The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday blasted New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), saying that the mayor’s inaction over the “En En case” was a move to shield New Taipei City Department of Health Director Chen Jun-chiu (陳潤秋).
The controversy is over the April 19 death of a two-year-old boy known as “En En” (恩恩). The child’s father said that the “119” hotline allegedly took too long — 81 minutes — to respond to his call for help.
It was the nation’s first death of a child resulting from COVID-19.
In a statement earlier yesterday, Hou said he felt the pain of En En’s parents, and that he would reflect on the incident and accept full responsibility.
DPP caucus secretary-general Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) said in a news release that the city’s Department of Health had on June 10 said it was “unable to provide a voice recording” of the call.
Chen Ou-po called Chen Jun-chiu’s response a cover-up, saying that Hou’s statement yesterday of “taking responsibility” was equally meaningless as he had not even apologized for the incident.
Hou’s response is not as humble as it seems given the information that has come to light, DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said, adding that since En En’s death, Hou’s image has been that of the cold, formulaic bureaucrat, citing judicial prosecution and demonstrating a total lack of empathy.
“Hou’s comments today still lack the one thing the child’s parents and the public wish to hear: an apology,” Lo said.
Hou is not protecting the hotline operators, but Chen Jun-chiu, a favored civil servant who has yet to face the issue, Lo added.
DPP Legislator Michelle Lin (林楚茵), deputy secretary-general of the caucus, said online polls had found that 66 percent of respondents felt Hou should take responsibility for the entire incident, while 6.3 percent said the city’s health department should and 0.2 percent said the New Taipei City Fire Department should.
Hou and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have kept politicizing the incident, Lin said.
“The incident has never been about politics, but about a person’s life,” she added.
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