By Ann Maxon / Staff reporter
The Legislative Yuan is to process 18 bills, including a controversial military pension reform bill, during a provisional session that started yesterday and is to run through July 6.
During a plenary discussion yesterday, the legislature approved opening the special session later in the day, following a proposal by Democratic Progressive Party legislators led by DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming （柯建銘）.
The military pension reform bill, which has sparked several protests, would be given priority, with its review expected to be completed in two weeks, DPP caucus whip Ho Hsin-chun （何欣純） said.
A proposal by Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） legislators to invite President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） to present a report on cross-strait and diplomatic affairs was rejected.
Meanwhile, members of the veterans’ group 800 Heroes rallied outside the legislature during yesterday’s session.
The group last week announced that it would organize a series of events from yesterday to Friday to oppose the planned pension cuts for military officers, including three rallies outside the Legislative Yuan.
At 9am, about 200 protesters, mostly veterans, gathered on Qingdao E Road, despite intermittent rains.
Police erected barricades and mobilized 500 officers to prevent the protesters entering the Legislative Yuan compound.
“To protest against the controversial draft act on military officers proposed by the DPP, the group is urging the ruling party to consider the effect that retroactively cutting the pensions of veterans would have on the morale of the armed forces, and postpone the plan for those who have retired,” the group said in a statement yesterday.
The Tsai administration is solely responsible for the growing tension and division between different groups caused by the bill, which it has been trying so hard to push through, it said.
“The group will continue to oppose the bill through various means, including applying for a constitutional interpretation and administrative appeal,” it said.
Their conviction to safeguard the rights and dignity of military officers and the Constitution will not change, it said.
The group said it would rally in front of the Judicial Yuan tomorrow morning to promote a constitutional interpretation for civil servants and public-school teachers facing similar pension cuts.
The group would hold rallies outside the legislature again on Thursday and Friday, it said.
The barricades would remain in place until Friday night, unless circumstances change, the Taipei Police Department’s Zhongzheng First Precinct said.
Additional reporting by CNA