Sat, Sep 19, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Legislators receive CCW awards

REHABILITATIONThough the Citizen Congress Watch was denounced by some legislators last year, this year all the winning lawmakers showed up to receive recognition

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Citizen Congress Watch (CCW), a legislative monitoring group that was once declared “persona non grata” by legislators — completed a remarkable rehabilitation yesterday.

The group held a ceremony to honor the best performing lawmakers, and legislators across party lines turned up to receive their awards.

“The lawmakers — especially those affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] — considered us as hostile at first, because they have never been so closely monitored and because most civic groups have closer relations with the opposition,” CCW executive director Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳) told the Taipei Times after the ceremony at the Legislative Yuan.

The lawmakers were evaluated on attendance, number of law proposals and the number of times they spoke during meetings.

All recipients took part in the ceremony, thanking the CCW for the awards, and praising it as a subjective and independent legislative watch group.

But it hasn’t always been the case.

“At first, we put a lot of emphasis on those lawmakers who attended meetings, but were late or left early, and those who signed the attendance sheet but did not actually sit down for the meeting. We monitored their performance from the first day of each session and released a report at the end of each session,” Ho said. “The legislators were shocked because no one had ever monitored them on this scale.”

After the first evaluation was released at the end of August last year, KMT Legislators Chen Ken-te (陳根德), Chiu Yi (邱毅) and Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) were unhappy about their low rankings. They accused the CCW of being biased and filed slander lawsuits against Ho and CCW chairman Ku Chung-hwa (顧忠華).

The Transportation Committee adopted a resolution to ­declare the CCW unwelcome, while the KMT caucus made a decision to prohibit KMT lawmakers from providing information to the CCW for evaluation purposes.

Ho said he thought that the CCW’s hard work to show its neutrality, professionalism and transparency had made legislators change their minds.

The winners, selected by 120 citizen evaluators as top performers from each legislative committee, were: the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) from the Internal Administration Committee, KMT Legislator Liu Shen-liang (劉盛良) from the Foreign and National Defense Committee, DPP Legislator Pan Meng-an (潘孟安) from the Economics Committee, the KMT’s Nancy Chao (趙麗雲) from the Education and Culture Committee, the KMT’s Wu Ching-chih (吳清池) from the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, the KMT’s Yang Li-huan (楊麗環) from the Transportation Committee and KMT Legislator Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) of the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee.

Evaluators did not select a winner from the Finance ­Committee because they could not agree on who did the best job.

“I think objective evaluation of lawmakers by an independent group is important,” Yang said. “In the past, you had to skip legislative meeting and appear in your constituency so that voters would think you’re a diligent lawmaker, but now, this award proves that I am a hard-working legislator even though I don’t appear at too many local events.”

“I think as a member of the Legislative Yuan, it’s more important for us to participate in meetings in the Legislative Yuan, and leave local business to local councilors,” she said.

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