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Gov't must halt meeting, boost relief: Tsai

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday called for the Legislature to pause its interim meeting and for the government to focus solely on the relief work that follows the Kaohsiung explosions, as there are still 45 people in intensive care.

Tsai made the remarks at the DPP's Central Standing Committee meeting, also stating that the central and local governments should collaborate as one and that pan-blues and greens should not be divided on the issue of reconstruction expenses.

The party wishes to relay its support to the Kaohsiung City Government and to all the rescue teams, said DPP Spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲).

“We wish to pay our highest respect to Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), who has not rested or slept due to her determination to put the city back together ... and to the police, firemen and volunteers who have been helping out,” said Tsai.

Tsai called upon the Ma administration to work with the Kaohsiung government in the latter's relief work efforts. “The central government should allocate a special budget for emergency needs like the (Kaohsiung explosions), instead of delaying the rescue and recovery work due to grudges between the blues and greens,” said Tsai.

Heavy industry-related developments should be reconsidered in terms of Taiwan's long-term economic development, including the efficiency of disaster prevention, disaster relief and regulations concerning the layout of underground pipelines, said Tsai.

The Kaohsiung explosions did not occur accidentally, said Tsai. “It happened because of the lack of sustainable development, public safety precautions and well-rounded planning ... the central government is responsible for pinpointing the policies and inspecting these policies; the local government and the citizens should not be taking the brunt of the responsibility.”

DPP Councilors Protest at LCY Chemicals

Several of Kaohsiung City Council's DPP councilors yesterday headed to the LCY Chemical Co. (LCY, 李長榮化學工業) factory to protest against the company's supposed role behind the gas explosions in Kaohsiung City last Thursday.

Also leading a group of Kaohsiung residents, the councilors protested against the reconstruction of the company's underground pipelines.

DPP Accepts Cabinet Stance: Legislative Speaker

Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said yesterday that the DPP has accepted the Cabinet's stance regarding reconstruction funding in the aftermath of the Kaohsiung explosions, indicating that the DPP supposedly accepted that the central government would not be funding these fees before the Kaohsiung government ran out of its own emergency funds and budgets, while Chen seemed to wish otherwise.

However, DPP caucus member Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) stated that the DPP “is not opposed to the Executive Yuan taking NT$1.9 billion out of its NT$40 billion emergency relief budget, but still hopes for the Cabinet to prevent similar challenges from happening in the future.”

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