PSPD in English Newsletter 2022-11-30   8370

PSPD English Newsletter, November 2022

This Month at PSPD

Citizen-Petition Audits Regarding the Presidential Office Relocation

The Yoon Administration abruptly pushed for the relocation of the Presidential Office from Cheong Wa Dae to Yongsan. The Presidential Residence, formerly the Ministry of National Defense Building has also been remodeled but the President still delays moving in. Issues regarding the decision to relocate the Presidential Office and Residence, the use of reserve funds in the execution process, and illegal private contracts have been raised, but there is no proper explanation from the Presidential Office, let alone an audit or investigation.

PSPD has filed a Citizen-Petition Audit regarding the matters. Citizens aged 18 or older are eligible to sign the petition, and after a two-week-long on and offline petition, more than 300 people signed, surpassing the minimum number of signatures required. The Board of Audit and Inspection has to decide whether to conduct or dismiss the audit within a month, and we urge them to start the audit as soon as possible.

Emergency Action was Launched Against the Government, which prioritizes chaebol and ignores people’s livelihoods and welfare

Korean society is facing serious economic inequality and asset polarization. Expansion of welfare spending through flexible fiscal management and redistribution of wealth through tax normalization are more urgently demanded than ever before, but the Yoon Administration is precisely going the opposite. In June, it declared a massive tax cut on high-income, high-assets including corporate tax, holding tax, inheritance gift tax, and financial investment income tax through the “Economic Policy Direction” and included it in the tax reform plan in July. Eventually, in September, the National Assembly passed an amendment to reduce comprehensive property taxes.

The easing of corporate tax, which only benefits chaebols, and the easing of property tax, which increase housing instability, will only encourage asset polarization, thus inevitably leading to reduced welfare policies. In fact, besides a minuscule increase in the basic pension budget and support for the vulnerable group due to the increase in the standard median income, the government cut the public rental housing budget by 27% compared to this year, as well as the budget for the operation of public hospitals and daycare & elderly care facilities. There is a high possibility that the budget for the working class will be further cut in the future.

On October 19th, the labor-civil society declared that the Yoon government must resolve inequality by expanding the budget for people’s livelihoods and welfare, rather than pushing for a tax cut on the rich chaebol. PSPD will continue to press the National Assembly, by organizing a debate series on the rich chaebol tax reduction, and a rally to condemn the reduction of the public welfare budget. We will also organize one-person protests and media contributions for budget expansion allocated to save ordinary people, workers, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Stop Armed conflict. Let’s Act for Peace!

Military tensions are escalating amid days of military exercises in South Korea, the United States, and North Korea. South Korean and U.S. warplanes begin the largest-ever air drills on October 31st, with Korea’s F-35A fighters, U.S. F-35B fighters in Japan, and 250 Air Force power units. These extremely dangerous armed protests should not be repeated as a tiny mistake can lead to a collision. PSPD held an emergency press conference and organized a peace action, calling for an immediate halt to all military action.

“Be Afraid, We Come Together” PSPD supports Iran’s Anti-Hijab Protests

2022.10.5. 주한 이란대사관 앞, 이란 히잡 의문사 관련 시위를 지지하는 한국인권시민사회단체 기자회견

Since September 13th – the passing of Masha Amini who died in police custody for violating the hijab regulation –, many people continue to protest against the mandatory hijab regulation and state violence. Instead of apologizing, the Iranian government is reacting with police brutality, and consequently, the death toll is on the rise. 52 human rights and civil society organizations in Korea including PSPD support Iranian citizens’ protests and call for an end to force mandatory hijab regulation as a form of state violence and oppression.

Kakao’s Outage Raises Questions on Corporate Social Responsibility

On October 15th, a fire damaged servers belonging to Kakao, shutting down its messaging, mobile banking, and gaming services for more than eight hours. The outage has raised concerns about public reliance on the Kakao talk messaging app. PSPD call to strengthen the social responsibility of platform companies.

  • Value-added telecommunications services providers should also be given responsibilities and roles equivalent to those of facilities-based telecommunications service providers.
    The current Telecommunications Business Act requires platform companies that operate additional telecommunications services to secure service stability, but it imposes only self-regulating obligations and does not provide specific management guidelines. As the KakaoTalk outage displayed the consequence of a platform company’s monopoly, it is necessary for businesses to operate under higher responsibility and management supervision.
  • Kakao Should Thoroughly Investigate and Compensate for the Damage to Consumers and Businesses
    Taxi drivers and small business owners suffered massive damage due to various delays including customer reservations, product order placement, and delivery. The scale of damage should be thoroughly investigated and compensated. In addition, the current legal regulations should be revised as they do not have compensation regulations for losses caused by communication service failures caused by the service providers such as Kakao.

  • The government and the National Assembly should prevent recurrence by preparing policies such as the Class Action Act and the Online Platform Fairness Act
    Kakao enjoyed its exclusive status because the government has provided various opportunities and convenience to a small number of platform giants. In order to prevent the monopolization of a small number of platform companies, the Yoon Suk Yeol government’s Online Platform Self-Regulation Policy should be abolished, and the Online Platform Fair Trade Act and the Monopoly Regulation Act should be enacted considering the characteristics of the platform market. They should also discuss Class Action Laws and Punitive Damages Laws.

“National Pension, Will it Protect the Old Age?” Invitation to a Lecture Tour

Generational ‘pension war’, fiscal depletion theory, whether the people born in the 90s will receive a pension or not… The debate over the national pension is hot ahead of the 5th national pension fiscal calculation which will take place in early 2023. Some question the necessity of a national pension, citing generational conflicts and balance of payments. Meanwhile, the Yoon Administration emphasizes private pensions. PSPD’s regional lecture tour experts on this topic will help you better understand the Korean National Pension System. (Seoul & Ulsan Oct.27, Daejeon Nov.3, Jeonju Nov.10, Busan Nov.19)

“Global Citizens’ Neighborhood Cleaning ” with PSPD members of Gangdong, Songpa, Gwangjin, and Hanam Area

On October 15th, PSPD went Plogging along the Seongnaecheon Stream thanks to one of the member’s proposal. As the climate crisis is more serious than ever, we picked up lots of trash – broken bottles, abandoned umbrellas, buried vinyl, and plastic – which helped reflect on what we could do now instead of passing the burden on to the next generation. All members are welcome, and see you again!

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Translated by a PSPD Volunteer

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