Thu, Apr 15, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Commissioner decries Executive Yuan's handling of loan to Kaohsiung County

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Kaohsiung County Commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興) yesterday called the Cabinet “unreasonable” after it demanded that the county repay a NT$1.5 billion (US$47.7 million) loan from the central government for emergency relief after last year’s flooding within two years.

Yang told reporters in Kaohsiung County that the county recently received an official notice from the Executive Yuan and the Ministry of Finance about the two-year term limit.

The central government will take the installments directly from the monthly administrative funds the county receives from the Executive Yuan, Yang said.

Yang described the central government's move as “unreasonable,” saying that demanding a quick repayment would contradict the central government's humanitarian relief efforts last year.

The county suffered serious landslides after days of torrential rain brought by Typhoon Morakot in August last year.

A great number of Aboriginal households in the county's mountainous areas were damaged by mudslides, including Siaolin Village (小林), which was completely wiped out, killing more than 500 people.

Yang said the county government had spent the majority of the funding on disaster relief, adding that the central government should review whether the county had spent the money appropriately instead of asking the county to repay it.

Yang said that although the central government had earmarked NT$8.8 billion in total to help the county with reconstruction work, a substantial gap remained between the budget and the actual amount of money the county needs.

In related news, Kaohsiung City's Bus Service Administration director Ou Hsiu-ching (歐秀卿) yesterday urged Yang's campaign office to modify a negative advertisement aimed at Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) and the city’s high unemployment rate.

Yang and Chen are both eyeing the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) nomination for mayor of Greater Kaohsiung — a merger between the city and the county — in November's special municipality elections. They have been trading barbs for months.

Ou said the administration believed the ad was “inappropriate” because advertisements running on the city's buses should convey a positive message.

In response, Lee Tien-fu (李添福), chief executive officer of Yang's campaign office, said the administration might have violated administrative impartiality by trying to block the advertisements.

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