A proposal is in the works to request compensation from the government for more than 500,000 veterans who served an extra year in the military from the 1960s to the 1980s.
According to the draft bill, the government issued an illegal order forcing 567,407 soldiers, during the period from 1968 to 1986 to serve for three instead of the two years mandated in the Military Service Act (兵役法).
Dozens of veterans, aged 43 to 64, attended a public hearing at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, saying that the government had treated them unfairly because they had to spend an extra 12 months of their youth in the military.
“I missed a lot of time with my wife and sons,” said a veteran surnamed Liu (劉), who was conscripted in 1978 in the military police.
Seeking to maintain troop levels after many of the soldiers who came to Taiwan from China had retired, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government in 1966 issued a temporary order for a one-year extension of service for armored units, engineering corps, missile troops, artillerymen, airborne troops, signal troops, special forces and arsenal units. The order was not revoked until 1986.
According to Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) who initiated the bill, the regulations at that time stipulated that the compulsory period of service was two years, therefore, the executive order was a clear violation of the law.
Chai said that the Ministry of National Defense should compensate the affected veterans for the loss of time and money.
The Rules -Committee blocked the draft bill from the legislative agenda on Monday, but Chai vowed to forge bipartisan support for the proposal and put the bill on the agenda for next week.
The government aims to initiate a fully volunteer military service system by 2014 to replace the current system, which is part volunteer and part conscription.