal Ernaldo Córdoba. were killed with shots to the head on Saturday, October 14 in Chilibre in an area known as El Trébol Accused are construction workers Giovanny Ureña de Gracia, 27, and Daniel Enrique Gálvez, 22, and mechanic Ricardo Caballero, 20. http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/3-men-court-police-murders
  12. Inmates are on the move today from the old jail in David to the new facility east of the city There were protests yesterday by prisoners and family about lack of potable water (rumour) and the difficulty of access for visitors. (too bad)
  13. New Prison in David 60% Complete The comptroller general of the Republic, Federico Humbert, inspected on Thursday 28 July 2016, several projects in the province of Chiriqui, among them, the new public prison of David, which has registered 60% progress towards completion. The inspection was made following the request of an addendum of $4.5 million for additional arrangements in that place, a request that was made by the Ministry of Public Security. It is going to make changes to the design of the pavilions, as well as chapels that were not covered. Humbert said that it was necessary to check that the work has been done with a fair price and at a correct tempo. The official said that the work is late, but that there is an interest in expediting the work, due to overcrowding in the prison of David. The director of the public prison of David, Enzo Polo, indicated that the transfer of prisoners is expected to start in the month of January 2017 . The comptroller also visited the renovations at the stadium Kenny Serracín, which has registered a 16% completion and the hospital of Bugaba, as well as other works that are paralyzed as the Ciudad Deportivo and the new building for the Public Registry. http://www.prensa.com/provincias/Nueva-publica-David-registra-avance_0_4540046002.html
  14. 3 MONTH STUDY of LIQUOR SALES POINTS by AUTHORITIES AND HOPE TO WORK TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF THE DISTRICT In the afternoon today, Thursday, 21 September an important meeting took place with the owners of sites for the sale of alcoholic beverages in the district of Boquete, agreeing that in the next 3 months an assessment will be made in coordination with the authorities, and the results and measures to be taken will be done so in the time referred to. At that meeting it was presented to the owners of the sites mentioned, the problem of constant situations that are generated in the area better known as La Gallera as well as to the owners of the area that is located to the north of the District and that on other occasions, has generated complaints of bad parking by drivers who go to these sites. It should be noted that the owners said they were in agreement with these type of meetings, in addition to this it was accomplished in the meeting today that the owners will pay police officers during the Saturday schedule of 9:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00., to minimize the quarrels. The owners of the sites in the area north mentioned that they have points of parking for their customers to park, however on many occasions those who park illegally are doing so in order to visit the neighboring restaurants close to their points of sale. The Mayor, who was in the city of Panama, in compliance with other official commitments, expressed that he does not pursue any kind of difficulties for business, on the contrary he looks for better days for the sector, however it was requested by the legal advisor to the Mayor that compliance with the rules and agreements in order to ensure social peace in the district and its visitors, and the authorities will do what the law allows them. Public Relations Department source: Alcaldia freetranslation.com
  15. I believe it more likely that they were slain for their Glock pistols.
  16. It was just reported that Six suspects have been detained in this case. Two will be arraigned tomorrow morning.
  17. Transparency International: Panama's health care is the most corrupt 29% of Panamanians paid bribes at a public hospital in the country in 2016, making health care the public service in Panama with the highest level of corruption, according to a study published by Transparency International (TI). "When services are ineffective and they do not work, there are spaces for corruption," Olga de Obaldía, a representative of the association in Panama, told a press conference on Monday. The activist explained that many people pay bribes in public hospitals in Panama to avoid queuing in the emergency room, to get a bed in a room, to make an appointment with a specialist or to buy medicine. "There is a whole internal network to advise that the drugs have arrived, because whoever gets to the window first gets the medicine," said De Obaldía. After sanitation, the basic public services where Panamanians paid the most bribes are, by order, schools (26%), police (20%), identity documents (18%), water, health and electrical services (16%) and courts (11%), he said. The TI study also shows that 57% of the 1,000 people who were surveyed in the country stated that the Panamanian government is not fighting corruption with determination (compared to 53% of the regional average) and that 69% feel socially obliged to report an act of corruption, a figure even to the regional average. De Obaldía said that the main solution is to strengthen controls within the institutions and get officials to report illegal acts without fear of retaliation, a practice known as whistle-blowing. "Any person who does his work well in public institutions remains demoralized by the person who does it wrong. There is no way to solve it if you do not have people who can help clean the institution as such," he said. http://www.panamatoday.com/special-report/ti-panamas-health-care-most-corrupt-5460
  18. Police were down by the Gallera today citing indigenous citizens for drinking in public. https://twitter.com/RetenChiriqui/status/919685318403600387
  19. It seems ludicrous to attach blame for any of these incidents on the presence of a Police checkpoint, which in the opinion of officials and other residents, has lowered crime in the area. Who's to say that the officers from there would be reassigned to the village of Boquete, anyway?
  20. Have a look at the weapon that the Police found on a suspicious looking subject they observed at the bus stop near Los Algarrobos about 2 hours ago if you think the bad guys are all up here.
  21. Please provide any statistics which would back up that statement.
  22. Notice is a bit late, but there is a free symphony concert at 10:00 a.m. this morning in Parque Central presented by the Alcaldia, UNACHI and the Municipal Council.
  23. Reports also stated that the Police weapons are missing, and that one of the young officers, Juan Martinez, was from Puerto Armuelles.