The downside to the nation’s electoral system is the limit it sets on the terms a government official is allowed to serve, which hinders long-term policymaking, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.
Ko was responding to questions by reporters about the city government’s funding of the “2050 Vision Platform” aimed at fine-tuning the city’s urban renewal projects until 2050, which, according to New Party Taipei City Councilor Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯), would cost the city government NT$15 million (US$456,620) over the next two years.
Since the platform is to be financed by the city government, Chen on Wednesday asked officials of the Taipei Department of Budget, Accounting and Statistics why the city government had not proposed a budget for the platform.
He added that as the funds do not need to be approved by the city council, the capital used for the project could evade city councilors’ scrutiny.
Speaking in defense of the project, Ko referred to a report on how city funding is spent and how such reports are submitted to the city council.
The funds would still be subject to the council’s scrutiny, he added.
“So long as an expenditure is monitored, does it matter which category it is listed under?” he said.
Asked to comment on criticism about the long timeframe set for the platform’s operation, Ko said: “To date, the government has not learned to plan ahead. I think that setting a cap on the number of terms government officials has had a damaging effect on Taiwanese politics, in that no one is willing to make long-term plans.”
“As a result, politicians in their first term start scheming for their second term and then move on to their next career plan. Very few people think in terms of 30 or 40 years,” he said.
Ko said that municipal policies during the Japanese colonial era were much more comprehensive and sustainable — unlike regional policymaking today.
“I think it is something Taiwanese politicians should reflect and work on,” he said.
RISK FACTORS: ‘We hope people can cooperate and endure it ... it is possibly the very important last mile,’ Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations are to remain the same next month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The center reported 42,112 new local COVID-19 cases and 85 deaths, saying that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has dropped to a new low this month. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said that the center is keeping COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations the same due to the local virus situation, and an increase in the number of imported cases of the new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 of SARS-CoV-2, among other risk factors. Easing
TRAVEL CONFERENCE: Representatives from the two countries exchanged views on how to increase tourist numbers, with one identifying individual travel as a trend Taiwan and South Korea aim to increase the number of tourists traveling between the two countries to 3 million, government and tourism industry representatives said at a conference in Hsinchu City yesterday. The annual event was attended by Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯); Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰); Taiwan Visitors Association chairwoman Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭); South Korean Representative to Taiwan Chung Byung-won; Yoon Ji-sook, an official at the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; and Korea Association of Travel Agents chairman Oh Chang-hee. Global tourism is expected to soon rebound to between 55 and
DAMAGE CONTROL: The KMT in a statement called the Taiwan Strait ‘international waters,’ after Alexander Huang said China had the right to claim it as internal waters Lawmakers and experts yesterday accused the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) envoy to the US Alexander Huang (黃介正) of acting as China’s stooge, after he said that Beijing has the right to claim waters beyond its maritime territory as its exclusive economic zone and that the US has no legal basis to assert that the Taiwan Strait is an “international waterway.” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said in an online post that most of the world considers the Strait an international waterway, adding that this is important for safeguarding Taiwan. “We have seen US warships transiting through the Taiwan Strait.
The Taichung District Court yesterday sentenced to nine years in prison an unlicensed judo coach who caused the death of a seven-year-old student after slamming him onto the ground more than a dozen times. In its decision against the coach, a man surnamed Ho (何), the court cited his lack of remorse for using excessive force against an inadequately trained child and his failure to reconcile with the parents for his role in their son’s death. Speaking on behalf of the boy’s mother, Taichung City Councilor Jacky Chen (陳清龍) said the family would appeal to a higher court. Prosecutors said that Ho on