Wed, Feb 02, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Ministry of National Defense says volunteer recruiting effort paying off

CNA , Taipei

The Ministry of National Defense said yesterday that there has been an enthusiastic response to a program to recruit young people to volunteer for military service, with the number of those registering surpassing 1,000 on the first day.

Fu Mao-yao (傅茂耀), director of the ministry's Talent Recruitment Center, said yesterday that the ministry intends to recruit a total of 6,561 young people over four months, including 90 women -- this month, April, June and August.

The military had hoped to register 1,826 people in the first stage this week, but was pleasantly surprised to find that more than 1,000 signed up on Monday alone, Fu said.

Noting that the ministry has only recruited 399 men over the past two years, he said that it has continued to better the salary and benefits for the recruits, making volunteering more attractive.

Volunteer privates will receive a monthly wage of NT$27,105 (US$857.75) and other various stipends, and they will enjoy half-priced discounts for water and electricity bills during their term of service.

After their service period, they can also obtain a retirement pension and government agencies will assist them in gaining professional licenses related to their posts.

Fu said that because of the generous offer, the recruitment center has received many inquiries recently, and that there have been more than 17,000 hits on the Web site set up by the ministry in less than a month.

Vice Minister of National Defense Tsai Ming-hsien (蔡明憲) announced last week that under a conscription system reform program, the period of mandatory military service will be shortened from the 22 months to 18, effective July 1, while recruitment of volunteers will be accelerated in the years to come.

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