Run PSPD, Fly Democracy!
This month of PSPD
Autumn is the season of ripening. Someday, a photo leaders of South and North Korea took together having background of Chenji in Baekdu Mountain could be printed in a textbook. Following Panmunjeom declaration, inter-Korean summit announced Pyeongyang Joint Declaration and Korea-US summit was held during full-moon holiday period. Expectation is growing on declaring the end of Korean War prolonged for more than 70 years. Dispersed families would meet each other any time at a reunion center in Geumgang Mountain, and civil exchange and cooperation will dramatically increase. Just thinking about all these even make us so excited and gratifying.
However, rooting out corruptions and evil practices do not seem to make a progress. Finding facts on judiciary monopoly has stopped by tenacious obstruction of courts. Deregulation move of the government starting with [Internet specialized bank special Act] looks like to ease private information protection and telemedicine, too. Not only inter-Korean relation and peace regime of Korean Peninsula but also reform of National Intelligence Service, prosecutors, the police are what have to be done this year. Shortly, inspection on government offices will begin. As stopping, protecting and taking an initiative are what PSPD does, it will also tighten its shoe races and run this month.
Half of success, revision of 「Commercial Building Lease Protection Act」
Consensus was formed to stop another tragedy like Gungjung Trotters Restaurant and [Commercial Building Lease Act] was about to be processed at the National Assembly. PSPD has organized ‘Worrying Less about Rent Movement’ last June and talked to floor spokesman of each party urging to revise Commercial Building Lease Protection Act. Nevertheless, the bill was passed on 20 September and it does not meet the expectation. What the movement proposed included followings; △ Extend contract renewal request period from five years to ten △ Extend premium recovery period from three months to six △ Include traditional market in applying premium △ Establish Commercial Building Lease Dispute Arbitration Committee at Korea Legal Aid Corporation and regional governments. Unfortunately, the passed revision states that ten year contract renewal request period is applicable only to new contracts. Making the revision is better later than never but it is half of success. Therefore, lawmakers should legislate additional laws which include current contracts in applying ten year in order to protect lessees practically, and secure evacuation cost and priority to occupy.
Transparent special activity expenses, starting from the National Assembly spreading out to all national organizations
Special activity Expenses of administrative bodies has not been transparently disclosed yet same as the National Assembly hasn’t. Moreover, proper inspection hasn’t been executed on how the money has been used either. Administrative watch of PSPD published a report on 27 September <Investigation on management and inspection of special activity expenses of 20 state organizations from 2017 to the first half of 2018>, a following edition of the last year which studied the spending from 2012 to 2016. This report focuses on whether 20 organizations have followed recommendations and instructions when executing and inspecting special activity expenses provided as below; the Board of Audit and Inspection’s recommendation made in 2017, [Instruction on 2018 budget management and execution] of the Ministry of Finance and Economy, [Instruction on accounting proofs of special activity spending] of the Board of Audit and Inspection. Disappointingly, most of them including National Intelligence Service are reluctant to disclose internal manual, execution plan, internal inspection plan and results and submission of accounting proofs. It is ignoring the right to know of the people and refusing the demand on transparency and external inspection. Analyzing submitted documents proved and confirmed that internal management and inspection still lack and thus, regular inspection of the Board of Audit and Inspection is required.
‘Fist time to see Bullet-proof Courts?’ Urge to find the truth of judiciary monopoly
Oppose 「Internet Specialized Bank Special Act」 and 「Act on special cases concerning regulation」
Fundamental measure required to stop surge of Seoul apartment price
Surge of apartment price in Seoul and metropolitan went beyond normal. More than 20% increase within a year can only be described as ‘crazy’. As one of fundamental solutions, PSPD and Shim Sang-jeong, a Justice Party lawmaker held a press conference on 11 September and proposed a revised gross real estate tax in order to reform real estate inequality era with regular tax laws. The Gross Real Estate Tax is originally adopted to levy taxes to expensive real estate holders to increase fair taxation and stabilize real estate price. However, tax rate has decreased and subject to taxation has shrunk that the law has lost its function. At least, rate and applicable objects have to increase up to the standard of early period of its adoption so that this law can function as it is supposed to.
On 13 September, the government has announced <Housing Market Settle Down measure > to stop rocketing house price. This plan enhances gross real estate tax more than government’s revision proposal submitted to the National Assembly early this year and reduces benefits for lease business. Still, it is not enough. Realizing trades in fair price is what has to be done instantly and tax benefits for lease business has to be reduced further.
Moreover, the government announced <Expanding Housing supply in Metropolitan> on 21 September and said to additionally supply 300 thousands houses by acquiring public land, advance newlywed hope town plan and expand supply in the center of the city. In regard to this, Center for People’s Livelihood Improvement of PSPD expressed disappointment and concerns that measures to stabilize lease market such as adopting ceiling for rent and lease, and changing contract renewal system which lessees and housing civil society have demanded were not taken in to consideration. It also argued that announced measure of large volume of supply is likely to increase house price.
On the other hand, Center for Tax Reform of PSPD keeps its activity that it analyzes fair tax problems, suggests alternative measures and presented respective reports on 11 and 12 September <Official price of houses do not reach a half of real trading price> and <Tax benefits have to be greatly reduced for house lease business>.
Cooperated with victims of whistle blowing, Ssangyong Motor lay-off, Laos Xe-Pian & Xe-Namnoy Dam Collapse
Hwang Woo-suk has filed defamation lawsuit against Ryu Young-jun, a whistle blower who exposed Hwang’s faking report on stem cell and cloning scandal at several occasions including his CBS radio interview in 2016. On 18 September, Public Interest Law Center of PSPD sent a letter of opinion to judges and requested them to consider the aspect of whistle blower protection. Ryu is the first reporter who revealed criminal conducts of Hwang in 2005 in cooperation with PSPD.
After all, all 119 lay-off workers of Ssangyong Motor are going back to work. Ssangyong Motor Labor Union, Metal Workers Union Ssanyong Motor branch, the management of Ssangyong Motor Company and the Economy, Social and Labor Committee of the Office of the President jointly held a press conference on 14 September and announced that agreement was made to reinstate all lay-off workers. We remember Ssangyong cultural event ‘heart sharing’ which PSPD organized at Daehanmun on the night of 9 August. Our solidarity seemed to gathered sincere wishes for them to go back to work soon.
Center for International Solidarity of PSPD has worked together and helped victims of Xe-pian and Xe-Namnoy Dam collapse to visit Korea. Joint press conference was held on 18 September to urge SK Construction to take responsibility on Laos Dam collapse and an international forum ‘The collapse of Xe-pian and Xe-Namnoy Dam in Laos: Voices from the ground Korea’ took place on 19 September in cooperation with Korea Civil Society Task Force for Laos Xe-pian and Xe-Namnoy Dam collapse. On the following day, dam collapse delegation from Thailand and Cambodia and the press sat down together and talked about issues on collapse at Areumdeuri Hall of PSPD.