DPP lawmaker clarifies his office's gift-soliciting activity
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- A legislator of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) acknowledged yesterday that his office has asked unspecified government agencies to donate presents, but he also clarified that the solicited gifts are to be distributed to low-income people.
September 9, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
Local media reported that DPP Legislator Pasuya Wen-zhi Yao (姚文智) wrote soliciting letters to public offices and requested them to contribute products, including electrical appliances, as gifts to be given to financially disadvantaged residents in his constituencies.
The presents will be distributed at events observing the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival, aka Moon Festival, on Sept. 19.
The move was criticized by some civic organizations, which blasted Yao's act as “shameful and disgraceful.”
The criticisms prompted Yao, who once served as the chief of the now-defunct Government Information Office (GIO), to issue a formal statement yesterday.
Yao said that he was personally unaware of the gift-soliciting effort mounted by his assistants.
But he defended his assistants for making the move out of good will because the gifts will be distributed to financially underprivileged people in his communities via public raffles.
Yao made it clear that all the presents given by the government agencies will be passed on to the people in the names of these contributors to help enhance the rapport between the government and the people.
He also clarified that he will not use the name of “Yao Wen-zhi Office” as gift giver to get credit or any personal gain, as had been suggested by civic groups.
Yao conceded that there could be certain “defects” in the contents of the solicitation letters issued by his assistants to various government offices.
But the deficiency should have not reached the extent of being “disgraceful” as described by some local media, he asserted.
Yao expressed his regrets for causing the misunderstandings but he declined interviews sought by reporters.
Soliciting cost-free gifts from government agencies by elected officials at all levels, especially legislators, remains a common practice in Taiwan as they possess various ways to exert pressure on the public agencies, including endorsing or rejecting their budget programs.