In keeping with a tradition he began in 2001, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will perform volunteer work for a religious group today to mark the last day of his second term in office, which ends at 9am.
Chen will work as a volunteer with the Buddhist Compassionate Relief Tzu Chi Foundation in Neihu, Taipei City, after a handover ceremony at the Presidential Office in the morning.
Chen will attend president-elect Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential Office and then say goodbye to staffers, foreign guests and leaders of diplomatic allies attending the inauguration before leaving the Presidential Office.
He will not attend Ma’s celebration at the Taipei Arena later this morning.
Chen will then volunteer in Neihu and afterward attend a function at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in the evening.
Chen yesterday was busy receiving foreign guests from 8am to 9:30pm.
Chen will move out of the official Yushan Residence on Chongqing S Rd, and move into an apartment complex in Taipei City’s Xinyi District.
Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) is still busy packing and will soon move out of her official residence on Renai Rd and relocate to an apartment complex in Sansia Township (三峽), Taipei County.
Lu yesterday said she planned to stay home today because she felt exhausted after spending time moving and cleaning over the past few days.
She said she felt sad about leaving the Presidential Office when she was cleaning it up on Saturday because she had been working there for eight years. However, she added that she felt more at ease yesterday when she saw an empty office and realized it was time to retire.
She called the last press conference in the capacity of vice president yesterday morning to donate NT$200,000 to aid victims of China’s devastating earthquake, emphasizing that the money came from her own pocket and not from her special allowance or state affairs funds.
Executive Yuan Secretary-General Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) accepted the money in cash on behalf of outgoing Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄).
Pointing out the donation problems occurring in the wake of the Sept. 21 earthquake in 1999, Lu said she would like to see a government agency with credibility to integrate all resources and make fair and effective distributions.
Lu said she felt duty bound to help out because she initiated a campaign encouraging civil servants to donate daily wages for a week in the aftermath of the 1999 earthquake when she served as Taoyuan County commissioner.
She said she hoped the new government would continue the relief effort and Beijing would return Taiwan’s favor when it recovers from the devastation.
It would only be to the advantage of Taipei and Beijing if both sides peacefully coexist and help each other to prosperity, she said.