Complaints about government violations halt dialogue in Panama

Complaints about government violations halt dialogue in Panama

Food, medicine and subsidized fuel stopped the only dialogue table with social organizations today.

Talks in the central province of Coclé, with the Catholic Church as moderator, should have started with the agenda item on the situation of the Social Security Fund (CSS), but several speakers from the groups and popular alliances questioned the executive’s failure to respond seriously to the previous consensus.

In this sense, Saúl Méndez of the Pueblo Unidos por la Vida alliance pointed out that the oligopolies and private companies are blackmailing the table, publicly assuring that they are not honoring the agreements to reduce the prices of 72 products and are threatening market shortages. .

Another chairman, Fernando Castañeda, of the CSS Association of Physicians, Odontologists and Allied Professionals, said the agreement must first be fulfilled and reflected in the lives of Panamanians in order to make progress in social security.

“There can be no trust if the agreed agreements are not fulfilled,” he said.

How can we proceed when we have heard in the National Assembly (parliament) that an additional $123 million has been approved for their budget but nothing has been said about the percentage of gross domestic product devoted to education, he added.

He also pointed out that we want to talk about social security, but the only health issue that was discussed was medication, and it was dealt with in a commission that the business people sit on, but it turns out that the small pharmacies assure that they will disappear.

What will happen is that the big distributors will buy from the smaller dispensaries, he argued.

Other leaders of the groups, such as Fernando Ábrego of the Association of Teachers, pointed out that it is inconceivable that the National Council for Private Enterprise (Conep) and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture could not be controlled by the government and it is the the Dictating the rules of the game in the country, something unusual in the world.

In any case, in order to advance the planned deliberations, the teacher suggested setting up a commission to evaluate and present concrete solutions requested by the vigilant people of these tables on issues such as food, medicine, fuel and even a reduction in the electricity tariff, with no suitable answers.

In the talks, some with heated speeches, leaders of the unions, including those from the Ngabe Bugle region and farmers, questioned whether the table set up on July 21 would make sense if the executive branch legislated instead of defending the people is indifferent and preferred also business people.

For her part, the Minister of Labor and Labor Development, Doris Zapata, pointed out that efforts are being made to resolve the situations and warnings from the movements, but that this also entails legal procedures and consultations with other actors.

On the subject of CSS, its Secretary General Edwin Salamín announced that the Executive had ratified the decision to host the Dialogue Table and invited all social organizations represented in Coclé to participate, based on the tripartite bargaining system recommended by the International Labor Organization.