On April 17, 2020, the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic of Panama, together with the Justice and Peace Commission of the Panamanian Episcopal Conference, signed a cooperation and support agreement to undertake a social audit of the Panama Solidarity Program so that it would reach the most vulnerable population without discrimination, political partisanship or private interests.
“The Justice and Peace Commission is a body that aims to promote justice and peace in society, based on the Gospel and the Social Doctrine of the Church through research into reality and the incorporation of the people.”
Panama’s SAI, as a member of the OLACEFS, remains active in its contributions following the COVID-19 pandemic as a novel alternative that unites different countries worldwide to transparently control State assets and resources.
It is important to mention the hard work being done by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic of Panama in these times of national emergency.
Currently, it is up to the Episcopal Conference to provide the list of persons authorized to file complaints for the social audit so that, through the Justice and Peace Commission, volunteers from the Catholic Church are being called upon to participate in the audit of the food bags and social economic bonds that are distributed at the national level.
Currently, in order to comply with this agreement, the Catholic Church will have volunteer professionals in its dioceses (territories) to establish lines of action that guarantee a mechanism of social control within the framework of the law and ensuring that State resources are well used.
This audit will complement the tasks that the Social Bureau has been carrying out in the implementation and development of plans to temporarily mitigate the economic impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic, especially on vulnerable populations, and on Panamanian and foreign families that have lost their sources of income.
For the exclusive use of this social audit project, the Comptroller’s Office set up a section on its website for reporting complaints and evidence of irregularities that may be presented throughout the country.
Citizens, anywhere in the country, can report their complaints to the social auditors, providing evidence through photos, videos and testimonies; they must also identify the site, date and people involved.
Once a duly substantiated complaint has been admitted, the first action will be to send a warning letter to the local authorities, who are primarily responsible for ensuring the equitable distribution of the food bags and solidarity bonds, and an investigation will be subsequently launched with probable legal and financial consequences.
With the signing of the agreement of cooperation and support for the development of the social audit of the Panama Solidarity Program, Comptroller General Gerardo Solis and the president of the Panamanian Episcopal Conference, Monsignor Rafael Valdivieso Miranda, seek to make citizens aware of the importance of monitoring public resources for the common good, on this occasion, the oversight of the delivery of bonds and food bags.
The Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic of Panama applies all the biosecurity measures in force to prevent contagion and is preparing for next year where Panama was chosen in a unanimous vote as the future headquarters of the XLV Assembly of the Central American and Caribbean Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (OCCEFS), to be held in June 2021, in order to promote the integration and strengthening of the Comptrollers.