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Panama will make history with 2019 WYD

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 01:49


In January 2019 Panama will receive the most important event of the last years in the Latin American Catholic community, when the World Youth Day (WYD) is celebrated in Panama, with the presence of Pope Francis and a large number of activities to be held within the capital of the canal country.

To carry out this act, the Government of Juan Carlos Varela began a structuring of the Metropolitan Basilica Cathedral, located in the Plaza de la Independencia in the Old Town of Panama City, at a cost that amounted to more than 12 million balboas, about $ 11.6 million that includes 10 tons of stones from Alicante and Catalonia (Spain). This church has already been inaugurated and it is expected that by January, every pending detail will be fully ready for use.

Among the measures that were taken to facilitate access to the event, the National Migration Service reported that the payment of visas will be exempted from those registered as pilgrims of the Catholic event, and they will not request the economic solvency, of B /. 500, to those who enter for the event to take place from 22 to 29 January.

The WYD, which will be inaugurated from a seafront in the Panamanian capital, has a video game ready to be echoed among the youngest, with the name "Follow JC Go" available for iOS and Android systems and from the Last October can be enjoyed in the virtual stores of each one.

Among many advantages, the WYD Organizing Committee presented a large number of travel packages for those who want to attend and be registered for the event, with costs ranging from $ 50 to $ 250 investment, with accommodation, meals, transportation and medical insurance.

Another point in favor within the organization, is the issue of visas, which will be available for those countries without a consular presence within Panama, according to Executive Decree 607 issued on October 11, 2018 and which will be valid until the end of the event in January.

In terms of attention and good reception, a total of 105 youths were trained with the best-known languages in the world to welcome visitors from each country that will attend WYD. This event will begin with "Days in the Diocese", a previous day to be held in Costa Rica and Panama that has not revealed all the details.

This visit by the Pope will mark a great historic event for the country, as well as religious and cultural integration in Latin America and each of the countries visiting WYD 2019. So far, a total of 226,000 pilgrims are registered and 5,000 journalists accredited In the case of pilgrims, they will be able to enjoy 38 schools enabled to stay during this event.

After revealing the official agenda of the Pope, Panama announced through its archbishop, José Domingo Ulloa, that they will begin the final phase of the preparations with the Pope’s arrival on January 23, his meeting with Varela on the 24th, Child Enforcement Center of Las Garzas de Pacora on Friday, January 25, and a vigil with the youths in the San Juan Pablo II Campus of the Metro Park, on the outskirts of the city, on Saturday 26.

He will end with a tour of La Casa Hogar Buen Samaritano on Sunday 27 and will meet at the Rommel Fernández stadium, before leaving for the Vatican, with more than 30,000 volunteers who have signed up to help organize the day. In this period of time, he will be lodged in the nunciature until he return to Italy.



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No food sales on Cinta Costera  during WYD 

Peddlers will have to move
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The sale of food and drinks on the Cinta Costera will not be allowed during World Youth Day (WYD)  in January says The Ministry of Health (Minsa).  The ban will also be extended to Metro Park.

Deputy Minister of Health, Eric Ulloa, said  Sunday that the  Public Health Department would be in charge of giving the permits for sell food at other points that will be announced when the date approaches.

“The area of the Coastal Belt is considered a sanctuary and food will be sold outside, and they will have to obtain permits with the Metropolitan Health Authority, “said Ulloa.



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More than 42,000 pilgrims from neighbouring Central American countries and Mexico will be entering and exiting through Paso Canoas and traveling through Chiriqui between January 20th and 30th.


Edited by Keith Woolford

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$14,000 red carpet will await Pope Francis

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THE RED CARPET that will be laid down for the arrival of Pope Francis in Panama on Wednesday, January 23  for World Youth Day 2,019 will  cost$14,177, according to documents published in Panama Purchase.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs managed the purchase the  carpet 102 meters long and three meters wide,

According to the statement of charges, the contract includes aa 12 square meters awning and the cost of the labor for its installation.


Pope Francis is known for his frugality

The carpet will be installed on the runway of terminal 2 of the airport one day before the arrival of Pope Francis, on Wednesday, January 23, and must be withdrawn after his departure from the country, on Sunday. January 27.

