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Dealing with the Dolega Municipio and the Caldera Checkpoint

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Well, back in February my license plate expired. Having lived here long enough to know not to wait until the end of the month, I went to Dolega to renew sometime in the middle of February. Because this is Panama, they don't just issue stickers to designate the year of your license plate, you have to buy an entirely new metal plate. Yes, somebody's cousin owns the placa company obviously. Also being Panama they sometimes forget to order the new metal placas. This was the case with me. After paying they explained that the February plates would hopefully be in at the beginning of March and in the meantime they gave me a letter saying I was allowed to "circulate" with an outdated plate. Okay, I didn't go back the first week in March and then we were locked down and the Dolega Municipio closed up. This morning I received insider information from my friend Lynda Rogers that it was possible to go and pick up my long overdue plate but I had to go during my designated release time. When I arrived at the Municipio I discovered that the building was indeed locked up but they had partially opened up an exterior window and were doing business through the window. Of course, there was a line and for some reasons the locals kept cutting in front of me. I waited patiently and finally got my new plate and window sticker. Now to get back to Boquete before my time expired.

The whole procedure at the Caldera checkpoint has changed. Now you go through 3 distinct stations. At the first they spray the sides, tires and back of your car with some kind of anti-viral spray. At the 2nd stop they take your temperature and have an ambulance standing by in case your temp is out of acceptable range. At the 3rd stop they check your ID and wave you through.

And that's how I navigated two bureaucratic governmental processes in one 2-hour outing. Ain't this pandemic thing great ???🤯

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13 hours ago, Penny said:

...bureaucratic governmental processes...

Going off-topic in one way, but still on-topic about the text I quoted above.

Been trying to pay the tasa unica (the annual "fee"/"tax" for our foundation), but without success. This government fee has to be paid in cash at either Banco Nacional or Caja de Ahorros (two governmental banking institutions here in Panama).

My trips to Banco Nacional in Boquete have been unsuccessful. Sure, I get to the bank with cash in pocket, but they don't have the correct form on which to document the payment. Thus no transaction is allowed. I finally got out of the bank manager (on my last trip last Thursday, which is a guy's day to be out and about) that the office in PC that takes care of printing and distributing those forms is closed and has been closed since the beginning of the quarantine. I asked repeatedly when will they get the forms, and the result is something I call the "reserve salute" (meaning, I don't know and I don't care). At least I now know hot to try again until things really open up.

But aha - an alternative solution. Caja de Ahorros can also receive the payments. However, the Boquete office is closed.

The way I drive, there is no way to get to David (and that is assuming they have the correct form) and back in two hours.

I have until the end of June to pay the tasa unica, otherwise a penalty results. If a penalty is imposed for non-timely payment then I am going to start protesting (hopefully peacefully, but at times I wonder if I can restrain myself).

The most difficult part of this scenario is the "I really don't care about your problem" attitude.

(Okay, now I feel better. I got this off my chest.)

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1 hour ago, Penny said:

This is why I grab a big handful of forms whenever I'm in the tax office in David. For those of you who need one (Alan and Bud) I have one for you.


You are an angel. :x  Thank you.

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On 5/25/2020 at 8:58 AM, Bud said:


You are an angel. :x  Thank you.

I picked up the proper form from Penny Tuesday morning (05/26) as soon as my mobility window opened up, and trundled immediately to Banco Nacional. They were closed. Duh. I was not aware of their new schedule. Banco Nacional is open in the afternoons of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; it is open in the mornings on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.



So I returned to Banco Nacional yesterday (Thursday, May 28th) as my first stop when my mobility window opened up. I was in and out in about seven minutes. There were very few bank customers. Processing of the tasa unica form was slow and meticulous. It seemed that the bank teller was triple checking everything that had been entered into the computer before hitting the enter button so as to avoid any mistakes (of that I was appreciative). When finished, he smiled and said in English "have a nice day".

My tasa unica fee payment matter is now completed for FY-2020.

I've learned a lesson from this. I like Penny's approach. Next time I find the correct form at the bank I will take three or four spares with me.

Another huge hug to Penny for helping out on this issue.

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