Main parties agree upon Sewol ferry recompense

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Main parties agree upon Sewol ferry recompense

The ruling and main opposition parties on Tuesday agreed on the terms of compensation for the families and victims of the April 16 Sewol ferry disaster and are scheduled to vote on a bill early next week.

The bipartisan deal comes 265 days after the sinking, which took the lives of more than 300 passengers onboard, mostly high school students, and left the nation reeling.

The bill, expected to be approved during Monday’s plenary session, calls for a Sewol compensation committee to be established under the Prime Minister’s Office that will consider how state funds will be allocated to the survivors and those who lost their loved ones.

The ruling Saenuri Party and the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) agreed to use the 125.7 billion won ($114 million) in public donations first before resorting to government funds.

They also decided that the fishermen and residents of Jindo County, South Jeolla, and the surrounding area who were economically affected by the sinking and the months-long search effort should be subject to compensation by the state.

Student survivors from Danwon High School in Ansan, Gyeonggi, who were onboard the ill-fated ship will be given special consideration in the college admissions process, an acknowledgement of the trauma they endured in the country’s worst maritime disaster, the two parties said in a joint statement.

Additionally, lawmakers agreed that a tentatively named April 16 Foundation should be established as a memorial hall and park to honor the lost passengers. The central government, the added, should provide financial aid to support the foundation for five years.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]




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