The tender was published on November 27 and only one company, an importer of carpets was interested, whose offer, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met the minimum requirements and technical specifications of the tender, so they were awarded the purchase.

Panama will host some 200,000 pilgrims from 155 countries during  World Youth Day.

There will also be 37,000 volunteers, 40 bishops and over  1,300 journalists who will cover the event.



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Private universities will suspend classes during WYD in Panama

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 16:24


Some 14 private universities in Panama will suspend their on-campus academic activities from January 19 to 27, on the occasion of the World Youth Day (WYD) that will be held during that period, the agency that integrates these educational institutions in the country reported today.

The decision of the Association of Private Universities of Panama (AUPPA) is to support the participation of the country in religious activity, which will be held from January 22 to 27, and to which approximately 250,000 pilgrims are expected to attend.

However, universities will rely on electronic platforms so that students do not see their progress affected, and can thus enroll.

Among the higher education centers that will interrupt their functions are: ISAE University, Columbus University, Universidad Americana, Quality Leadership University, Universidad del Istmo, Universidad Santander, Universidad del Arte, Universidad del Caribe, Universidad Alta Dirección and Universidad Cristiana de Panamá.

As well as the Universidad Internacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Universidad Tecnológica OTEIMA, Universidad Latina de Panamá and the Universidad Metropolitana de Educación, Ciencias y Tecnologías.

WYD, one of the most important events organized by the Catholic Church, gathers the Pope every three years with youths from all over the world, and this time around half a million people are expected, including pilgrims, priests, nuns and journalists.

At the last WYD held in 2016 in the Polish city of Krakow, more than 1.6 million pilgrims attended, while at WYD in Rio de Janeiro (2013) there were more than 3.5 million.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela has reiterated on several occasions that WYD is not only from Panama, but it is an event throughout Central America, since the only Pope who has visited the region has been John Paul II in 1983.



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$12.421 million for World Youth Day Structures

The Cinta Costera platforms
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TEMPORARY  structures for World Youth Day (WYD) in Panama on the Cinta Costera and in Metro Park are already being assembled and will have a price tag of $12,421,813. The sum includes platforms, sound, screens, and bridges.

On the Cinta Costera area where most of the events will be concentrated, a  four-level platform with 96  speakers is being erected.

The  Ministry of the Presidency contracted the JMJ Santa María la Antigua consortium    The price includes the assembly and dismantling of the structures that will be installed on  the coastal strip -named Santa María la Antigua  for the WYD event – and in the area of Metro Park, in Juan Díaz, named  the Juan Pablo II field.

The Metro Park area, where Pope Francis will celebrate mass will include a platform with perimeter railing and access stairs, A security fence must be installed to protect “sensitive areas”,  a ceiling for the altar and an elevator with direct access to the altar. It also includes the incorporation of awnings for service areas, carpets, air conditioners and a bathroom trailer for use by Pope Francis.

In Metro Park, where the papal vigil will be held, the consortium will install 10 pedestrian bridges to connect Corridor Sur  Corridor with the southern sector of the Metro Park to allow the passage of approximately 35.000. people.

Construction began on November 20 and should be ready for December 20 to comply with the security review. Its inauguration will take place on January 22, with the opening mass to be celebrated by Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa. Then, it will be used for the welcome of  Pope Francis and for the Way of the Cross.



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OPINION: WYD vs delayed priorities

The Cinta Costera platforms
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Since 2017, the amount allocated in items for the celebration of World Youth Day (WYD) has reached $61.8 million of public funds. Although most Panamanians profess the Catholic religion, and WYD is an event that enhances the country, it is always important that pencils are sharpened in terms of public spending and that needs are prioritized. While some of the funds financed works that will remain after the WYD, such as the Chitré Convention Center or the early authorization of Line 2 of the Panama Metro, other investments may well have been used for other purposes. The benefits that WYD can bring to the country in terms of image, tourism, or the simple cleanliness and decoration of the capital city, reach the entire population. However, the multi-millions earmarked for the activity could also serve delayed priorities in the country. Panamanians must commit to WYD being a success, but we need the Government’s commitment that expenses are necessary for the common good.-LA PRENSA, Dec 21


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Pope asks simplicity Panama splashes

Pope Francis known for his frugality
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Government lavish spending on World Youth Day already over $61 million has set off alarm bells in civil society and led to a statement from The Apostolic Nuncio of Panama.

