PSPD People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
PSPD English Newsletter, September 2016
- 2016.09.20 (10:16:43)
This month of the PSPD
It was exceptionally hot this summer. You have gone through the difficult time in August and I hope you also spend the late summer with wisdom. Although it was very hard to work during the August, PSPD hadn’t stopped its activities cheering up each other. Stepping forward with supports and wisdom of citizens, we believe that the better society would be waiting for us.
Regarding the law to prohibit asking unjust favors (Kim Young-ran Act),
PSPD has tried to stop the attempts to lower down bribery standard.
Having the enforcement of the law to prohibit asking unjust favors and bribery around the corner, there are attempts to ease bribery standard. They demand to raise the upper limit ₩30,000 for meal treats, ₩50,000 for gifts and ₩100,000 for cash contribution for congratulation or condolence which public servants can receive from work-related. PSPD surely disagree with it. Regarding the suggestion of Woo Sang-ho, a lawmaker of the Minju Party to increase the limit, PSPD released a statement criticizing the suggestion on 2 August. It also denounced a resolution to ease the standards made by the Agriculture, Dairy, food, Maritime and Fishery Committee of the National Assembly on 8 August. Successively on 12 August, it submitted a letter of opinion to the Office for Government Policy Coordination urging to sustain standards (₩30,000 for meal treats, ₩50,000 for gifts and ₩100,000 for cash contribution) presented by the Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission when reviewing the enforcement of ordinance for the Cabinet Council to make a final decision.
In the letter, PSPD insisted that worrying about economic contraction was exaggerated and stressed out that standards for corruptions and bribery should not be eased even though some damages could follow. Restrictions commonly agreed by most of the people should not be changed.
Investigation bureau for corruptions of high-level officials should be set up and Directors of the Prosecutors need to be elected by residents
In a short time, the Ministry of Justice must be reformed which prosecutors have the control over and an investigation bureau for high-level officials needs to be established. In the long term, PSPD suggests to elect directors of regional prosecutor offices by residents themselves.
A forum <Searching for a measure to make people’s prosecutors – suggesting direct election for directors of prosecutors’ office by residents> was held on 17 August. It proposed to have residents to elect 18 heads of regional prosecutor offices by their hands in the same way of electing education superintendents. It is to break the vertical structure from president, justice minister, chief prosecutor and down to 18 directors of regional prosecutor offices. In other words, directors who are responsible for investigations do not have to care about opinions of superiors and their promotions but residents. This system is one of democracy movement to decentralize the power of the president and give an authority to the people. It would also help changing the political prosecutors to people’s prosecutors. Furthermore, it complies with independent regional governing and distribution of powers.
In order for the reform of prosecutors, PSPD will firstly concentrate on set-up of an investigation bureau and continue the movement to adopt direct election system for heads of regional prosecutor offices in the long run.
Presented agenda for ‘West Annex meeting’ hearing on Daewoo Shipbuilding and Maritime restructuring
What would be the solution for insolvent Daewoo Shipbuilding and Maritime? How about jobs for shipbuilding workers? Even though they were very important tasks, major government officers so called West Annex meeting participants had decided to aid the Daewoo with 4,200 billion won from a public bank, the Korea Development Bank but the financial situation became worse. It is necessary to restructure insolvent companies but it is also very important to clarify where the responsibility lies so that the same mistakes do not repeat. Therefore, floor leaders of three big parties have agreed on 12 August to hold a hearing <To find the reasons and responsibilities of insolvent Shipbuilding and Maritime Industry>.
PSPD has listed 12 problems in 5 areas to clarify at the hearing on 19 August and the major are as follow. △ True face and illegality of West Annex meeting △ Negligence of the Korea Development Bank regarding liability review and management of the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Maritime △ Poor inspection of the authority. △ Window dressing accounting and false auditing of the accounting firm.
There are difficulties in proceeding of this hearing since adoption of witness such as Choi Kyung-hwan, a former deputy prime minister for economy and Ahn Jong-beom chief secretary for economy have not been confirmed. PSPD will try to make this hearing which the National Assembly can check and correct the government.
