Mon, Nov 15, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Legislative Elections: Chunghwa lawyer running on a social welfare platform

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

An independent legislative candidate is proposing a monthly allowance to alleviate financial strains on families with children.

Lisa Huang (黃文玲), the daughter of former Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairman Huang Shih-cheng (黃石城), plans to be a voice for the rights of women and children should she be elected to the legislature next month.

In her hometown and constituency of Chunghwa County, Huang is pushing for the initiation of a regional referendum call the "Yo-Yo" referendum, which translated to "little children's referendum." This referendum seeks to determine whether people agree with the idea that families with children aged five and above should receive a monthly stipend of NT$5,000 to assist with the cost of education.

"Raising a child on NT$50,000 a month -- which is the average figure earned by a double-income family -- is quite tedious," Huang said last week in a telephone interview with the Taipei Times. "Children are our nation's future and their education is important. Therefore, I am pushing for a referendum in Chunghwa County on the issue," she added. Huang also said that her proposal seeks to help families with children who are five and older because the current social welfare policy only provides financial assistance to families with children under the age of five. "Among parents who do not receive [the current] monthly lump-sum, mothers are forced to stay at home with their children because they cannot afford to send them to daycare centers or kindergartens. In a way, this program may also increase our country's workforce and productivity," Huang said.

According to the Referendum Law (公民投票法) that was passed last year, a successful referendum petition needs the signatures of 0.5 percent of the electorate, and then approved by the Referendum Supervisory Committee. "About 50,000 signatures are required to initiate this referendum," Huang said.

Huang, an attorney who has been serving in Chunghwa for over ten years pointed out that her proposed "Yo-Yo" referendum has so far been well-received by her constituents. During her time as a lawyer, Huang has acted as a legal advisor to numerous social welfare groups, such as Chunghwa County Babysitters' Association and Chunghwa County Association for the Blind.

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