A number of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers from farm-based constituencies yesterday criticized the KMT government’s proposal for an increase of NT$316 (US$10.51) in monthly pensions for elderly farmers, saying it was “unacceptable.”
The legislature is expected to refer the amendment to the Temporary Statute Regarding the Welfare Pension of Senior Farmers (老年農民福利津貼暫行條例) directly to a second reading at today’s session.
The issue of farmers’ subsidies has resembled a bidding war ahead of January’s presidential and legislative elections.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
While the Democratic Progressive Party caucus has proposed an increase to NT$7,000, some KMT legislators have backed a measure calling for NT$10,000 a month.
The Executive Yuan on Oct. 20 decided on a NT$316 increase. Under its proposal, the monthly subsidy for elderly farmers will increase to NT$6,316 to reflect the 5.27 percent average increase in the consumer price index (CPI) since the last time the subsidy was raised, by NT$1,000, in 2007.
The proposal includes a special clause to exclude wealthy farmers from receiving the subsidy, but this will not affect existing pension recipients
KMT legislators Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和) Chang Chia-chun (張嘉郡) Wong Chung-chun (翁重鈞) called a press conference yesterday in which they vowed to firmly oppose the proposal.
Chung and Chang, who jointly presented an amendment that suggested a level of NT$10,000 a month, said that they have collected more than 20 signatures, out of a total of 72, to back the proposal.
“The amendment drafted by the Executive Yuan has incurred strong dissatisfaction from farmers, forcing us to step forward to appeal to the government to listen to what we have to say,” Chung said.
Chang said that more than 70 percent of farmers were dissatisfied with the government proposal.
“It’s really unfair to elderly farmers who have worked so hard in their whole lives to have such a small increase in their subsidy and to be subject to the wealth exclusion clause, especially considering the various tax relief measures for businesses and estate tax reduction for rich people,” Chang said.
Suggesting a raise of the subsidy to at least NT$7,500, Wong said he would vote against the amendment in defiance of the party.
In related news, more than 100 farmers who grow high-stem grafted pears yesterday attended a press conference held by DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) to call on the government to address a drop in sales of locally grown pears that has caused prices to fall lower than the cost of their production.
The government allowed 1,530 tonnes of pears to be imported from May to last month, causing sales of locally grown high-stem grafted pears to drop, a representative of the farmers said.
“The price of high-stem grafted pears has collapsed. The production cost was about NT$25 per Taiwanese kilo [0.6kg]. “A” grade pears were sold at at the market at NT$ 19 per Taiwanese kilo, first grade at NT$16 and second grade at NT$13,” said Liu Yu-kuei (劉玉貴), a farmer.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
More than half of Taiwan’s middle-aged population, those aged between 40 and 64, have at least one of the “three highs” — high blood pressure, high blood lipids or high blood sugar — and an unhealthy waist size, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said, adding that more than 30 percent also have metabolic syndrome. The HPA, the Taiwan Millennium Health Foundation and local health departments are cooperating to encourage people to regularly measure their waist circumference and keep it at a healthy size — no more than 90cm for adult men and no more than 80cm for adult women. Taichung Veterans General