Miroslaw Adamczyk said that the Pope has requested simplicity for his visit to the country in January.

On Friday, December 21 the representative of the Pope in Panama was asked about the Government’s purchases for his reception.

Adamczyk said that they have received many delegations from the Vatican during the year and the voice of the delegates of the pontiff, who are in charge of preparing the visit has always been “simplicity, without anything special.”

The questioning of the State by civil society took place because of the cost of the platforms that are being built in the central points of the WYD.

In addition, a $14,000 red carpet at  Tocumen International Airport and the $17,000 purchase of six puppies to reinforce the canine search unit of the of the Civil Protection System, among other items.



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OPINION: Government stays mum on real cost of WYD

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One month before the celebration of World Youth Day (WYD), the Government continues to be silent about its real cost. It is not just the expensive red carpet that can be kept forever, or the luxury vehicles rented to serve international dignitaries. That is the pomp and circumstance that is linked to this type of event. Within the set of preparations is the adequacy of the Hospital San Miguel Arcángel, as well as the preparation of temporary facilities in dozens of public schools. The Government continues without communicating whether the days of the event will be workable in the city of Panama, or if the cities of Penonomé and Chitré will have to rest during the preliminary events, to which tens of thousands of pilgrims have been summoned, together with the Panamanians who will actively participate. The current government has six months of mandate, and its decisions, especially those involving public funds, will have an important effect on the budgets available for the next government. WYD is very important for the image of Panama since it can contribute to improving the damaged reputation of this land studded with corruption scandals. WYD will be as transparent as the complete information that all citizens have about the use of their taxes. since it can contribute to improving the battered reputation of this land studded with corruption scandals.- LA PRENSA, Dec. 23


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Panama details progress in transportation and health for pilgrims at WYD

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 17:49


Authorities from Panama and the Catholic Church informed advances on logistics in the subject of public transportation and medical services that will be provided at the World Youth Day, which will be held in the country from January 22 to 27, 2019, reported today an official source.

In the third informative meeting with the Diplomatic Corps accredited in Panama, was addressed with the Local Organizing Committee (COL) of the WYD, personnel of Security and Chancellery the coordination details to assure the movement of the pilgrims who will attend the activity.

The Executive Direction of Support (DEA) mentioned that in terms of mobility, public transport will operate on a regular way and that special operations will be done for the mobility of pilgrims to places where the main activities will be centered, such as the Cinta Coastal promenade, Metro Park and Omar Park.

Regarding medical care and first aid, they indicated that there will be care centers with quick access to the main hospitals. In addition, the service for pilgrims who have insurance packages will be made through emergency calls in the five official languages: Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and Italian.

Meanwhile, the COL explained that there will be information centers in the Transportation Terminal during the 24 hours. They anticipated that the MiBus company, which manages the Metrobús service in Panama City, will facilitate access to visitors through an application.

Mass dissemination of these plans will be carried out from December 26 and during the WYD, said the organizers.

The director of Protocol and Ceremonial of the State, Roberto Zúñiga, informed the ambassadors in Panama that if they wish to participate in the ecclesiastical event, in which Pope Francis will be present, they have until January 5th to confirm their attendance.

WYD is one of the most important events of the Catholic Church, which every three years brings together thousands of young people from all over the world with the Pope. In Panama, it is expected that nearly half a million people will attend, including pilgrims, priests, nuns and journalists.

The visit of the Pope, who will arrive in Panama on January 23, has aroused interest not only in this country, but throughout Central America, since the last pontiff who traveled to the region was John Paul II in 1983. ACAN-EFE



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Government of Panama will close for 3 days to help urban mobility in WYD

Wed, 12/26/2018 - 19:49

Diseño sin título (3)_5.jpg

The National Government today announced the closure for three days of public offices in Panama City to help the mobility of more than 500,000 pilgrims who are expected to attend World Youth Day (WYD), which will be held from January 22 to 27 in the Panamanian capital.

