Gifts for the people
PANAMA. One of the promises that President Ricardo Martinelli made at election times was to donate his wages, with the exception of $1,...
PANAMA. One of the promises that President Ricardo Martinelli made at election times was to donate his wages, with the exception of $1, to charitable organizations.
A Panamanian president earns $4,000 per month plus $3,000 in representation expenses.
Martinelli presented a report to the Comptroller General saying that 13 different charitable organizations are going to receive monthly donations from his salary.
It is important to point out that the Super 99 Foundation and the Ricardo Martinelli Foundation will receive $600 each, while the other eleven that include orphanages, nursing homes, and cancer and HIV research centers will get between $500 and $300.
The Super 99 Foundation and the Ricardo Martinelli Foundation have been the pet projects of the president for years and they specialize in giving scholarships to gifted students, especially in rural and deprived areas.
The donations are being well received by the beneficiaries and Sister Lourdes, director of the San Jose de Malambo orphanage, said that the funds are going to be invested in education, health and food for the children.
She said that they have had the same subsidies for years and they never increase. Apart from that, donations in general are going down due to the global financial crisis and low salaries, plus food prices are forever increasing.
Martinelli has always said that his main objective was to help the Panamanian people, but his detractors see the donation of his wages as an empty gesture designed to win popularity.