6 city candidates back welfare fund

6 city candidates back welfare fund

Proposal seeks to help women, poor

Six candidates vying for the Bangkok governorship on Wednesday voiced their support for a proposal to set up a fund for women and impoverished groups, pledging to combine it into their policy platform.

Speaking at a forum on social welfare policy platforms held by the Girl Guides Association of Thailand and the Women and Children Network, the candidates pledged their full support to register such a fund proposal with start-up capital of 100 million baht.

Suchatvee Suwansawat, the Democrat Party's candidate, said among his top priorities is a plan to provide "equal welfare" in the capital to some 260,000 children aged six and under. He said the government's subsidy programme for this group can only cover 60,000 children while the families of the 200,000 others are left without financial assistance.

The Democrat candidate floated the idea of establishing a council of the elderly as a forum for them to brainstorm and find solutions to their problems. He also promised to provide free internet services and use modern technologies to ensure city residents, especially the elderly who live alone, get help in case of an emergency.

Rosana Tositrakul, an independent candidate, offered to provide a subsidy to the city's 530,000 elderly who have no steady income and to set up funds to help various disadvantaged groups such as women and street vendors and hawkers. She said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) under her leadership would also invest in the development of childcare centres to aid low-income earners. She said she would cut the "fat", a reference to the administration's unnecessary spending, and raise funds from the BMA's business arm, Krungthep Thanakhom.

Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, a candidate from the opposition Move Forward Party, said Bangkok was the first step in making the country a welfare nation as he discussed his plan to provide a monthly subsidy of 3,000 baht to city residents. He stressed the need to achieve the decentralisation of City Hall, particularly regarding budget management. He also wants more stakeholders to have a say in solving the city's problems.

Sakoltee Phattiyakul, a former deputy governor who is running as an independent, said he would try to increase a budget earmarked for social welfare policies. Currently, the BMA sets aside about 200 million baht for this.

Sqn Ldr Sita Divari, from the Thai Sang Thai Party, called to improve public facilities for people with disabilities, saying he would allocate 5%-10% of the construction budget for this.

Ex-Bangkok governor, Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang, who is running as an independent, discussed his achievements and urged voters to judge him by his work.

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