The Panamanian Minister of the Presidency, Jorge González, told reporters that this closure of public institutions will be applied from 12:00 local time (17:00 GMT) from January 23 to 16:00 local time (21: 00 GMT) of January 25.

This event, which is expected to attend approximately 500,000 pilgrims summoned by the Pope, is, according to González, "an opportunity for all Panama to improve its capabilities, which will surely mark a before and after in the implementation of actions related to the coordination of events of great impact in and for the country".

González, in a press conference in which he offered details of the mobility logistics that will be developed during the visit of Pope Francis for WYD, indicated that the suspension of work in the public offices will also be effective in the district of San Miguelito, east of the capital.

Even Minister González said that public officials will join as volunteers in any scenario in which their collaboration will be required "for the image of the country".

The closure of the entities is aimed at reducing vehicle traffic during WYD and is part of the urban mobility plan that will be executed for this religious event.

The plan includes a "combination of integrated efforts" of the public transport system, made up of the Panama Metro and Mi Bus, the corridors (highways), and inclusive the Tocumen International Airport, the country's main airport.

The Panamanian Vice Minister of Security, Omar Pinzón, stressed that the plan is the result of the planning and coordination of the Executive Support Direction for more than one year and seven months, together with the National Police (NP), the Metro de Panama, Mi Bus and the Transit and Land Transportation Authority (ATTT).

Pinzón pointed out that the Pope will move through 23 points of the capital city "in which an urban mobilization plan will be imposed to facilitate the displacement of all".

"The work started from the moment in which our country was designated as the venue for this important event, in this sense three work axes were created: security, logistics and health and emergencies, which to date have resulted in 54 duly integrated and synchronized plans", said Pinzón.

The Interagency Joint Task Force (FTC-I) will manage the entire logistics and security operation during the mass religious event.

The mobility plan will include, among several measures, lane reversal, traffic regulations, mass transportation mobilization, cargo and supply transport and pedestrian routes, which seek to facilitate viability during WYD.

Routes with reduced vehicular mobility will be centered on the Santa María La Antigua Field, which will be located on Cinta Costera promenade, Campo San Juan Pablo II in Metro Park, located on the eastern outskirts of the capital, and in the Parque de la Juventud, located in Parque Omar, in the center of Panama City.

The bus service of the company Mi Bus will operate 24 hours, while Line 1 of the Panama Metro will operate with all its stations to serve users and pilgrims at WYD, while lines 1 and 2 of the suburban service will increase their hours of duty on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27.

The use of Line 2 will be free. Also the North, South and East corridors during main activities days such as 23, 26 and 27 January, as well as My Bus on 26 and 27.



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Three-day shut-down of public offices for WYD

The South, North and East corridors will be free on January 23.
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ALL PUBLIC offices in Panama City and San Miguelito will be closed from noon on January 23 to Wednesday, January 25, during the World Youth Day celebrations and businesses are being encouraged to follow suit, to help reduce potential street chaos.

An estimated 200,000 pilgrims (down from the original 4,00,000 touted by organizers) are expected to flood into Panama’s capital city, and citizens will face the reality of hosting a world event in a small country already facing seemingly insurmountable traffic problems.

Minister of the Presidency, Jorge Gonzalez, thanked the guilds, associations, and companies that, “on their own initiative, recognizing the importance and impact of this event for the country, have decided to establish special schedules and even closing … to enjoy a great party “.

There was a muted response from business organizations.

The Chamber of Commerce said that it is essential that each economic sector make its own decisions on how to operate to participate in the event, without paralyzing its activities.

“We have invited our members and entrepreneurs in general to find creative and flexible ways for their employees to participate in WYD, without affecting the productivity and performance of companies,” said a press release.

Severo Sousa,  president of the National Council of Private Enterprise (Conep), said private companies  will not declare free days, but some entrepreneurs are changing vacations for employees, while other companies, which will be more related to the activity, such as hotels, restaurants, and transporters, will expand their staff for the event.

The joint task force organizing the event which includes a visit by Pope Francis presented its plans at a press conference on Wednesday.

