Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday said that he would give up his pension and privileges, and return to his position as a research fellow at Academia Sinica.
He will be the first vice president to renounce their pension and privileges.
The Act of Courtesy for Former Presidents and Vice Presidents (卸任總統副總統禮遇條例) stipulates a monthly pension of NT$180,000 (US$6,010) for a former vice president, along with a NT$4 million annual budget to pay for their security detail, chauffeur and operational costs of their office.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
However, the budget is reduced by NT$500,000 each year over a four-year period to NT$2.5 million, where it would remain.
Eschewing the pension and payments would save the nation about NT$23 million in the first four years after he leaves office.
However, as his position has made him privy to state secrets, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has ordered security to protect Chen under the Special Service Act (特種勤務條例), a source said.
“True power comes from service,” Chen wrote yesterday on Facebook, quoting Pope Francis.
Chen said that it has been his honor to serve Taiwan for four years, during which he took part in advocating for marriage equality, improving human rights and containing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chen, who led the fight against SARS from 2003 to 2004 as head of the then-Department of Health, said he is glad to see his team reuniting again to fight against COVID-19 and that Taiwanese are practicing better personal hygiene.
Quoting Mother Teresa, Chen, a devout Catholic, compared himself to a “little pencil in God’s hands,” which when broken is sharpened a little more.
It is time for the pencil to continue writing research papers and books, he said.
Asked about his advice for vice president-elect William Lai (賴清德), Chen said during a meeting with journalists at the Presidential Office in Taipei that no policy can win everyone’s support and that any politician would face both praise and criticism.
Lai is more experienced in politics and more capable than he is, Chen said, adding that he is convinced that Lai would help Tsai make Taiwan better in the next four years.
Later yesterday, Tsai on Facebook thanked Chen for his help in promoting pension reform, marriage equality, diplomatic affairs and disease prevention.
Everyone who has worked with Chen likes him for his warmth and optimism, Tsai wrote.
Academia Sinica confirmed that Chen would return to his research post at its Genomics Research Center.
The institution has prepared him an office, it said, adding that it would rely on Chen’s expertise in epidemiology and public health, to boost its related research capacity.
921 EARTHQUAKE: The magnitude 7.3 quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged The Central Weather Bureau yesterday received about 50,000 views on Facebook after it posted the data that it collected on Sept. 21, 1999, when the nation was devastated by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake. The data showed that the 921 Earthquake hit the nation at 1:47am, with the epicenter being 7km southwest of the bureau’s quake detection center in Nantou County’s Yuchi Township (魚池) at a depth of 8km. The quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged, with the cost of the damage estimated at NT$300 billion (US$10.8 billion at the current
British newspaper The Mail on Sunday reported that Prince Charles met with Bruno Wang (汪家興), a Taiwanese fugitive who describes himself as a Chinese philanthropist and donated ￡500,000 (US$683,522) to the prince’s charity, the Prince’s Foundation. The newspaper reported that Wang is wanted in Taiwan on charges related to money laundering and being a fugitive from justice, allegations he denies, and drew comparisons between Wang and the Russian banker Dmitry Leus. Investigation and cooperation with foreign authorities have found that Bruno Wang’s father, Andrew Wang (汪傳浦), had stashed proceeds from a scandal involving the procurement of Lafayette frigates in 61 bank accounts,
AT ODDS: The KMT called on the government to seek bilateral dialogue with Beijing to resolve the issue that led to the ban on custard apple and wax apple imports Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials and lawmakers yesterday condemned China’s sudden ban on imports of custard apples and wax apples from Taiwan as “obvious political retaliation,” while the opposition called for a scientific investigation into Beijing’s claim to have found pests in imports of the fruits. China earlier yesterday announced a ban on the importation of the two fruits from today, citing repeated discoveries of Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug. The announcement follows a similar ban on Taiwanese pineapples imposed in February. At least Beijing gave a few days’ notice when it banned pineapple imports, an unnamed government official said yesterday. This time
BY OTHER MEANS: China could see CPTPP membership as a means of circumventing trade restrictions imposed by the US, amid an ongoing trade dispute between them The US could invoke a clause in its trade agreement with Canada and Mexico to block China’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a government official said yesterday. Under Article 32.10 of the Exceptions and General Provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), if either Canada or Mexico enter a free-trade agreement with a nonmarket economy — such as China — the US could withdraw from the agreement. “If that clause applies to multilateral free-trade agreements such as the CPTPP — which Mexico and Canada are members of — that might be cause for the two