Palace ensures fighting corruption, illegal drugs still part of Marcos' agenda

Malacañang assured the public that President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is not forgoing the fight against corruption and illegal drugs despite not mentioning them in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. (Noel Pabalate)

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said this after critics called out Marcos for supposedly not having plans to address corruption in government, the illegal drug trade, federalism, wages, and students' concerns.

In a press briefing, Angeles said the President will still work on those concerns even though he failed to discuss them in his inaugural SONA on July 25.

"The President has laid out his priorities. It doesn't mean that he's not going to pay attention to other concerns. This is just the roadmap for his administration," she said.

"The day-to-day and ongoing activities-- these are considered still part of the program, particularly those related to continuity. So just because it wasn't mentioned doesn't mean it isn't there," she added.

In his first SONA, Marcos discussed his administration's economic recovery plans. He likewise touched on agriculture, social welfare, health, the Covid-19 pandemic, education, digitalization, and infrastructure.

The President also outlined his plans for the energy sector, climate change, migrant workers, tourism, foreign policy, and his 19 priority bills.

Tax programs

Angeles likewise discussed the President's proposed tax programs. This came after it was pointed out that Marcos once said he was against the imposition of new taxes.

According to the Press Secretary, the value-added tax (VAT) that the President sought for digital service providers was not a new tax.

"We're just looking at the possibility that these industries have not been subjected to VAT before and that they should be," Angeles said.

"It's like social media and so on must be subjected to income tax. If there is income that is earned, then the same goes for those that are subject to VAT," she added.

In his SONA, Marcos said imposing VAT on digital service providers would generate P11.7 billion in 2023 alone.

The President also asked Congress to pass a Valuation Reform Bill and a Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act.