The proposal lists investment of lanes, traffic regulations, mobilization of mass transportation, cargo, and supply transport, and pedestrian routes, and seeks to ensure fluidity in streets and avenues of the city.

The Mi Bus service will run  24 hours a day, with 120 extra buses in service and its director Carlos Sánchez Fábrega, suggested the population leave their cars at home, and use public transport and walking.

Panama Metro will have 26 trains available .on  Line 2, which is 90% complete and will have five stations enabled from January 18 to 27. Then they will close to allow construction to continue.

Panama Metro Director Roberto Roy said that the extra trains are being maintained and the operation on some dates will extend until 2:00 a.m.  He said that the maintenance is also associated with the supply of electric current



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Colombian Bishops send a Popemobile to Panama for Francis's visit

Sat, 12/29/2018 - 09:08

Diseño sin título (13).jpg

A plane of the Colombian Air Force brought to Panama today one of the "Popemobiles" that Francis will use during his visit to the Central American country next January for the World Youth Day (WYD), sent by the Colombian bishops.

"It is a great joy that we have received the surprise we have in our country with this Popemobile that the Colombian Episcopal Conference has given us, as a gesture of solidarity with the Catholic Church in Panama, so that we can use it in the transportation of the Holy Father during the World Youth Day", the archbishop of Panama, José Domingo Ulloa, told in a press conference.

The prelate added that "but this surprise -which is at the same time a great blessing- is not the only one, because in Panama a Popemobile is also being built, thanks to the Distribuidora David company, and ours will be the official one".

A Colombian C-130 plane landed this Friday at Panama Pacífico International Airport, about 5 kilometers west of the Panamanian capital, the Popemobile sent by the prelates of the South American country, in the presence of Ulloa and members of the team that organizes the WYD.

Ulloa presented gifts with the logo of the Day to the crew of the Colombian Air Force as a gesture of gratitude.

Francisco will be in Panama from January 22 to 27 to participate in the WYD, which is expected to attend thousands of young people from around the world.



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WYD access passes for residents and merchants

Access passes for residents and businesses in areas close to the central events of the World Youth Day 2019 (WYD) will be available from Monday, January 7.says the Organizing Committee in a message posted on its  Twitter account. The delivery will be at the Citizen Attention Center, located on the  Cinta Costera 1, near the Yacht Club apartment tower on Avenida Balboa.


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Tocumen International faces WYD challenge

A normal day at Tocumen
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Tocumen International Airport will be put to the test during the run-up to World Youth Day (WYD), which is not a “day” but an event from January 22 to 27. And traffic at the airport will rise 66%.

Ahead of that, it is expected that 20,000 people will arrive on Sunday, January 20. “It will be the day with the largest flow of passengers, according to the figures of reservations provided by the airlines,” said Yuseth Córdoba, administrator of the Airport Zone-Tocumen of the National Customs Authority (ANA). The daily traffic between the days before, during and after the WYD will range between 13,000 thousand and 15,000, the official told La Prensa.

Currently, in the hours of greatest demand (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm) the operation of the air terminal reaches 110% of its maximum capacity, but with the WYD this will be exceeded as the normal one day transit is 12,000  people.

In 2018 the highest transit demand for Tocumen was registered for national holidays. On November 6, 14,000 travelers arrived and this figure is taken as a reference to make daily estimates during WYD, says Córdoba.

As of Monday, January 7,   there will be  330 ANA officials working on the entry of pilgrims in Tocumen and in the three land access points in the province of Chiriqui.

In the inspections, at the entry points of the country, 60 students from the career of Customs of the University of Panama will participate as volunteers.



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Panama shows progress in preparations to receive Pope Francis

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 11:46

Diseño sin título_1.jpg

The Panamanian government team that supports WYD, the organization of World Youth Day   showed to the journalists today the progress in the construction of the gigantic structures where Pope Francis will meet thousands of young people from all over the world.

The so-called Executive Support Directorate (DEA) of the WYD will detail the purpose of the huge platforms that stand on the Bay of Panama and the terrain on the capital eastern periphery where Francisco will celebrate the mass of the main event, which expects to attend half a million young people.

