Yet Another Reason to Love Panama

Panama has a fairly laissez faire approach to business.  However, when left to their own devices, businesses seem to have a tendency to run roughshod over everything that doesn’t support their bottom line.  One way this manifests is in advertising.  Outdoor advertising can amount to significant “visual pollution.”  And the target of advertising, the consuming public, often has significantly less love for the ads than the owners do.  The Panamanian government has taken note of this, and passed some new regulations for outdoor signage.

Wow.  If I understand it correctly, the new rules prohibit advertisers from putting up more than 11 outdoor signs for any one thing.  Penalties for infringement are fairly stiff, too.  La Prensa (translated by Google) has the following to say about it:

They seek to control illegal billboards

Once the new regulations on outdoor advertising is in effect, companies are in the business will have 180 days to adapt.
The authorities agreed to establish via 50th Street and Spain as the two areas where the ads will be concentrated.

Billboards in Panama -

photo from La Prensa, see link above

From January 2016, the Mayor of Panama apply new rules for those engaged in the business of outdoor advertising in the capital.

This is an agreement approved Tuesday by members of the Municipal Council of Panama, through which it seeks to bring order to the business, a cleaner district and facilitate the work of local government in removing fences or advertisements they are not meeting the standard.

In fact, the mayor of the district of Panama, Jose Isabel Blandon, has repeatedly denounced the existence of “visual pollution”, which from their point of view represents a risk to the safety of pedestrians and drivers, in addition to flight municipal taxes.

Facts mayor of Panama indicate that in the district capital currently 12 000 79 advertisements, notices and advertising structures, according to the last census of the institution, held between October 1, 2014 and 9 September.

Of that total, 4000 544 taxpayers have been cited by local administrative authorities for engaging in outdoor advertising in connection with offenses also have imposed fines and removed 86 thousand 857 ads.


To remedy the situation, the new standard, which contains 87 articles, provides for the prohibition of placing fences or any announcements in more than 11 points, as in the case of churches, airports, national monuments, sites declared heritage of the Republic , declared protected areas or garden city.

Performance bonds on various scales imposed by the number of ads, ranging from $ 50,000 to persons handling between one and 25 commercials, to $ 400,000 for companies with more than 200 ads.

Likewise, it is made clear which cases are infringements, which involve cancellation of permits, sanctions, the procedure to be followed by failure and how to request reconsideration.


According to Gabriel Barletta, board member of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama and coordinator of the Outdoor Advertising Commission, industry and needed updating.

The agreement currently in force for the regulation of outdoor advertising is No. 72 of June 26, 2000, approved during the mayoral administration of Juan Carlos Navarro (1999-2009)

Barletta added that since the House had great participation, giving the opportunity to reach consensus, in order not only to establish processes and penalties, but also to “seek to modernize and streamline processes time when permits are granted.”

For his part, Thomas Engler, Urbana Civic Network, said “the authorities have to do their job of enforcing laws, rules and agreements, but they are not doing well.”

He said that the fact is not in the rules, but in the will to fulfill them.

The original article can be viewed on La Prensa HERE.