The Executive Yuan yesterday proposed an amendment to the Red Cross Society Act of the Republic of China (中華民國紅十字會法), with Deputy Minister of the Interior Lin Tzu-ling (林慈玲) saying that the law could be changed, but should not be abolished.
New Power Party and Democratic Progressive Party legislators proposed that the act be abolished, saying they consider it to be a remnant of the authoritarian era, granting special privileges to organization that had — until a legislative amendment in 2000 — been a “government facility” according to the regulations.
Lin said in a news conference after the Cabinet’s weekly meeting yesterday that the Red Cross Society has made great contributions in its special missions, such as rescuing and nursing wounded soldiers during wartime and participating in disaster-relief activities during peacetime.
The Red Cross Society law has its raison d’etre, but it should also be subject to review, Lin said.
According to the existing act, the president of the organization is elected by the group’s national member representatives’ congress with a term of four years and can be re-elected indefinitely.
Lin said the Ministry of the Interior has proposed an amendment to the act to impose a two-term limit.
Regulations to have the government appoint officials from finance, audit and budget, accounting and statistics agencies as the organization’s supervisors would also be scrapped, Lin said.
While the Red Cross Society has been criticized over exemptions from regulations governing donations, Lin said that the group has always adhered to the Charity Donations Destined for Social Welfare Funds Implementation Regulations (公益勸募條例), which all charity organizations are subject to.
In a bid to alleviate concerns, the proposed amendment would stipulate that the organization’s donation soliciting activities would have to conform to the existing regulations, Lin said.
The group would have to gain approval from the government before asking for donations, she added.
“However, since the Red Cross Society has special missions, the proposed rule changes would allow it to conduct donation-soliciting activities in emergency situations without prior government approval, provided that it applies for government acknowledgment within five days of the launch of its activities,” the deputy minister said.
Lin said that the Red Cross Society has had its financial statements certified by accountants since 2011.
The proposed amendment would require the group to certify financial statements and submit them to the government for reference purposes, she added.
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