Critical sectors of the state questioned the multimillion-dollar cost of the WYD, such as a carpet valued in $14,000.

Unofficially, the WYD total expenses are at least 47 million dollars, of which 34 million dollars have already been used, according to the data published by the Panama Compra portal mentioned by the Panamanian digital platforms Praxis and Clearly, and supposedly generates income for 250 million dollars.



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More than 5,000 Nicaraguan pilgrims will travel to Panama for WYD 2019

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 16:06


More than 5,000 Nicaraguan pilgrims will travel to Panama in the following days, to participate in the World Youth Day (WYD) 2019, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes informed.

The Nicaraguan Cardinal made the announcement during the III Pilgrims Meeting of WYD, held this Saturday in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Managua.

Among the pilgrims who will attend WYD 2019, from January 22 to 27 in Panama, are the 10 Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua bishops (CEN).

Nicaragua was one of the organizing countries of WYD 2019 in Panama, but last July CEN declined its commitment, due to its role as intermediaries in a dialog in Nicaragua to overcome the sociopolitical crisis that the country is experiencing, which has left hundreds of dead and tens of thousands of exiles since April.

The WYD goal is to spread Christ message "in an open and convivial environment to share and reflect together on the fundamental issues of existence," according to its organizers.

The largest, multitudinous event the Catholic Church performs in the world is the WYD.



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Supermarkets and minis ready for WYD

A run on macaroni cheese?
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The  estimated  arrival of some 250,000 participants for World Youth Day (WYD) Jan. 22-27, but with thousands arriving earlier   and  preceded by  the Panama Jazz Festival (Jan.14-19) , Panama supermarkets and minis face  a  logistical challenge ensuring that they can still supply their 4 million regular customers while taking advantage of the increased sales opportunity from the transients.

La Prensa reports that for several months the supermarket chains of the country have been preparing a logistics plan and have reinforced their workforce to meet the demand of consumers.

For example, the contingency plan of Grupo Rey began more than six months ago and involves the entire supply chain, in order to guarantee the provision of basic food and toiletries. Storage space was increased by 30% and regular purchases for the month have been increased by 50%.

Water, perishable products, fruits, vegetables, and toiletries top the list, but no mention of the of university life staple, macaroni cheese.

Óscar García , director of the Consumer Protection  Authority (Acodeco) , said that, although there is no prior coordination with private agents, he projects that the goal of supply and inventory will be achieved.

“It is an economic opportunity for all these companies to increase their sales, so, surely what they will do is to supply themselves in an adequate way and have an inventory that is much higher than the regular one.”



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Regional WYD pilgrims phased arrival

Panama bound
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Pilgrims from Central America will make up the largest block of participants in World Youth Day,(WYD)  January 22-23 -the largest mass event of the Catholic Church in the world.

At the request of Panamanian authorities, their arrival will be staggered said Nicaraguan Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes on Monday, January 7.

Young people from Nicaragua and Honduras will be the first to enter, on January 21. They will be followed by pilgrims from El Salvador and Guatemala, on January 22, The last pilgrims to arrive will be from  Costa Rica, on January 23, when the official activities begin.

WYD will attract hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, bishops, volunteers, and journalists from 187 countries, according to the organizers.

The goal of WYD is to spread the message of Christ “in an open and convivial environment to share and reflect together on the fundamental issues of existence,” according to the Church.



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Super red  moon” will usher in WYD week

WYD curtain raiser
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The week of World Youth Day  (WYD) in Panama will begin with a total lunar eclipse which will create a “super red moon” says the Technological University of Panama (UTP).

Rodney Delgado, astronomer, physicist and director of the Observatory Delgado announced in a UTP information video.

According to the scientist, the phenomenon, when the moon will turn red (known as a red or blood moon), will happen from 11:41 p.m. on Sunday, January 20,  the day that thousands of pilgrims and media reps arrive, and will end on Monday, at dawn. It will be seen across America and parts of Africa.



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Customs officers will monitor areas of risk during the WYD in Panama

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 12:55


Personnel of the National Custom Authority will cover areas considered at risk in the World Youth Day (WYD), which will be celebrated from 22 - 27 of this month in Panama, to provide security to personalities that will participate in this event, informed the custom entity today.

