Home / Local News
Tue, Aug 01, 2000 - Page 3 News List

President vows full overhaul of rescue systems

POLICY OUTLINE Chen Shui-bian said at a keynote address he would press on with reforms while taking the initiative in mending fences with the opposition

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday vowed to push forward domestic reforms, including improving the emergency report and rescue coordination system, holding a cross-party "round-table" meeting, and evaluating the possibility of appointing a deputy vice premier.

Chen made the remarks at a general press conference held yesterday at the Presidential Office.

Chen said the public had shown disappointment with the new government over the Pachang Creek (八掌溪) incident and in response urged civil servants to shrug off cumbersome bureaucracy and serve the people.

"If human lives are not made the top priority, tragedies will happen again," Chen said, calling for a thorough overhaul of the emergency reporting and rescue communication channels.

In his inauguration address on May 20, Chen advocated the establishment of a national commission on human rights and yesterday the president again started his speech by stating the government's emphasis on respect for human rights.

"Let the ROC become a part of the international system of human rights ? If international law on human rights is put in place nationally or locally we will make progress in promoting human rights in step with the international community," Chen said, adding that a human rights task force will be formed under the Presidential Office.

Last week, Secretary-General to the President Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) personally delivered invitations to KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) for a round-table meeting at the Presidential Office, but neither has so far accepted the invitation.

Nevertheless, Chen reiterated yesterday his determination to convene the cross-party round-table meeting. "I am willing to go to the KMT's headquarters across the street and personally invite Lien and other party leaders to extend my sincerity and goodwill. Reconciliation among political parties is an important step for alleviating conflicts between the ruling and opposition powers," Chen said.

Chen sought to hold a preparatory meeting for staff beforehand to discuss details and set an agenda for the round-table meeting.

When asked by reporters if Chen had ever considered amending the Constitution to change aspects of the country's semi-presidential system which have led to the current impasse between the government and opposition parties, Chen rejected the possibility.

Instead, the president said it was more feasible to appoint another deputy vice premier to help Premier Tang Fei (唐飛) in his administrative affairs, just as former vice premier Yu Shyi-kun had previously suggested.

Observers have widely speculated that if a deputy vice premier were appointed, he or she would most likely be a KMT member with a strong background in finance.

The Executive Yuan's Organization Law (行政院組織法) must first be revised if a deputy vice premier is to be appointed, the Government Information Office (GIO) said yesterday, adding that if the revised version is drafted, reviewed and passed by the legislature by the end of this year, the proposition will probably be fulfilled next year.

The Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (行政院研考會) which is responsible for drafting the revision, however, indicated that no instructions were received from Chen or Tang in this regard.

During the second presidential press conference yesterday, Chen reassured the public that Tang would carry out a series of reforms on internal affairs beginning next month, including a crackdown on organized crime and political corruption.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top