MORAKOT: THE AFTERMATH: KMT planning to legalize army’s disaster relief role

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Aug 25, 2009 - Page 3

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said yesterday it was studying the possibility of drafting a decree on the role of the armed forces in disaster relief in the wake of Typhoon Morakot and submitting it as a priority bill to the legislature.

KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said that since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had expressed the hope that the military would include disaster prevention in its mandate, he has instructed the party’s Policy Committee and think tank to draw up a draft bill to regulate the armed forces’ participation in disaster relief and make such participation more effective.

KMT caucus whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) said he believed the legislature would pass the bill if both the ruling and opposition parties reached a consensus.

During their weekly luncheon with Ma, Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) and KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) yesterday, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) discussed the Executive Yuan’s draft post-Morakot reconstruction bill, which the legislature will begin reviewing in a special session this afternoon.

Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said Wang and Liu had discussed the content of the bill and amount of the special budget needed for reconstruction.

The Executive Yuan has proposed to a budget of NT$100 billion (US$3.12 billion), while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has suggested NT$200 billion.

Wang Yu-chi said the luncheon participants thought the eight-year, NT$80 billion water management project authorized by the former DPP government was effective in addressing the problems caused by rivers under the jurisdiction of local governments. However, the money for the rivers managed by the central government was not enough and needed to be boosted.