MANILA — The non-mention of some issues in President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.'s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) does not mean the administration will not address those, Malacanang said Wednesday.
Critics and some lawmakers have noted the absence of any plans on drug war, federalism, and corruption during the Chief Executive's SONA on Monday.
"The President has laid out his priorities. It doesn’t mean that he is not going to pay attention to other concerns. This is just the roadmap for his administration," Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a Palace briefing.
"Just because it isn’t mentioned does not mean it isn’t there,” she added.
Some analysts earlier said Marcos' first SONA lacked applausable moments while some questioned the capacity of the administration to reach its economic targets.
Opposition lawmakers said it lacked specifics and failed to present real solutions.
Cruz-Angeles also justified the administration's plans to impose new taxes on digital services.
She said imposing value-added tax (VAT) in online services "is not a new tax."
"We are just looking at the possibility that these industries have not been subjected to VAT before and that they should be,” she said.
“Social media must be subjected to income tax if income is earned and there are also those that must be subjected to VAT."
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno earlier this month said taxes on digital services was based on the principle of "fairness."
In May, the Department of Finance proposed excise taxes for single-use plastics, tax for cryptocurrencies, and VAT on digital services providers.
The DOF said then that the new taxes were "critical" so the government can generate P349 billion in new revenues between 2023 and 2027 to help trim the country's debt.