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[Editorial] Nat`l Budget on Sungnyemun Rather Than Bongha Village

[Editorial] Nat`l Budget on Sungnyemun Rather Than Bongha Village

Posted February. 18, 2008 03:01,   


The welcoming ceremony for President Roh Moo-hyun’s return to Bongha Village will be reduced in scale than the initial plan. The event planning committee, concerned about the criticism on the clamor of the “show,” made such a decision. The committee said that the cost will be cut from 130 million won to 65 million won, but even this amount is far larger than those spent on the welcoming ceremonies for former presidents’ return to hometown. People are not casting favorable looks on the unwilling gestures of the committee.

Moreover, some 49.5 billion won of budget is still being spent as initially planned on building security facilities, eco-friendly parks and forests, a culture center, a traditional theme village and maintaining a public field in Bongha Village. The sum of subsidy from the national treasury and special grants of the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs included in the total budget, even leaving out the local government budget, amounts to 21.1 billion won. It is hard to understand why this should be paid with tax money. It seems as if President Roh, who was the highest person in charge to nullify the establishment of a Park Jung-hee Memorial Hall, is selfishly caring for his place to belong. The new government ought to implement a special inspection on the astounding grant of budget on building President Roh’s private home and the surrounding village.

President Roh’s decision to return to his hometown after resignation was worth applause. But after seeing a big amount of national and local budgets being spent on Bongha Village and its surrounding areas, an increasing number of people now doubt whether President Roh’s intent was pure. Nobody knows what he wishes to do by turning the village into the sacred land for “Roh Lovers.”

The birth-house on Geoje Island of former President Kim Young-sam, also from South Gyeongsang Province, has a small scale, consisting of two wooden buildings of the main house and a detached house. This place is admittedly not resided by former President Kim and is rather used as an area to exhibit monuments, but even when compared to his residence is Sangdo-dong, Seoul, President Roh’s embellishment of Bongha Village has far exceeded the tolerable point.

Members of civil organizations recently visited Bongha Village and raised the opinion that the budget of 21.1 billion won ought to be spent on rebuilding Sungnyemun. Spending the money on restoring the lost Sungnyemun rather than decorating Bongha Village would be far more agreeable.

President Roh and people around him should straighten up their minds and make an honorable decision. It’s about time they realize how burdensome taxes are for people.