For this work, a group of 32 customs officials was assigned to the Inter-institutional Crisis Team, which in this opportunity is integrated by 108 officials from several institutions, according to the National Customs Authority of Panama (ANA) the Spanish acronym.

From this group of custom officers, 26 will be deployed in the capital, 4 in the western province of Chiriqui in the Paso Canoas sector, in the border area of Panama with Costa Rica, and another 2 in the town of Guabito in the northwestern province of Bocas del Toro, also at the border of the neighboring country.

This group will verify the means of transport that cross the border by land: cargo transport, buses (for travel and tourism) and private vehicles.

In Panama City, they will inspect hotels, airports, ports, and areas of the platforms where the massive events of the WYD will take place and that Pope Francis will visit.

The officials, who are experts in detecting radioactive, chemical, biological, nuclear and explosive materials, will have portable equipment that will allow them to detect this type of material that could enter illegally to Panama as a result of the development of this activity religious.

The Crisis Team was created as an Inter-institutional Plan for the prevention and response against threats, incidents, criminal acts, and terrorist attacks with radiological or nuclear materials.

It will be based in the Atlantic Pacific Convention Center facilities (ATLAPA), in the capital, led by the National Border Service (SENAFRONT).

WYD, whose last edition was held in Krakow (Poland), is one of the most important events of the Catholic Church, which every three years brings together thousands of young people from all over the world with the pope.

The Episcopal Conference of Panama reported in November that there are 226,000 already registered pilgrims and nearly 5,000 accredited journalists.

The Inter-institutional Crisis Team was established as a product of the VII Summit of the Americas held in Panama City between April 9 and 11. 2015, after the opening ceremony of the expansion of the Interoceanic Canal on June 26, 2016.

It was also present at the III Latin American Games of Special Olympics Panama 2017, according to official information.



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Panama Popemobile awaits the pontiff

The made-in-Panama Popemobile for Pope Francis when he attends World Youth Day in the capital city is ready. The double cabin truck has an electric ladder, 360-degree swivel chair, red carpet, railings for better support and sustainability of the Pope while standing, and a window in the back of the cabin so that the pontiff has better communication with the driver.


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Panama confirms participation in WYD of six Iberian-American presidents

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 19:47


The Panamanian Government today confirmed the participation of the presidents of Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Portugal in the World Youth Day (WYD), which will be held in the country starting on January 22 and which Pope Francis will attend.

"We wanted to invite the presidents of Central America because the World Youth Day (WYD) is a celebration for Central America that takes place in Panama", Panamanian Deputy Foreign Minister Luis Miguel Hincapié told in a press conference.

Panama will host, between January 22 and 27, 2019, the WYD, one of the most important events of the Catholic Church, which every three years brings together thousands of young people from all over the world with the Pope.

The visit of Francis, who will arrive in Panama on January 23 and will leave on the 27th, has generated an immense interest not only in this country but throughout Central America, since the last pontiff who traveled to the region was John Paul II in 1983 and 1996.

"We do not foresee that there will be bilateral meetings (between the Panamanian president, Juan Carlos Varela, and the attending heads of state) because the presidents are invited to the final mass and we think that they will arrive on Saturday night or on Sunday", said the deputy minister.

Pope Francis' agenda includes mass masses and meetings with the Panamanian Government and the Central American bishopric, as well as visits to a prison for young people and a social shelter run by the Church.

Hincapié indicated that the first lady of Poland, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, whose country hosted the last edition of WYD, attended by more than 1.6 million pilgrims, will also attend the religious meeting.

The Panamanian Episcopal Conference reported in November that there are already 226,000 registered pilgrims and about 5,000 accredited journalists.

The Panamanian Government estimates that WYD will generate US$ 250 million in revenue and, although it has not officially reported on the costs, different local media suggest that the event will demand at least US$ 47 million.



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WYD  Emergency Care Plan outlined

The giant structure built on the Cinta Costera for WYD
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As Panama prepares to host World Youth Day (WYD) the function that draws the biggest attendance in the Catholic Church calendar details of the Emergency Care Plan were presented at the Presidential place on Friday, January 11.

