Members of the Taiwan Algae Reef Reservation Alliance and opposition party lawmakers yesterday accused CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) of using its public relations spending to mobilize people to attend Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) rallies on next month’s referendums.
On the ballot in the Dec. 18 referendum will be questions related to banning the importation of pork containing traces of the leanness-enhancing additive ractopamine, relocating a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal project to protect algal reefs off Taoyuan’s Guanyin District (觀音), activating the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) and holding referendums alongside elections.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
Taiwan People’s Party Legislator Tsai Pi-ru (蔡壁如) said that CPC budgets NT$600 million to NT$800 million (US$21.58 million to US$28.78 million) per year to maintain the company’s “neighborly image” in the community, which should be used to fulfill its social responsibility and promote education on environmental protection.
Instead, the company has become a broker for the ruling party by using government funds to mobilize people to attend Su’s rallies, she said.
At the rallies hosted by the Democratic Progressive Party, the public was urged to vote “no” on all four referendum questions.
Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association chairman Chen Hsien-cheng (陳憲政) said that CPC is an example of how a state-run corporation can deviate from the principle of administrative neutrality.
“The company manipulates voters with misinformation. This is shameful for a democracy,” environmentalist Pan Chong-cheng (潘忠政) said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said that the state-run corporation ran advertisements at its gas stations urging people to vote “no” on all four referendums.
The company did not take the ads down until the KMT’s legislative caucus complained, he added.
New Power Party Chairwoman Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) decried the contradictory logic used by government officials.
“The Ministry of Economic Affairs claimed that the nation would need to burn an additional 5 million tonnes of coal for electricity if the LNG terminal is suspended, but recently, it said that as an alternative, it would build the terminal at a site that is 1.2km offshore, which would delay the construction by two-and-a-half years — however, it would not have to burn coal for additional electricity,” she said.
“We want to ask why it would have to burn coal if the activists’ plan is adopted, but not if its alternative plan is adopted,” she said.
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