Kaohsiung mayor calls for gov't funds
By Katherine Wei ,The China Post
August 6, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) yesterday implored the central government to allocate a budget for the city's disaster relief after the large-scale explosions that blew up several streets in the southern city last week.
Chen made the remarks after the Executive Yuan spokesman said that the Kaohsiung government should use its own emergency funds, annual budgets and donations before asking the central government for assistance. If the said funds are exhausted, the central government will then chip in, said Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群).
"The city's petrochemical industry produces a profit of NT$500 billion each year, and NT$110 billion is turned over to the central government, and when Kaohsiung is in crisis, the central government is not (financially supportive) ... What is expected of the citizens of Kaohsiung?" Chen asked.
Chen also noted that the Kaohsiung City Government will be taking responsibility for the explosions that tore up the city without question. The remarks were allegedly made in response to her predecessor and incumbent Vice President Wu Den-yi (吳敦義), who had previously pointed out that the Kaohsiung government should take responsibility for the happenings.
"Kaohsiung is a city dedicated to heavy industry, and the city government is ready to take full responsibility. Regarding the so-called comments of many among the central government ... we have nothing to say. We will take responsibility," said Chen.
Dangerous Pipelines Never to Be Used Again: Chen
Chen also stated that the petrochemical pipelines that caused the explosions, and those located near the explosion sites, will not be reconstructed and put to use in the future again.
Opposition Lawmakers Slam Jiang for 'Cold-bloodedness'
Eight of the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) legislators yesterday slammed Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) for being "cold-blooded" when he reportedly refused to provide financial backup for Kaohsiung's relief work immediately.
All eight lawmakers represented different districts in the city, and criticized Jiang for not examining the city's pleas before rejecting them flatly. Local media outlets reported that the premier stated on Monday that the Executive Yuan would not be allocating a budget for the reconstruction efforts in Kaohsiung; no law will be established regarding the country's underground pipelines and no special commission will be formed to aid the reconstruction. All of the above-mentioned statements are "unfeeling and cold-blooded," said the lawmakers, although the Cabinet later denied the accusations.
Death Toll at 30
The death toll of the explosions has reached 30 as of press time yesterday, as the two missing firemen were reported to be deceased by the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office.
The two men's co-workers held a simple memorial service at the site of the explosions yesterday, also stating that the search for their colleagues will not stop.
(Related stories on page 16)