Presidential address on Sewol-ho ferry disasterUpdated: 2014-05-19 08:48:35 (KST)
Thirty-three days have passed since the Sewol-ho ferry sank off Korea's southwestern coast. taking with it the lives of so many young people.
Within the last hour, President Park Geun-hye has directly apologized for the government's failure to prevent the tragedy.
This during a nationally televised address.
She also laid out measures to bolster national safety and root out irregularities in public service.
For details, let's connect to our presidential office correspondent Choi You-sun .
Standing before the nation on this Monday, President Park took full responsibility for the government's inability to manage the Sewol-ho ferry accident on April 16th that left more than 3-hundred dead or still missing.
She said she, as the head of state, is responsible for ensuring the people's lives and safety.
This was the first time President Park directly apologized to the nation about the Sewol-ho ferry accident and also the first direct apology concerning a specific issue.
She had been heavily criticized for her previous apology made during a Cabinet meeting, as many people felt she wasn't taking full responsibility as the head of state.
And the president laid out a major restructuring of the government to bolster the nation's emergency response and safety systems?
This is because the government has come under fire for its insufficient and lax response to the ferry sinking, which is thought to have resulted in a greater number of deaths.
Admitting that the Coast Guard failed to fulfill its duties to swiftly attend to the passengers in the sinking ferry, President Park said she will dissolve the organization.
The National Police Agency will take over the Coast Guard's investigation and intelligence duties, and a new safety ministry will manage maritime rescue operations and security.
The security and administration ministry, which was responsible for national safety and hiring in the public sector, will only handle administrative affairs.
Overseeing hiring in public service will be transferred to a new ministry under the Prime Minister's Office.
The maritime ministry will now specialize in fostering maritime and fisheries industries.
The new restructuring bill will soon be submitted to parliament.
Yeah, she certainly promised widespread reforms. President Park also referred to the hiring of retired public employees to head public organizations and affiliates. This has been widely blamed for the government's insufficient and lax handling of the disaster
President Park laid out a string of measures, such as tripling the number of public organizations that are not allowed retired public employees and extending the period after which retired workers can return from the current two years to three.
President Park also proposed a special law on the Sewol-ho ferry disaster, which includes an independent body to investigate the causes of the ferry accident and who should take responsibility.
She also talked about a special probe to specifically investigate the accident and related issues.
Close to tears as she read out the names of some of the ferry victims, President Park said she will not leave their deaths in vain and will designate April 16th -- the day of the sinking -- as a day to remember their sacrifices.
This has been Choi You-sun and I'll bring you more details on the president's address during our next newscast at noon.
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