Constituent policy

DPP candidate Taichung touts school meals policy

KMT incumbent Lu Shiow-yen said needy children already received free meals, while her contestant said she insulted low-income families.

  • By Jason Pan / Staff Reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taichung mayoral candidate Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) provided details of his “free school meals” program at several campaign rallies this week, while Taichung Mayor , Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), who is running for re-election, criticized the plan.

Tsai said the pillars of her program would be good nutrition, local produce and “rigorous testing to minimize chemical and pesticide residues.”

If elected, Tsai said he would ensure that “students can have a nutritious lunch at school every day without their parents paying so that all children eat well and stay healthy”. .

Photo: ANC

Another top priority would be to ensure school lunches are free of pesticide residues, Tsai said, citing studies over the past two years that have found high levels of such residues in school lunches in schools. six special municipalities.

After decades of population growth, Taichung has seen stagnation and even decline in recent years, he said, attributing the trend to the above-average financial burden on the city’s young families.

“Providing free school meals is a good way to reduce the burden,” he said.

The program would ensure that local products from sustainable agriculture are used, he said, adding that schools would be encouraged to organize trips to the farms where the program’s ingredients are grown “to show children where their food comes from.

The program’s budget would be around 2 billion Taiwan dollars (63.2 million US dollars) a year – “a significant figure” which would also benefit local farmers and help reduce Taichung’s carbon footprint, it said. -he declares.

However, Lu said the program would not have the expected effects and the target should be reduced to help low-income families.

“We have to help solve the problems of these families,” she said. “There are more than 20,000 children in Taichung who cannot afford lunch. That’s about one in 15 children.”

However, these children are entitled to free school meals under the current scheme, she said.

Tsai said yesterday that he criticized Lu’s choice of words, particularly that he said many children ‘can’t afford lunch’.

“Such words hurt the feelings of low-income families,” he said, accusing Lu of implying that these families are unwilling to pay for school meals.

“The Taichung city government uses public money to portray Lu as a benevolent ‘mother mayor’, but now we hear her speak coldly about needy families,” Tsai said, urging Lu to apologize.

Tsai said another focus of his administration will be transportation.

He said he would expand the city’s transit system with four new lines and extensions to existing lines.

As part of its “100 km MRT” plan, construction of the blue line would begin in the next four years, the route of the orange line would be finalized, a circular line would access the south of the city, the green line would be extended and a tram would be built to access the districts of Houli (后里) and Waipu (外埔), he said.

City government officials said Lu had promoted the expansion of the mass transportation network throughout his tenure.

Meanwhile, Lu appeared at a campaign event in Fongyuan (豐原) district, where 79-year-old KMT Taichung councilor Chang Ching-fen is running for re-election.

“Everyone respects her on the city council. Chang has been an advisor representing Fongyuan throughout her career,” Lu said. “She protected the people of Fongyuan, just like Queen Elizabeth II did in the UK.”

She also compared Chang to the goddess Matsu – a statement criticized at a separate event by Chen Juo-ting (陳若庭), a candidate for city council of Taiwan’s State Construction Party.

“It’s wrong for politicians to base their campaigns on the religious beliefs of their constituents,” Chen said, calling it “emotional blackmail.”

“It is also wrong to jump on the bandwagon of global mourning over the passing of a beloved monarch,” Chen added.

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