The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) “three little pigs” fundraising campaign raised more than NT$200 million (US$6.6 million) in political donations from 143,000 piggy banks returned, the party said yesterday.
The DPP announced the completion of the money-counting during a press conference at DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national campaign headquarters in Banciao District (板橋), New Taipei City (新北市).
The party said that a total of NT$201.2 million was raised from the piggy bank donations.
“Each and every penny of the donations symbolizes people’s disappointment in the incumbent government and their desire for a fair and just society,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.
The party launched the campaign on Oct. 25 in the wake of a warning from the Control Yuan, that the DPP’s acceptance of three piggy banks from a set of young triplets could constitute a violation of the Political Donations Act (政治獻金法).
The DPP distributed more than 200,000 piggy banks as the campaign grew in popularity. The 143,000 piggy banks returned by supporters to campaign headquarters in cities and counties across the nation were brought to Banciao on Dec. 18 last year, their designated “homecoming day.”
Counting the money was a difficult task. It required 150 volunteers to work on 12 hole-punching machines, 52 coin sorting machines and six coin counters 12 hours a day — a total of more than 3,000 man-hours — for 20 consecutive days, Lin said.
The campaign was the DPP and the public’s answer to the “asymmetrical elections” in which the party is competing against the -“ultra-rich” Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections, another campaign spokesperson, Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君), said.
The DPP was also deeply touched by the many notes written by donors to express their feelings for the party and Tsai that they found in the piggy banks, Cheng said.
“I am sorry. This is the best I can do, because I need to save some money to feed my family,” Cheng read a message from a donor of a poor family.
A supporter from Lujhou District (蘆洲), New Taipei City, was asked by a 90-year-old friend surnamed Lin from Sanchong (三重), who did not know where to return the piggy bank, to hand in his donation.
“Chairperson Tsai would not feel tired if she knew how difficult it was for Mr Lin to ride on a tricycle from Sanchong to Lujhou to deliver this piggy bank,” the supporter wrote.
“The DPP is grateful to all donors, volunteers, staff members and truck drivers who had made a contribution to the most successful micro-fundraising campaign in Taiwan to date,” Cheng said.