Thu, Mar 04, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Presidential candidates back welfare plan

CNA , TAIPEI

President Chen Shui-bian, center, yesterday endorses a white paper calling for better care of the elderly at a general meeting of the League of Welfare Improvement for Older People. Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien, left, was also in attendance.

PHOTO: WANG MIN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

The two rival presidential election tickets endorsed a white paper on welfare for the elderly yesterday, with the aim of ensuring that senior citizens will be better taken care of in years to come.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) endorsed the white paper, which was drafted by the non-profit League of Welfare Improvement for Older People and passed at the national Silver-Haired Summit last year, at the opening of the league's general meeting.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Chen said that he feels sorry for the country's elderly for not having benefited from a pension scheme that has been in the works for some time.

If it had not been boycotted by the opposition parties, the scheme would have taken force long before, with the abundant profits generated from the public lottery over the past two years, Chen said.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) -- campaign manager for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) -- endorsed the white paper on Lien's behalf.

Wang said that, at present, senior citizens receive NT$3,000 per month as a subsidy. The figure, he said, could be raised to around NT$8,900 if Lien is elected.

The league, a nationwide private organization established some 10 years ago to push for improved welfare for seniors, had invited the rival presidential candidates to jointly endorse its policies.

League officials said that regardless of which party wins the election, welfare for the elderly should be bolstered.

The league white paper provides 45 suggestions for the next administration. The suggestions include efforts to respect the elderly, help the elderly lead independent lives, facilitate their right to vote and beef up services for them.

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