Mon, Aug 24, 2009 - Page 3 News List

MORAKOT: THE AFTERMATH: DPP wants more money for reconstruction work

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The legislature is scheduled to begin review of the Cabinet’s special statute for post-Typhoon Morakot reconstruction tomorrow, but the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus doesn’t think the proposal goes far enough.

Caucus whip Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) told reporters that the Executive Yuan should not have capped the reconstruction budget at NT$100 billion (US$3 billion) because the typhoon had caused more damage than the 921 Earthquake.

Wang said the caucus would propose its own version of the statute, which would allow the central government to seek “unlimited” funds for reconstruction.

The Cabinet finalized the central government budget for the next fiscal year at its weekly meeting last Thursday and suggested seeking a NT$447 billion loan, given that an estimated NT$187.8 billion would be needed to support the approximately NT$100 billion needed for post-Morakot reconstruction.

Legislators across party lines agreed to hold extraordinary sessions from tomorrow to Thursday to review the Cabinet’s proposal. They also agreed to allow the proposal to skip a preliminary review so that it could clear the legislative floor by Thursday.

Wang said it could take a minimum of NT$200 billion to complete reconstruction.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世), however, said the reconstruction budget should be “proportionate” and the government should not be too wasteful.

Meanwhile, during a trip to Aboriginal communities in Taitung hurt by the typhoon, Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator May Chin (高金素梅) vowed to spend the 20 million yuan (US$3 million) given to her by China to help Aborigines rebuild their homes.

“I’m sorry that I did not arrive right after the typhoon caused serious damage to Taitung,” Chin said. “The donation will be spent on disaster relief. The money will be given to Aborigines immediately, transparently and fairly.”

Chin was criticized by the pan-green camp after she accepted the 20 million yuan during a visit to Beijing last week, where she met Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Taiwan Affairs Office head Wang Yi (王毅). The Mainland Affairs Council also expressed concern that there was no law to monitor how Chin spends the money.

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