Fri, May 11, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Military pension reform passes initial reading

AMENDMENTS:The DPP’s Ker Chien-ming said that a second and third reading of the bill would be arranged in line with plans for them to take effect on July 1

By Tseng Wei-chen and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Legislative Yuan’s Foreign and National Defense Committee yesterday passed an initial review of draft amendments to the Act of Military Service for Officers and Noncommissioned Officers of the Armed Forces (陸海空軍軍官士官服役條例).

The passage came after 20 hours of clause-by-clause review on Wednesday and yesterday amid protests by veterans opposing reform outside.

Military personnel who have served for at least 20 years would be entitled to a monthly pension that is 55 percent of two times their salary and the percentage would increase by 2 percent for each additional year of service over 20 years up to a maximum of 90 percent for officers and 95 percent for noncommissioned officers, according to the draft amendments.

The minimum monthly pension for retired military personnel is to be NT$38,990, according to the draft amendments.

Retired military personnel with a monthly pension lower than NT$38,990 — the new pension floor set by the amendments — would not be affected by the cuts.

Toward the end of the initial review, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators raised banners and shouted: “Enact [the draft amendments] for current military personnel first and postpone them for retired military personnel.”

“The Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] caucus has continuously communicated and coordinated [with others] and given in where it can,” DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

The DPP caucus knows that the KMT caucus wants to create opposition and conflict, but it has nonetheless allowed KMT lawmakers to express their opinions, Ker said.

Some details in the bill might be adjusted, but its general direction has been set, he added.

Interim meetings are to be held to finish the second and third readings of the draft amendments, he said, adding that the procedure would not be rushed to allow the proposed changes to take effect on July 1 as planned.

Veterans’ group 800 Heroes said in a statement last night that the government has completely ignored the wishes of veterans to not retroactively apply pension reform to retirees and has abandoned its promise to them.

The group will end their 444-day protest in their camp outside the legislature to prepare for another long-term fight to oppose the planned pension reform, it said.

Next week, it will convene meetings to decide its next step, which might include more mass protests, it added.

The group will continue to organize frequent protests at different locations to fight for the justice and fairness they deserve, it said.

Additional reporting by Ann Maxon

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