Investigate if the government inspects violation of the minimum wage properly
The society has paid more attention on importance of the minimum wage for the last few years. It is encouraging phenomenon to PSPD since it has participated in raising minimum wage movement for a long time. However, it is also required to check if employers comply with the standard and the government promotes and inspects employers to obey. For some cases, employers need to be punished for violation.
PSPD has presented <Report on the Minimum Wage Act – the results of labor inspection in 2015> on 10 August. It is confirmed that reported violation of paying wages below the minimum wage (violation of Article 6) has increased triple from 754 to 2000 cases between 2012 and 2015. Measures and inspections of the Ministry of Labor and Employment haven’t been taken enough to control them. You may find details in the blog of the Labor and Society Committee of PSPD website.
Refuted arguments of the government on THAAD deployment,
‘People’s action to stop THAAD in Korea’ established
PSPD has published an issue report <Refuting 12 false arguments of the government on THAAD deployment> on 1 August. Following the card news ‘Is it something to eat or wear? What’s the problem with THAAD?’ made in March last year to make people easily understand and ‘THAAD, a trouble maker’ released in February, it provides very useful information to citizens who want to know about THAAD issue better.
It thoroughly explains 12 incorrect arguments of the government including △ THAAD deployment is not a participation of Missile Defense of the US △ THAAD is to watch North Korea and neither the China nor Russia △ Do not need to worry about concerns of neighboring countries △ THAAD has a high interception rate △ Further than 100 meters from the radar is safe △ Seongju is the best location in terms of environment, health and security △ Consents of the National Assembly and residents are not required for THAAD deployment △ There will be no direct or indirect expenses required including a share of defense.
On the other hands, PSPD has initiated discussions with social organizations to set up a joint action after THAAD was decided to be deployed in Seongju thus ‘People’s action to stop THAAD deployment in Korea’ has been established on 17 August. PSPD will do its best until THAAD decision gets withdrawn.
Appealed for legislation of ‘Punitive damage compensation’
The humidifier sanitizer tragedy has made the people to think that punitive damage compensation is necessary for corporates which incur damages and injuries to the life and the body of the people on purpose. PSPD has insisted its adoption for more than 10 years and appealed to the National Assembly to legislate 「Punitive Damage Compensation」on 10 August. Opposition party members have drafted a bill to levy compensation between triple and five times of actual damage but what PSPD has suggested is different as below.
△ Compensation up to triple of actual damage for illegal activities which are highly criticized by the public such as product defaults, illegal discharge of pollutions and bad food △ Punitive damage compensation with no upper limit in order to stop reoccurrences of damaging the life and the body by serious mistakes or faults on purpose.
A public hearing was held with experts on 17 August at the National Assembly after submission of the appeal for legislation. Before interest of society diminishes, PSPD will try its best for the National Assembly to pass it.
Provide aid to 15 whistle blowers who have fallen in difficulties in living.
PSPD has started to help 15 whistle blowers who have difficulties in living because of whistle blowing with 170 million won for 6 months from August. It has acknowledged it since the establishment that whistle blowers take very important role in making corruption-free society. Therefore, it has carried out activities for whistle blowers including the whistle blower’s night and righteous citizen awards which is held every year since 2010. Furthermore, it has planned ‘Co-living project’ to help people who have difficulties in living from unemployment or contract termination after whistle blowing.
PSPD received applications of whistle blowers from end May to 9 July and they were reviewed by a Jury committee composed of internal and external experts. As a result, the decision was made at the end of July to aid 15 whistle blowers for living cost from one to two million won per month for 6 months according to their circumstances. The first subsidy was paid on 4 August. All 15 people receive psychological treatment at the Institute for Medical and Human rights and 5 get legal support from the Minbyun.
Corruptions revealed by them are as follow; violation of safety regulation by public organizations (5), private school embezzlement (3), defective construction (2), embezzlement of government subsidy (2), bribery of high-level officials and power abuse (2), and rebate of supplier to large conglomerate (1).