Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - Page 3 News List

MND pulls military housing bill amid critique

By Wang Pei-lin and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) recently withdrew a draft bill aiming to limit the sale of housing units converted from old military dependents’ villages to military officers in active service, amid growing criticism of the proposal’s favoring of active military personnel.

“The ministry wrote to the Legislative Yuan recently to retract the draft bill governing the distribution of units in reconstructed military dependent’s villages (國軍老舊眷村零星餘戶處理辦法), which is marked as ‘under review’ by the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] caucus,” ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said yesterday.

Lo said the ministry would make some amendments to the draft before re-submitting it to the legislature by June 30.

Under the proposed regulations, housing units built on the land of a military dependent’s village through either a private urban renewal project or a government-initiated joint development plan that are distributed to the ministry would be designated “leftover units” and would be reserved for active military personnel to buy.

After being tendered to the legislature, the draft has been scrutinized by the DPP caucus, which called the proposal an underhanded effort by the ministry to benefit military officers.

The DPP caucus says that under the draft bill, military personnel would be able to rake in huge profits from the substantial difference between the below-market price of the houses they are sold and the actual market prices of the properties if the units are in prime locations.

To uphold the principle of equality and increase enlistment incentives ahead of the future implementation of an all-volunteer military, the DPP caucus requested an amendment be made to the proposed bill to either preserve such housing as military dormitories, or entrust some units to the National Property Administration for public auction.

The DPP caucus, which plans to place the bill on the legislative agenda for review on Dec. 27, said it did not rule out scrapping regulations that allow land from old dependents’ villages to be used for urban renewal projects and state development plans.

Meanwhile, Control Yuan member Hung Chao-nan (洪昭男) said that because the draft could give handsome profits to military personnel, he would launch a review to ascertain if the draft goes beyond the legal bounds stipulated by the Act for Rebuilding Old Quarters for Military Dependents (國軍老舊眷村改建條例).

When asked if only housing units in prime locations would be sold via public bidding or preserved as military dormitories, the ministry said it would hold deliberations with concerned parties to make the necessary changes to the draft bill.

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