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Premier-designate Cho picks labor, health, environment ministers (update)

04/19/2024 04:26 PM
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Premier-designate Cho Jung-tai (left) shakes hands with Labor Minister-designate Ho Pei-shan at a press conference Friday. CNA photo April 19, 2024
Premier-designate Cho Jung-tai (left) shakes hands with Labor Minister-designate Ho Pei-shan at a press conference Friday. CNA photo April 19, 2024

Taipei, April 19 (CNA) Premier-designate Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) announced another round of new Cabinet ministers Friday, selecting senior Cabinet official Ho Pei-shan (何佩珊) and former legislator Chiu Tai-yuan (邱泰源) to lead the labor and health ministries, respectively.

Meteorologist Peng Chi-ming (彭啟明), who has operated a popular Facebook page about weather forecasts, will take charge of the Ministry of Environment, Cho said at a press conference in Taipei.

Indigenous affairs official Tseng Chih-yung (曾智勇) will become the head of the Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) while Tainan City government official Ku Hsiu-fei (古秀妃) will lead the Hakka Affairs Council (HAC), Cho said.

Taiwan is facing "a volatile situation" that requires the unity of all to "overcome challenges and ensure sustainable development," Cho said, citing climate change and economic headwinds among the challenges.

The newly appointed ministers will be responsible for important policies concerning the welfare of not only the present but also future generations, he said.

Ministry of Labor

Cho said the 56-year-old Ho, who has served as the Cabinet's deputy secretary-general since 2016, was active in labor movements when she was young and will strive to "become the guardian of workers' rights and interests" in her new role heading the Ministry of Labor.

"Over the past eight years, she has participated in decisions on many pieces of legislation and systems and helped coordinate issues in the administrative and legislative spheres," Cho said of Ho, one of only four women among the 20 Cabinet post appointments made to date.

Ministry of Health and Welfare

Speaking of Chiu, a physician for more than 30 years, the premier-designate praised his strong medical background and his work as honorary president of the Taiwan Medical Association and as a professor at National Taiwan University's College of Medicine.

"Chiu was also a [Democratic Progressive Party at-large] legislator for two terms, so he is familiar with how the Legislative Yuan works," Cho said.

Premier-designate Cho Jung-tai (third left) and his newly named cabinet members. CNA photo April 19, 2024
Premier-designate Cho Jung-tai (third left) and his newly named cabinet members. CNA photo April 19, 2024

He will be responsible for promoting smart medicine, food safety, and the newest version of the long-term care policy that the incoming Lai Ching-te (賴清德) administration will be putting forward, Cho said.

Chiu, 67, has also been a major figure in advocating hospice palliative care for terminal illness patients that respects the latter's will and rights.

Ministry of Environment

When introducing Peng, Cho commended him for his expertise in meteorology, efforts to raise awareness of climate risks, and long-time advocacy of open government and net-zero transition, Cho said.

"We are at a time where we have to respond to climate change, and the Ministry of Environment will have to ramp up efforts to follow global standards and help domestic enterprises upgrade their response measures and capabilities," the premier-designate said.

As head of the ministry, Peng will promote the country's green technologies, circular economy, and green finance, "which are all part of our green growth strategy and all require cross-ministerial coordination and collaboration from all sides," Cho said.

Peng, 53, is the founder and chief executive officer of WeatherRisk Explore Inc., Taiwan's first weather company. It "provides weather and environmental solutions to help businesses and the public sector tackle climate challenges and optimize operational intelligence," according to the company's profile.

Cho also named new heads of the agencies responsible for Indigenous and Hakka affairs, which he said will be charged with the "preservation of minority groups' cultures."

Hakka Affairs Council

The 51-year-old Ku has extensive experience in promoting Hakka culture, having served as the head of Hakka affairs agencies in Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung County, and as chief secretary of the Hakka Affairs Council, Cho said.

She will be tasked with advocating for the rights of the Hakka community, promoting the language and culture, and popularizing Hakka language services in Taiwan, Cho said.

Council of Indigenous Peoples

Tseng, a member of the Indigenous Paiwan people, will become the new head of the Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP).

Tseng, 62, currently serves as the head of the CIP's Indigenous Peoples Cultural Development Center and as a member of the Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee of the Presidential Office, which convenes regularly to discuss ways to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Leaning on his solid background in Indigenous affairs, Tseng will work to expand the promotion of Indigenous peoples' health, preserve their cultures, and cultivate more young talent, Cho said.

(By Teng Pei-ju and Alison Hsiao)



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