Sun, Jan 06, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Ma visits Penghu, defends pension program reform

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday reiterated the government’s determination to push forward with pension reforms after disputes over the reforms recently sparked concerns from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members in a forum.

Ma, who is also KMT chairman, visited Penghu County yesterday and presided over a meeting with local party delegates.

During the meeting, many delegates expressed concern about pension reform plans as the Executive Yuan is scheduled to present a pension reform proposal by the end of this month to prevent the bankruptcy of the nation’s pension funds.

“The pension issue is an unavoidable issue we need to address now,” Ma said.

“Only by making the necessary adjustments to the pension system can people in Taiwan enjoy a sustainable social benefits system,” he added.

Government statistics show that without reform, the nation’s four major pension funds will go bankrupt within two decades, with the military personnel pension program in danger of becoming insolvent in 2017, the public school teachers’ pension fund in 2027, the Public Service Pension Fund in 2028 and the Labor Insurance Fund in 2031.

The Executive Yuan and the Control Yuan are to hold 120 public forums to explain the government’s pension reform plans and gather feedback from the public before presenting a reasonable and fair pension system, he said.

Outside the forum, a group of residents from the islands organized a petition urging the government to prevent an increase in airline ticket prices.

A round-trip plane ticket to Penghu could increase 15 percent to NT$600 ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays next month, the residents said, calling on the president to freeze the price increase and ease the financial burden on local residents.

Ma acknowledged the limited transportation options to the islands, and promised to instruct the Ministry of Transportation to solve the issue and reduce infrastructural inconveniences for people living in Penghu.

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