Panama's"Guardian Angel" program for people with severe disabilities in extreme poverty and dependency status has had its 2013 budget slashed to $12.5 million.
The Ministry of Social Development (Mides) needs caters for 55,000 severely disabled people in need. It joins other departments not on the government’s priority list like INAC the nation’s cultural organization.
The news comes at the same time as the Public Works Ministry announced that the $872 million contract for the Cinta Costera extension would not be benefiting from the promised $103 million saving for choosing the viaduct option over a tunnel
Natasha Velloti, director of the Mides project said that the $12.5 million approved by the Ministry of Economy and Finance will only benefit 13 000 people.
She added that they will have to ask for an extraordinary credit of $39.5 million to respond to the other 42,000 people who would be left hanging without the program.
When President Ricardi Martinelli, launched the program in September 2011 he said: "This is another government program to change Panama. Here we want to change things so that there is greater benefit for everyone. "
He added that it was another of the programs undertaken by his administration to favor Panamanians in extreme poverty.
The vice president of the Foundation for the Development of Civic Freedom, Carlos Gasnell said that every government program should have its budget to run as part of transparency.
"We must be vigilant over shipments, direct payments and extraordinary credits, because they lead to cuts in other areas," said Gasnell.