Mon, Apr 25, 2016 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: DPP’s oversight bill flawed, Sunflower activist says

Prominent Sunflower movement activist Lin Fei-fan said in a recent interview with Chinese-language ‘Liberty Times’ (the ‘Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) staff reporter Tzou Jiing-wen that the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) draft act on monitoring cross-strait agreements is plagued by major flaws, and called on the DPP to hold talks with New Power Party and activists to give the international community more clarity on Taiwan’s diverse opinions on the issue

Prominent Sunflower movement activist Lin Fei-fan gestures during an interview with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) on April 15.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Liberty Times (LT): You demonstrated on April 15 against the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) proposed bill. Why?

Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆): We will refrain from describing the DPP’s draft bill on monitoring cross-strait negotiations and agreements as being as bad as the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT); this must be noted. However, the DPP’s version has fallen short of the expectations set by the civic groups’ version of the draft. In particular, the DPP had not made good on its promises to the 318 movement [also known as the Sunflower movement].

On that Friday, the DPP responded with a 3,000-word statement, but without making any promise to address the six major flaws of its bill.

In the DPP’s version, it initially said “an agreement is to come into effect automatically if the legislature fails to approve the deal by the deadline.

While the DPP has since modified the wording to read: “Committee review should be completed within 90 days, and that which is not completed in the stated period, is submitted to legislative plenary session to decide,” Article 12 and Article 13 of the DPP’s draft bill still retain the rule of “reference” (bei cha, 備查), which esentially suggested the “Chang Ching-chung clause” could still be effect.

The reasoning is that under the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) and Article 61 of the Act Governing the Exercise of Legislative Power (立法院職權行使法), a cross-strait agreement that has been submitted to committee for longer than three months is considered to have completed its review.

In other words, even if the DPP’s version of the supervisory articles had been in effect two years ago [when the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement was under review], then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠) could still have rammed through the passage of the agreement in 30 seconds on the grounds that it should automatically take effect after it sat idle in the legislature for three months.

The DPP’s statement said: “With regard to the rule of reference, it applies ‘only’ to cases where agreements already implemented [which the legislature had fully reviewed] require additional supplementary negotiations, or a continuance of ongoing negotiations.”

However, after perusing the DPP bill, we find no language limiting the application of the rule of reference to some scenarios and not others. A verbal guarantee not backed by written legal code cannot be expected to have any effect in preventing future administrations from exploiting this loophole.

Not to mention that its so-called “additional supplementary negotiations, or a continuance of ongoing negotiations” involve many important matters that should still be subject to committee review, rather than reference.

The DPP’s version was also completely silent on the content of the impact evaluations, the ways in which citizens and interested parties might participate or how the legislature might review the studies.

Therefore, we demand that impact evaluation studies must take account of the following:

First, the government’s Impact Evaluation Report and Response Plan must include administrative policy, budget cases, sources of funding and supporting legislation and executive regulations that are integrated as a package and are based on the impact report’s actual statistical data and projections.

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