Although Penghu County is an outlying archipelago with a population of fewer than 100,000 people, the rights and welfare of residents should not be marginalized, but be recognized in the presidential election campaign, residents from the county told a press conference in Taipei yesterday.
Citing a recent online poll conducted by the Chinese-language Penghu Times, the Penghu Clan Association of Taipei City said Penghu residents wished for the establishment of a “special law for outlying island development” that would provide the county with investment in healthcare, transportation, education, tax, social welfare, industry and commerce.
The online poll aimed to create a list of questions and suggestions that Penghu residents would like to ask the presidential candidates. It was conducted shortly after the first presidential debate, which was held on Dec. 3, and it has attracted responses from nearly 4,000 residents.
Penghu Times president Chang Hung-kuang (張弘光) said the questions that gained the second and third-largest number of votes were “whether the central government would assist with the budget and administration of Penghu’s 10 major new construction projects” and “what is the presidential candidates’ opinion on building a bridge or tunnel between Taiwan proper and Penghu?”
“None of the candidates mentioned their perspectives on the development of Penghu during the last debate, but the welfare of Penghu’s people should be especially taken care of because of its unique position of being a distant island with limited resources,” Penghu Clan Association of Taipei City president Hong Yo-yee (洪有義) said.
Penghu Aquarium managing director Victoria Lu (呂華苑) said another longtime problem on Penghu was a “brain drain.”
The association urged the presidential candidates to recognize and address the issues that concern Penghu residents.