The operation involves security forces, The Civil Protection Agency (Sinaproc) The Red Cross and the Fire brigade

The Coordinator of the Emergency Axis of the Executive Directorate of Support to the Local Organizing Committee for WYD Panama 2019, Marcos Rueda explained that the Emergency Plan reflects the planning, procedures, on-site tests, national and international training of units of the System National Civil Protection Agency (SINAPROC), SUME 911, Benemérito Fire Department of the Republic of Panama (BCBRP) and the Panamanian Red Cross the 911 ambulance service and the Fire Brigade.

The Director of SINAPROC, José Donderis said that the members of this entity are trained to guide the assistants in the process of entry and evacuation of  the sites with massive acts, mainly in Cinta Costera and Metro Park. his volunteers will attend the event sites such shopping centers, tourist interest areas, beaches, and roads and stops nationwide.

Previously SINAPROC has carried out safety inspections in facilities, structures and accommodation sites and have evacuation plans in conjunction with related institutions.

Fire Service director  BCBRP, Jaime Villar said that they have updated all the staff in the Advanced First Aid Course and have volunteer companies trained and available for immediate attention to pilgrims, visitors and the public.

Villar said that they will maintain personnel in the 19 operational stations of the Metro, guaranteeing compliance with security regulations and providing information to the command post regarding contingencies that may arise.

In addition to the personnel assigned directly to the World Youth Day for the attention at the event sites, all fire stations will have their full staff for the attention of contingencies that arise and in support of the central event sites ; for example, for the Cinta Costera, we will respond from the 3 closest stations (Calidonia, Balboa and Plaza Amador) and for Metro Park they will support units and equipment from Tocumen, Juan Díaz and San Miguelito stations.

The Director of the Unified Emergency Management System -SUME 911-, Gil Fábrega said that during the WYD the unique number 911 will be working, integrating the response of the pre-hospital care, rescue, fire and police service.

It is requested that people refrain from using emergency numbers to make false alarms, since it affects the response capacity of the institutions, noting in advance that it is already possible to locate the number and place of origin of such calls.

First Aid
José Baquero  Red Cross Coordinator of Risk Management and of the Red Cross, said  it has  reinforced the first aid, CPR, immobilization, bandage and stretcher training to more than 500 institutional volunteers.

The local body will be receiving the support of international organizations to reinforce the rescue and first aid tasks, such as: Order of Malta, Order of Mercy of Tuscany and the Boys Scouts of Poland.

Participant guidelines

During events
• Avoid meeting as a group on the access and exit routes.
• Be, well fed and hydrated
• Wear loose, comfortable, light-colored clothing.
• Wear  hats
• Drink water daily
• Apply sunscreen
• Use mosquito repellent for the evening hours.
• Avoid climbing trees and temporary structures such as: giant screens, sound towers, antennas or monuments
• Attend to instructions in cases of evacuation.

After the event:
• Evacuate in an orderly manner through established channels. Keep calm and patient.



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National Bank WYD operating hours

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The  National Bank of Panama has announced special hours, for  o  World Youth Day (WYD), January 22 to 27.

Monday, January 21: Calidonia, Exposición, Hatillo and Séptima Central branches will offer service from 7:00 am to 10:00 am

Tuesday, January 22: Branches Calidonia, Exposición, Hatillo, Séptima Central and Matriz will provide service from 7:00 am to 10:00 am

Wednesday, January 23: Branches Calidonia, Exposition, Hatillo, Seventh Central, Headquarters, Rio Abajo, Los Pueblos, Villa Lucre, San Fernando, Public Registry, Transistmica, Balboa, Mile 8, October 12, Versailles and San Francisco will provide service from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m..

Thursday, January 24: Calidonia, Exposición, Hatillo, Septima Central, Casa Matriz and San Francisco branches will provide service from 7:00 am to 10:00 am

Friday, January 25: Calidonia, Exposición, Hatillo, Septima Central, Casa Matriz and San Francisco branches will provide service from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Chepo, December 24 and Bethlehem branches will be closed all day.

Saturday, January 26: All  branches located in the provinces of Panama, Panama West and Colon will be closed



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