Sat, May 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Military personnel will not leave streets

REVISIONS:Retired generals were quoted in a new statement as saying that military personnel cannot deliberately cause unrest due to their vow to protect the nation

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The Presidential Office’s pension reform committee has revised a statement that said retired military personnel protesting pension reform had agreed to leave the streets and return to the negotiating table, after the claim was rejected by retired lieutenant general Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷), one of the spokespeople for the protesters camped outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

The committee released the initial statement yesterday morning, with the title saying that a group of retired military personnel protesting the government’s pension reform proposal “decided to leave the street and return to the meeting table.”

Five retired generals, including Wu — who had been camped outside the Legislative Yuan alongside a group of protesters — on Thursday visited committee deputy convener and chief executive Lin Wan-yi (林萬億) accompanied by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator and Foreign and National Defense Committee convener Wang Ding-yu (王定宇).

Wu told the media that the statement’s title was misleading and it was “extremely inappropriate” for the committee to have reached the conclusion that the protesters agreed to leave the streets.

The committee’s action would only make communication more difficult, Wu said.

The committee later released a revised statement, removing the sentences that said the protesters would decamp.

The statement said the retired generals were “furious” over how the media, the Internet and political talk shows have been portraying military personnel, civil servants and public teachers since pension reform started.

However, the retired generals “gave credit to the Executive Yuan’s pension reform office in reiterating to the public that pension reform is for reforming the institution rather than targeting particular occupational groups,” the statement said.

It quoted the retired generals as saying that as military personnel who had vowed to protect the nation, it is not possible for them to deliberately cause social unrest, adding that they have also been assuaging a minority of “radical members.”

The retired generals said that China Unification Promotion Party Chairman Chang An-le (張安樂), the former leader of the Bamboo Union gang who is also known as the “White Wolf,” showed up at their rally uninvited, adding that they turned down Chang’s proposal to join the protest, the statement said.

Lin told the retired generals that the committee agrees that the pension system for military personnel has particularities that should not be reformed according to plans to reform the pension systems for civil servants and public teachers.

There are special considerations reserved for military personnel due to their service and special working conditions, and the committee would invite related groups for discussion before handing the draft to the Executive Yuan, the statement quoted Lin as saying, who also asked for the retired generals’ understanding in the face of public pressure on carrying out pension reform, which has high popular support.

The retired generals and Lin agreed that the committee should urge the public not to stigmatize people and promised that the Ministry of National Defense would invite retired military personnel for discussion before presenting the official version of the pension reform proposal, the statement said.

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