Sweden donates P100 million to beef up Philippines’ drive against tax cheats

Jun. 11, 2007

MANILA — Sweden has donated P100 million to beef up the governments revenue collection programs, including its campaign against tax cheats.

Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines Annika Markovic disclosed her governments donation during her farewell call on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at Malacanangs Music Room this afternoon.

Markovic was accompanied by her husband Darasko, and Swedish Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission Britt Hartig.

The President conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu (Grand Cross) on the outgoing Swedish ambassador for her sterling and exemplary work as a representative of her country in the Philippines.

Markovic told the President that she had signed, on behalf of her country, a “new trust fund” with the Department of Finance (DoF) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for the development of a statistics-gathering program, including tax mapping, that would be useful in weeding out tax evaders.

The P100-million trust fund will help further strengthen the “many good tax laws” and revenue collection programs of the Philippine government, she said.

Markovic told the President that during her four-year stint in the country she followed “with interest” the progress of the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

She said her government had been very supportive of the Philippines quest for lasting peace in Mindanao, as she expressed hope that a sustainable peace agreement would finally be reached for the country to entice more investors to invest here.

A sustainable peace agreement between the government and the MILF will boost the “fantastic” performance of the Philippine economy, she added.

Markovic pointed out that the “negative perception in Europe” about the Philippines being “a dangerous place” would change drastically once a sustainable Mindanao peace accord is in place.

The President thanked Sweden for its generous gesture, saying the P100-million donation would go a long way in helping the government pursue the second phase of her administrations economic reform program that calls for heavy investments on human and physical infrastructures.

“Thank you very much for helping us move forward,” the President told Markovic.

Before parting ways, Markovic presented to the President a picture of the majestic Philippine eagle with its wings spread wide open. She said the picture, which was taken by her husband, represented the Philippines “flexing its muscles” for its maiden flight to greatness. (OPS) (davaotoday.com)

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