PSPD in English Newsletter 2023-05-31   4555

This Month at PSPD, May 2023

50,000 Came Together for Truth, Now the National Assembly to Act

'10.29 진실버스’가 대구를 방문한 날 국민동의청원이 성공하자 감사의 인증샷을 찍고있는 유가족들 2023.4.3.

April 5th marked the 159th day since the tragic Itaewon incident on October 29th. On that day, despite the rain, a commemorative event was held in front of the Seoul Plaza Funeral Hall. The 10.29 Truth Bus, which had been traveling across the country to promote establishing an independent body to investigate the truth behind the incident, also returned to Seoul after ten days. Starting from Seoul on March 27th, the Truth Bus visited 13 cities, including Incheon, Cheongju, Jeonju, Jeongeup, Gwangju, Changwon, Busan, Jinju, Jeju, Daegu, Daejeon, and Suwon, appealing to the citizens for the enactment of a special law.

When the Truth Bus visited Daegu, on April 3rd, it successfully collected the required 50,000 signatures for a petition to the National Assembly, urging the enactment of the special law. This was a crucial moment for the bereaved families to take another step forward. On April 20th, the four major political parties, including the Democratic Party, the Justice Party, the Basic Income Party, and the Progressive Party, jointly proposed the Itaewon Tragedy Investigation Special Bill. After the bereaved families personally visited each member of the National Assembly to make their desperate plea, 183 members of the National Assembly put their names on the bill.

Now, the National Assembly must take action. Both the ruling party and the opposition party have an equal responsibility to prevent human disasters and must work together to create a safe society. To uncover the truth behind the failure of national disaster management throughout all stages of prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery, and to establish disaster prevention strategies, it is necessary to enact a special law. The PSPD will continue to urge the National Assembly to cooperate and enact the law.

Urgent Action Needed to Protect Rental Fraud Victims

2023.04.11. PM 7:00 전세사기 피해자 합동 추모제 "생색내기 대책은 그만! 정부가 나서야 해결된다!”
ⓒ 전세사기·깡통전세 시민사회대책위원회

Following the tragic death of a rental fraud victim in Incheon’s Michuhol district in late February, two more victims from the same district passed away on April 14th and 17th. President Yoon Suk-yeol has ignored the demands of the victims and civil organizations to take measures to prevent further rental fraud incidents. His delayed order to suspend and postpone property auctions has proven to be ineffective, as the auctioning of properties is still ongoing. The People’s Committee for Resolving Rental Fraud and Empty Deposit Issue and the National Committee for Rental Fraud and Empty Deposit Victims, held a joint press conference on April 21st, demanding the judicial authority to halt auctions of rental fraud properties. Our thoughts and condolences are with the victims and their families.

Demanding Cost Transparency for Overpriced 5G Plans

Although it has been four years since the commercialization of 5G services, the quality of service has not improved, and the pricing plans remain unreasonably high. In 2019, the PSPD demanded that the Ministry of Science and ICT disclose the reasons for permitting such exorbitant pricing plans as proposed by the telecommunications companies but MSICT refused. However, recently, the Seoul Administrative Court has ruled that MSICT must disclose the relevant information. In response, during a press conference held on April 3rd, we demanded the immediate disclosure of the 5G cost data, the introduction of universal pricing plans with reduced fees, and the reintroduction of a price approval system with strengthened verification mechanisms.

We Condemn the Weakening of the Seoul Public Agency for Social Service

In December of last year, the Seoul Metropolitan Council drastically reduced the operating budget of the Seoul Public Agency for Social Service (hereinafter referred to as “SPASS”) by approximately 10 billion KRW. Recently, Hwang Jeong-il, the representative of the SPASS, aligned with Mayor Oh Se-hoon’s policy direction and completed a legal review regarding the dismissal of public childcare workers. The true nature of these measures, disguised under the guise of “innovation,” is the “weakening of the SPASS.” This raises concerns that it may serve as a signal for an attack on social service centers nationwide, extending beyond the violation of the right to care for Seoul citizens. The PSPD, along with various civil society organizations and members of the National Assembly, held a press conference (April 19th) to condemn these actions.

People Demand Audit of the Presidential Office, Must Not Be Interrupted by External Pressure

In October of last year, the PSPD, together with 723 people, filed a request to the Board of Audit and Inspection(BAI) for a “National Audit on the Relocation and Illegal Expense Allegations of the Presidential Office and Residences”. However, suspicions have been raised regarding the sudden resignation of the head of Division 1 of the Administrative and Safety Audit Division of the BAI, who was in charge of the audit task. These suspicions involve allegations of pressure from BAI Secretary-General Yoo Byung-ho to stop the audit. The BAI is guaranteed to be an independent authority under the Constitution and the Board of Audit and Inspection Act. If it turns out that the Secretary-General of the BAI abused his authority and exerted pressure to suspend the audit of the presidential office requested by the citizens, it would be a serious criminal act. We demand a parliamentary investigation, a thorough inquiry, and measures to restore the independence of the Board of Audit and Inspection.

The Outdated Malpractice of Cash Envelope Bribery, The Truth Must Be Revealed.

The details of the incident involving the party bribery during the 2021 Democratic Party National Convention, which came to light during the investigation process of Lee Jung-geun, former Secretary-General of the Democratic Party, are gradually being confirmed. Finally, party chairman Lee Jae-myung officially apologized and requested a prompt and fair investigation by the investigating authorities. It is truly shocking and deplorable. The PSPD calls for a rigorous investigation by the prosecutor’s office, the active cooperation of the Democratic Party, and the implementation of measures to prevent a recurrence. Such typical misconduct, including the distribution of cash envelopes, must not be repeated any longer.

Translated by a PSPD Volunteer

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