December 8 2008 marked the 7th anniversary of the Kinmen County Volunteer Firemen’s Corps and Corps held its customary reunion at Kinmen County Fire Department. Magistrate Lee Chu-Feng attended the celebration and presented awards to senior volunteer firefighters who have selflessly risked their lives to combat fires. He also thanked them for their contribution in firefighting and rescue operations on the behalf of county residents.
The 7th anniversary celebration for Kinmen County Volunteer Firemen’s Corps was held at 9:30 A.M. on December 8 at the hall of Kinmen County Fire Department. The event was hosted by Commander Yen Ta-Jen and attended by guests of honors including Kinmen County Fire Department Director-General Yang Shu-Kai, Deputy Director-General Wang Shih-Ju and Senior Executive Officer Wu Hsin-Pang. Approximately 150 senior and new volunteer firefighters attended the ceremony. Magistrate Lee presented bonus food allowances to the brigade along with awards to senior volunteer firefighters.
金門縣義消總隊隊慶大會於八日上午九時三十分在縣消防局禮堂舉行，由總隊長顏達仁Ta-Jen Yen主持，包括消防局長楊肅凱Shu-Kai Yang、副局長王世祿Shih-Ju Wang、縣府參議吳興邦Hsin-Pang Wu、義消、老義消近150人參加，縣長李炷烽到場頒發加菜金給義消總隊，並且頒獎表揚資深義消人員。
Magistrate Lee pointed out that the entire organization of Kinmen County Fire Department contains no more than 66 firefighters. The demands for rescue and firefighting operations for Kinmen County are simply overwhelming for the limited number of firefighters. Thankfully, there are more than 240 volunteer firefighters who willingly offered their support to safeguard the lives and property of Kinmen residents. On the behalf of all Kinmen residents, the magistrate extended his utmost gratitude to the contribution of these brave volunteers. Award recipients include Li Kuo-Chen, Lin Wan-Ta, Chen Huo-Yen, Lu Chi-Chung, Yen Chang-Tuan and other senior firefighters (totaling at 92) who have offered their services for 5-40 years. For their selfless contributions and dedication, each received a badge of seniority in volunteer firefighting services from the magistrate.
李縣長指出，金門縣消防局編制消防人員僅66人，執行消防救災工作在人力上是捉襟見肘，所幸全縣有240多位義消人員的支援，提供縣民生命財產安全的保障，他代表全體縣民向義消兄弟們表達由衷的感謝。 接受表揚的資深義消，從5年至40年，計有李國偵Kuo-Chen Li、林萬塔Wan-Ta Lin、陳火炎Huo-Yen Chen 、盧志忠、顏章團Chang-Tuan Yen等92人，由李縣長頒發服勤年資獎章，肯定資深義消們的奉獻服務。
Magistrate Lee touched on the state of current affairs and pointed out that the worldwide financial crisis that has been caused by a global economic recession has impacted Taiwan. Naturally, Kinmen County has not been spared and the domestic recession has consequently led to problems of employment opportunities. The magistrate admitted that employment opportunities are limited at best even in Kinmen County. He continued by talking about the rumors he heard while attending Kinmen Senior High School Alumni in Taipei. The rumors rooted from Taiwan’s recent economic slump and accused President Ma to be the culprit of financial crisis in Taiwan because of his stance on cross-strait relationship by implying that the President has intentionally directed all investments to Mainland China, which created a void in Taiwan’s economy. The fact is, Taiwan’s relationship with Mainland China has improved steadily at a relatively faster pace due to President Ma’s efforts. However, due to slandering from specific groups with blatant political bias coupled with the people’s fear of poor domestic economy, a portion of the public might have been manipulated to associate the President with the Taiwan’s current economy. It is important for us to realize that Taiwan is suffering from poor economy because the entire world is experiencing a major recession. Magistrate Lee warned against the threat of such hearsay and pointed out that the society had been, in fact, influenced by rumors and groundless gossip whenever the general public was suffering. Magistrate Lee emphasized that the spreading of such rumors should be interpreted as a crisis.
Magistrate Lee also touched on the hotly debated issue of consumption coupons and defended his position. He has been approached by inquiring residents who questioned his objection of the proposal for Kinmen County to issue extra consumption coupons to the local residents. The magistrate pointed out that when the central government decided to go ahead with issuance of consumption coupons, Kinmen County Government made corresponding solutions and preparations. He also noted that it is perfectly within his authority to approve the proposal of issuing extra consumption coupons (worth NT$3,600 in face value) at this point in time and he has publicly reasserted his intention to tackle the issue with an active stance while promising to be responsible for all relevant planning. The magistrate explained his objection to hasty approval of issuing additional coupons because the central government has not issued the original NT$3,600 worth of consumption coupons yet. He emphasized his wishes to take the best course of action after the government has proceeded to issue the first batch of coupons for the best interest of Kinmen County and dismissed the idea of thoughtlessly issuing extra coupons without comprehensive planning or the legal procedures of allocating budgets.
The magistrate stressed that Kinmen County Government would naturally do what the residents wish it do to, and that he has confidence in the county government’s capacity to get things done. However, the magistrate stated that the timing of implementation is just as important as the execution itself. He suggested that the media failed to portray a complete picture of Kinmen County Government’s arrangements and concerns and he would take the opportunity to explain to Kinmen residents once again so that the people would understand the county government’s intention. Magistrate Lee noted that it is critical for the government to plan everything down to the finest detail before it acts in order to be truly responsible. He asserted that the county government takes the interests of Kinmen residents as its primary consideration and guaranteed that the government would only implement solutions that offer best benefits for the residents. He also hopes that the solution to be proposed by the county government would be supported and accepted by most residents because it is his duty as a public servant.
Magistrate Lee added that he would present a proposal of autonomous regulations or pertinent implementations to Kinmen County Council sometime around March 2009. In light of the relatively lower income level for Kinmen residents, the magistrate has pledged to come up with an appropriate solution that would truly benefit the growth of the local consumer market.
Magistrate Lee continued by stating that the county government plans to step up its promotion of social welfare while providing more employment opportunities. Apart from continuing to create more work relief jobs for residents from middle-low income families and those in dire need of assistance, the county government has already created 200 job opportunities this year. In 2009, the county government will increase the number of personnel hired from the existing budget items and submit the proposal to the County Council for approval in order to create more employment opportunities for Kinmen folks. In addition, students with a complete record of valid academic certificates from elementary school to graduate school would be eligible to receive a transportation subsidy of NT$4,000. This subsidy also applies to students from Taiwan proper who have come to National Kinmen Institute of Technology to study. This would encourage students from Taiwan proper to pursue their academic career in Kinmen, which would in turn create opportunities of consumption. Also, students with official student status may also receive a subsidy of NT$4,000, which would be remitted separately in two semesters. This multi-million budget is aimed to reduce the financial burdens that parents have to bear.
Apart from Magistrate Lee’s address, Commander Yen Ta-Jen also gave out the bonus for attendance at the annual firefighting training to the recipients, including Second Corps, First Company of First Corps, Jinhu Branch, Jinsha Branch and Lieyu Women Disaster Prevention Promotion Brigade.
The Volunteer Firemen’s Headquarter also prepared a number of events performed by the women’s branch of fire prevention media, such as sketch performances, firefighting technique drills, rescue exercises and so forth to demonstrate the results of their daily training. The dozen senior volunteer firefighters were commended on their rapid improvement of firefighting and rescue techniques/technologies.