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Agreed. He’s got bigger challenges at the moment, most notably completing the Airport expansion and at least part of Metro Line 2 in time for the Pope’s visit and World Youth Day in January, 2019.


Edited by Keith Woolford

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Teacher  power price hike strike to continue

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PUBLIC SCHOOL  teachers will go ahead with their nationwide walkout to protest the hike in electricity prices although President Juan Carlos Varela had announced the suspension of the increase after a week of street protests across the country by business, labor, and social groups.

The  National Union of Educators of Panama (UNEP) and the National Union of Educators for Quality of Education (Unecep), announced on Saturday, July 14 that the walkout and demonstration at the National Assembly will take place on Monday because the Executive has not eliminated the measure, but only suspended it to avoid protests and there are people who have seen the increase in their invoices, which is unfair.

At the National Assembly, they will show their discontent with the arrears in payments to the instructors of the program Panama Bilingüe, as well as the poor state of the schools and the failure of the Extended Day.

The Ministry of Education (Meduca), has called on teachers to desist from the call to strike announced since last Wednesday, July 11.



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28 minutes ago, Moderator_02 said:
PUBLIC SCHOOL  teachers will go ahead with their nationwide walkout to protest the hike in electricity prices although President Juan Carlos Varela had announced the suspension of the increase after a week of street protests across the country by business, labor, and social groups.

Ridiculous and irresponsible actions on the part of the teachers union.

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Workers block some roads and teachers call for strike in Panama

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 13:37

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Pickets of construction workers today began temporary blockades on the country's roads, while classes attendance is irregular due to a call for national strike by teachers.

Workers affiliated with the National Union of Civil Construction Workers (SUNTRACS) blocked road sections of the Pan-American highway in the interior of the country, according to their leaders for an hour, in rejection of the government.

Panamanian television showed that classes attendance at is minimal, while the director of the Professional School, Virgilio De Sedas and the assistant director of that same school, Dalia Lee, explained that not even 10 percent of the students have arrived to classes.

However, he clarified that 100 percent of the educators have attended and prepared for a meeting and march in the afternoon called by the Association of Teachers of the Republic of Panama (ASOPROF).

The José Dolores Moscote School, with thousands of students such as the Professional School, also looks empty.

The workers, in general, business associations, professionals and opposition parties, in addition to government deputies, reject an alleged increase of 8 percent of the electricity price, which the government last week differed due to public pressure, but it did not dissuade today's protest.

The leader of ASOPROF, Diógenes Sánchez, said that the strike is for 24 hours and the protest is also due to the negligence of the Ministry of Education to meet the needs of schools "in a timely manner" and claimed there are educators who have not yet been paid this year.

According to the government, the cost of 60 million dollars of the increase will be absorbed by public funds, but in the end it is necessary that the Parliament authorizes a 300 million-dollar debt to cover the public investments pending to be executed this year, such as finishing the line 2 of the metro and the expansion of Tocumen International Airport.



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Guilds declare success of educational strike against electric price rise in Panama

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 21:45

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The strike staged by public education in Panama today was successful, said leader Diógenes Sánchez, one of the organizers of the one-day protest held against a rise in the electricity price, whose suspension was announced by the government last week.

"Student absent was nearly 80 percent nationwide. Students did not attend schools due to the strike called. We are satisfied with the result," said the leader of the Teachers Association of the Republic of Panama ( Asoprof).

Sánchez stated the Ministry of Education will not accept that the call to strike was supported by majority and claimed that teachers were "threatened and intimidated by the Executive, who promised to apply discounts and open disciplinary proceedings to teachers who participated in the strike, according to the leader.

"This was a 24-hour strike in the public schools, and tomorrow (Tuesday) we will restart, but we will be vigilant about how the events will unfold, and we will join other marches next Wednesday that will be carried out by other associations that are against the increase in energy," said Sánchez.

Several public schools in the capital were empty on Monday, with very low student population, as Efe noted on a tour.

In the morning pickets of construction workers made temporary blockades on the roads of the country in support of the strike called by the teachers' unions, which also demand a larger budget for public education and the payment of debts for unspecified amounts.

For this afternoon it is expected that teachers will demonstrate before the Parliament of Panama against the rise in the electricity price, whose suspension, "in search of social tranquility," was announced last Friday by the Panamanian president, Juan Carlos Varela.

Around noon, protesters in front of the headquarters of the state University of Panama, in the capital, handed out leaflets against the electricity price rise, a situation that was repeated in campuses of that university in the central provinces of Coclé and Veraguas.

The announcement of the adjustment, on July 5, provoked several public protests as well as the rejection of business associations and national producers, which led the Executive to decide that it will assume the cost of the tariff increase, which amounted to 60 million dollars, whose funds it expects to receive through a dispensation of 300 million dollars already requested to the Parliament.

Among the arguments to support the rejection of the rise in electricity price, which according to the regulatory body would be applied only to 24.5 percent of users, is that it will affect sectors such as small and medium enterprises and trade, which will ultimately result in the prices of goods and services, especially affecting the most vulnerable.



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OPINION: A country hostage to subsidies

Everlasting delays
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There is nothing more permanent than a temporary measure, especially if it is a subsidy that takes away pain from the population and avoids the political cost to governments.

From 2004 to the present, the state has subsidized the electric tariff for $1.797 billion That is equivalent to almost the total contribution of the Canal in the last fiscal year, or at the cost of 94 bilingual schools like the one inaugurated a few months ago in Pacora.

While the country squandered this money, the third line of electrical interconnection was unforgivably delayed. and the use of more efficient mechanisms of energy consumption has been expanded, as well as the deployment of green sources of sustainable energies such as wind and solar energy. Whatever it is that happens in the National Assembly, the subsidy this year will have to be for 129 million dollars each one of which means fewer resources for education, health, safety, garbage collection or the improvement of the agricultural production system that would help to reduce the basic basket. Panamanian society is kidnapped by subsidies, and that has transformed citizens into hostages of the political gift



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Electricity rates to remain unchanged

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The National Authority of Public Services (ASEP) has told electricity distribution companies that the rates that are being applied to customers in the second semester must be the same that were charged in the first semester.

The information has been addressed to the Electrical Distribution Company Metro-Oeste, S.A. (Edemet), to the Electric Distribution Company Chiriquí, S.A. (Edechi) and Elektra Noreste, S.A. (ENSA),

The resolution says  that the distribution companies will receive contributions from the Tariff Stabilization (FET) to compensate the amounts not received through the rate update corresponding to the period from July to December 2018.

This is due to the Government’s decision to assume the 8.3% increase that was to be applied  to 24.5% of customers of companies that consume more than 300 kilowatt hours per month, granting a subsidy of $ 60 million for the second semester.

The ASEP warns the three distribution companies that if they invoiced or delivered invoices to final customers with different charges to those that have to be applied according to the resolution, must notify and re-invoice the clients.

In cases where the invoice has been paid by a client, the credits must appear in the next billing.



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