MOI against potential national day off for Armed Forces Day
Lawmakers yesterday passed a preliminary review of a draft amendment that stipulates all R.O.C. nationals can have a day off on Sept. 3, Taiwan’s Armed Forces Day, to commemorate and remember the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.
The amendment to the National Defense Act ( ), which added a new clause to give an extra day off to all Taiwanese nationals on Sept. 3, was passed during the Legislature’s National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee session yesterday.
The draft amendment still needs to clear the legislative floor and be signed by the president before taking effect.
Speaking during the committee meeting yesterday, ruling Kuomintang ( KMT) lawmaker Lin Yu-fang ( ), the initiator of the draft amendment, said that currently only soldiers can enjoy a day off on Sept. 3.
He believes that most Taiwanese people are indifference toward Armed Forces Day partially because they do not enjoy an extra day off.
To better honor military personnel as well as commemorate those who died defending the country, Lin proposed making Armed Forces Day a national holiday where every national will take a day off.
He believes the move can help to elevate the social status of soldiers and make them feel a stronger sense of honor, which could also help to promote the nation’s ongoing transformation from the existing conscription system to a full voluntary force.
Though representatives from the Ministry of the Interior ( MOI) responsible for arranging national holidays expressed a different view during the same committee session yesterday, the KMT’s Chan Kai-chin ( ) convener of the session, still announced the draft amendment’s passage.
Meanwhile, asked to comment on the bill, MOI Director of Civil Affairs Lin Ching-chi ( ) yesterday told local media that the latest amendment could violate a previous Legislative Yuan resolution that imposed a maximum cap on the number of days off in a year.
According to the resolution passed by lawmakers in 2000, the number of days off in a year cannot exceed 116 days, Lin said.
The MOI has already announced that there will be 116 days off in 2016. Another day off on Armed Forces Day in 2016 would violate the resolution, he added.
He called on lawmakers to reconsider the draft amendment, adding that one does not need an extra day off on Armed Forces Day to show respect to soldiers.