Tue, Nov 09, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers voice support for logistics command

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmakers yesterday said that they would do whatever it takes to encourage and support the Logistics Command Headquarters and its personnel, especially those who have the risky job of handling explosives and ammunition.

"These guys' jobs are dangerous but they are always suffering from manpower shortages," said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chin-hsing (林進興). "In addition tasks requiring their professional expertise, they also have to carry out routine administrative work and guard duty but they do not have enough personnel to meet their workload."

In addition to suggesting expanding the logistics command, Lin also commented on the pay disparities between the different branches of service.

According to a document Lin copied from the military, army and air force professionals handling explosives and ammunition get an extra NT$200 per month on top of their regular salary if they handle supplies while those in charge of defusing bombs, missiles or mortars get an extra NT$600 per month.

Navy members who do the same jobs, however, get an additional NT$10,000 a month minimum, while police officers would get a monthly bonus starting at NT$26,000.

"You do not want to believe that these bonuses have not been adjusted for the past 10 years," Lin said. "This is discouraging to our military professionals."

Lin urged the government to increase the monthly pay for such personnel as well as providing them with full insurance coverage for themselves as well as their family members.

He also encouraged the military to devise more machines so that lives will not be put at risk in handling explosives and ammunition, and so accidents such as the one that killed three soldiers recently could be avoided.

DPP Legislator Trong Chai (蔡同榮) said that the Logistics Command Headquarters needs more space to process its surplus explosives and ammunition.

"It is very difficult to find a huge tract of land for the military to handle dangerous stuff like this. But we have to resolve the problem to avoid potential accidents," Chai said.

Chai also complained about inadequate paychecks service mem-bers in this field receive, saying that this was a major factor in professionals leaving the military.

"It takes time, money and effort to train a qualified professional to handle weapons, especially those who are handling dangerous items," he said. "Small paychecks won't persuade them to stay in the service. That's a problem."

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