A government proposal for establishing autonomous rule for the nation’s Aboriginal peoples yesterday came under heavy criticism from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators, who said the proposal failed to ensure “true autonomy.”
Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Mayaw Dongi fended off comments from DPP legislators about the draft provisional act on autonomous rule for indigenous peoples (原住民族自治暫行條例) during a meeting of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee in Taipei.
“Your oyster omelet seems to be devoid of oysters,” DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said, adding that the draft act failed to provide adequate authority to the proposed new autonomous agencies.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said he failed to see why the proposed Aboriginal governments should remain under the jurisdiction of the Executive Yuan, instead of answering directly to the Presidential Office.
“An Aboriginal people’s [government] should not be classified as part of either the central government or a local government; it should be established as a separate government from the Republic of China’s administrative system altogether,” Tuan said.
Tuan added that the definition of the act as a “provisional act” was worrisome, as it indicated the government’s inclination to avoid more important reforms.
The draft proposal seeks to establish autonomous governments for each of the 16 officially recognized Aboriginal groups, as well as representatives for the 743 Aboriginal villages across the nation.
It stipulates that the 16 autonomous governments would exert authority over natural resources, cultural heritage and community-based industries within their respective autonomous districts — which remain to be announced.
The act also proposes setting up an overarching autonomous government for Aboriginal peoples, which would answer to the Council of Indigenous Peoples, an agency of the Executive Yuan.
It seeks to address the present lack of distinct political institutions for each of the 16 Aboriginal peoples, since currently the legislature’s six reserved Aboriginal seats are elected by the entire Aboriginal population nationwide.
In response, Mayaw said that, while the draft act was not perfect, it was better than nothing, as efforts to pass similar legislation since 2000 have repeatedly failed.
“We must launch it first. If we do not take action, it will remain impossible for the next 20 years,” he said, adding that more challenges lie ahead as establishing an autonomous government is unprecedented in the nation’s history.
Meanwhile, about a dozen young Aboriginal protesters rallied outside the Legislative Yuan, voicing their opposition to the proposed draft.
Indigenous Youth Front member Savungaz Valincinan, a member of the Bunun people, said the proposal was a unilateral act by the government, which failed to communicate with Aboriginal communities.
The group said the draft limited Aboriginal autonomous rule to a narrow range of administrative responsibilities, while failing to address the land rights of Aboriginal groups.
The Han Kuang exercises, the nation’s major war games, are to start today and run for five days. The drills are to include a military aircraft emergency takeoff and landing exercise on a regular roadway on Wednesday, featuring all three fighter jet models in Taiwan’s fleet, a military source said last week. The drill is to begin at 6:30am on a 3km section of Provincial Highway No. 1 in Pingtung County’s Jiadong Township (佳冬), and feature an Indigenous Defense Fighter, an F-16V, a Mirage 2000-5 and an E-2K Hawkeye early warning aircraft, the source said. The emergency landing and takeoff drill aims to
MRNA VACCINE: Heart inflammation is rare, but possible after a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shot, and students need to be aware of possible side effects, an expert said As Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations for students aged 12 to 17 are to begin on campuses on Thursday next week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged recipients to be especially watchful for five signs of possible myocarditis or pericarditis, which are rare adverse reactions to some COVID-19 vaccines. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices convener Lee Ping-ing (李秉穎) joined the CECC’s daily news briefing to report on possible side effects after receiving a BioNTech vaccine. Lee said that cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been observed in people in the US who have received mRNA COVID-19
Taiwan on Friday accused China of seeking to use the Honduran election to “create controversy” and undermine Taiwan’s long-standing ties with the country, saying it would strive to win support for Honduras’ relations with Taipei. Honduras’ main left-wing opposition party, the Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE), led by ousted former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, has said that if it wins November’s presidential election it would seek to “readjust” the country’s debt and establish diplomatic relations with China. Honduras is one of 15 UN member countries that maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has already warned Honduras not
TESTING THE WATERS: Making the considerations public a day after a Biden-Xi phone call indicates that the US is testing China’s reaction, a think tank head said A Financial Times report that the US is considering allowing Taiwan to change the name of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington to feature the name “Taiwan” highlighted Washington’s “two-pronged” approach to China, a researcher said yesterday. The report on Friday said that Washington might allow the nation to change the office’s name to “Taiwan Representative Office.” The report came after US President Joe Biden on Thursday spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) by telephone for the first time since February. A White House readout of the call said that “the two leaders discussed the responsibility of both