Thirty-three out of 64 aboriginal settlements around the country have been determined by experts as unsafe and will probably have to be relocated, President Ma Ying-jeou said Tuesday.Read that last sentence. The two experts didn't actually visit any of the sites. It's been three months now -- heck, I've visited that many aboriginal villages by bike in the last three months. However, Chen Hung-yu (
"We are working on plans to keep the aboriginal settlements at their original sites as much as possible, but if relocation is the only option, we hope the people living in these settlements will defer to the government's judgment," he said.
Aware that the residents of these settlements would rather rebuild their homes at their original sites, the president said safety should be the top consideration and urged people to look at the issue rationally.
"The government will find proper locations to rebuild settlements for these people," he said.
Citing a study by Chen Hung-yu, a geology professor, and Lin Ming-lang, a civil engineering professor, both at National Taiwan University, Ma said other 10 settlements are considered "safe with conditions," with the remaining 21 declared safe.
He said the two experts based their findings on aerial photos, topographic maps and satellite photos of the settlements.
In a post on the Ma Administration shock doctrine I pointed to a Taiwan News editorial that slammed the government for the new legislation rammed through after the typhoon. For years many aboriginal communities in the mountains have been a thorn in the side of developers, asking for more money, or protesting against projects. The new act gives the government the authority to order the aborigines to move, exempts the government from having to consider the environment, national parklands, or similar, and puts a commission composed of the government and large development corporations in charge of the project. Read the whole post, it is quite informative. Here were seeing the first fruits of the new law -- just in time for elections.
Note that during the Chen Administration the Chen government moved to give the aborigines greater autonomy and to pass new laws, sadly much ignored in practice by both of the major parties.
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