DPP curbs Kaohsiung disaster relief review

By Enru Lin ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Opposition party lawmakers yesterday used a 1.5-hour filibuster to halt a review of relief distribution to victims of the July 31 gas-pipe explosions in Greater Kaohsiung. In the Legislature’s Finance Committee, Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Lin Teh-fu (�L�w��) convened a review of donations distribution, one month before the Greater Kaohsiung government is legally required to submit its accounts. Lin claimed that the local government had disbursed money donated for disaster relief as political gifts. Citing data provided by the National Audit Office (�f�p��), Lin said that before the 9-in-1 local election, 28,000 households in 27 Greater Kaohsiung boroughs had received NT$6,000 each, for a total of nearly NT$170 million. ��Even boroughs that were not hit by the disaster received money,�� he said. On Aug. 1, deadly explosions caused by a gas leak killed at least 32 people and injured over 321 in Greater Kaohsiung. Flooding and related damages hit 19 boroughs, eight in Lingya District and 11 in Cianjhen District, the local government reported in the aftermath. As of Jan. 6, the Greater Kaohsiung government has received over NT$4.53 billion in donations for disaster relief, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare (�úֳ�). Premature Review: DPP Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers lined up yesterday to filibuster the committee review, which broke down before noon. DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (�d����), first to speak at the lectern, called the distribution review premature. Relevant governmental agencies are to hand over reports to supervisory authorities within two months’ time after the end of each fiscal year, Wu said, citing Article 6 of the Charity Donations Destined for Social Welfare Funds Implementation Regulations (���q�U�ұ���). Demanding an account in January, one month after the 2014 fiscal year, is inconsistent with the regulations, he said. Wu added that the phrasing of the docket item �X ��Is there Inappropriate Distribution? (���L�ݵo)�� �X reflects a preset judgment. DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (������) said that Lin’s jurisdiction does not encompass matters related to Greater Kaohsiung donation distribution. Chen said the supervisory authority in this case is the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which means that related issues should be handled by the Legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee (���ֽ����e���|).

Review Shuts Down Chao Tien-lin (������), Kuan Bi-ling (�޺Ѭ�), Chiu Yi-ying(��ij��) and other DPP lawmakers also filibustered at the lectern. Around 10 a.m., the Finance Committee broke for recess without moving on the review. After a 50-minute break, Lin announced the removal of the item from the day’s agenda, but said that lawmakers would have ��nothing to fear�� if the accounts were clean.