Tue, May 16, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Group protests forward-looking program’s passage

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff Reporter

National Chengchi University professor Hsu Shih-jung, second left, accompanied by members of civic groups, attends a news conference in Taipei yesterday criticizing the Democratic Progressive Party’s handling of the passage of the first review of its Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

A group of people yesterday protested the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program’s passage through a legislative committee, and accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of ignoring the public’s concerns and avoiding a substantial review of the program.

“We cannot accept the crude and violent way in which [the program] was passed today,” National Chengchi University land economics professor Hsu Shih-jung (徐世榮) said, leading about a dozen protesters in pounding their fists on a table outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei in reference to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) election campaign pledge that people could “slam their fist on the desk” if her government failed to listen to their concerns.

The program passed committee review in a tumultuous session that followed weeks of boycotts by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Chen Chih-hsiao (陳致曉) — who leads a self-help association opposed to the Tainan railway grade separation project, which would be funded by the program — led protestors in throwing golden joss paper at the Legislative Yuan building to symbolize the program’s wastefulness.

“Since they love money so much, we will give it to them,” he said, condemning the “violent railroading” of the program through the committee.

“They have given up pretenses and are making a show of force,” he said and accused the DPP of ignoring the concerns of civil society.

Protesters have periodically camped outside the Legislative Yuan compound throughout committee review and have conducted a mock filibuster by reading articles opposed to the program.

Economic Democracy Union spokesman Hsu Po-jen (許博任) said the program’s passage was akin to “painting a target after shooting the arrow.”

People opposed to the program has said that it needs to undergo “meaningful review.”

“How can it be reasonable for funds to be tied down in this manner? What happens if the projects end up failing evaluation and review?” he said, adding that civic groups intend to formulate and present an alternative proposal before an extraordinary legislative session in July, when the government’s plan is expected to obtain final passage.

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