President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said he operates according to the immutable principle that the leader of a nation should have the public’s trust and make the public feel safe and calm.
In a meeting at the Presidential Office with more than 100 people, including tribal leaders and elders from the nation’s 14 recognized Aboriginal tribes, Ma said that his policies toward Aborigines encompassed four main principles: the recognition of cultural difference, justice, promotion of autonomy and self-development.
“These four principles have always been the core principle of all my Aboriginal policies,” Ma said, adding that his administration has never wavered in its efforts to provide for Aborigines.
Ma said NT$50 billion (US$1.6 billion) had been allocated for infrastructure projects, such as farm roads, normal roads and flood retention ponds, in Aboriginal communities, especially those in the mountainous regions. He said the government’s total allotment to fulfill its promises to Aborigines was NT$57 billion between 2009 and next year.
“The implementation is close to 90 percent, which shows that the proposed projects for Aborigines have either been implemented or are in the process of being implemented,” Ma said, adding: “This can be done, showing that I, Ma Ying-jeou, am a man of my word.”
The government hopes that all Aborigines, from their birth to their college graduation, will be able to receive the best care in areas such as schooling, job opportunities and housing, Ma said, adding that sine 2008, his administration has also taken great efforts to decrease the unemployment rate among Aborigines.
He said “manpower, environment, advertisement and digitalization are the four areas to work on in the future, and we will give it everything we’ve got.”
In terms of Aboriginal cultural heritage, and particularly research into Aboriginal culture, Ma said his administration is creating basic educational materials for all 14 tribes, adding that an account of Taiwanese Aboriginal language, culture and history is being collected.