Bayan News

December 2016 Nationwide Survey on Urgent Personal and National Concerns and National Administration Performance Ratings

Pulse Asia Research, Inc. is pleased to share with you some findings on Urgent Personal and National Concerns and National Administration Performance Ratings from the December 2016 Ulat ng Bayan national survey. We request you to assist us in informing the public by disseminating this information.

The survey fieldwork was conducted from December 6 – 11, 2016 using face-to-face interviews.

In the weeks leading up to and during the conduct of the interviews for this survey, the following developments preoccupied Filipinos:

  1. The resignation of Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo on 04 December 2016 as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) after being barred by President Rodrigo R. Duterte from attending Cabinet meetings due to “irreconcilable differences” between them, according to Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr.; the latter would eventually be appointed to replace Vice-President Robredo as HUDCC Chairperson; also instructed not to attend Cabinet meetings was Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Patricia Licuanan but despite this, the CHED Chairperson said she will stay on at the agency;
  2. The decision of the Supreme Court (SC) by a vote of 9-5 (with one abstention) to dismiss the consolidated petitions arguing against the burial of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB); a week after the SC’s decision was made public, the remains of former President Marcos were laid to rest at the LNMB on 18 November 2016; various protest actions were held in Metro Manila and other parts of the country in the aftermath of the court ruling and the former President’s burial;
  3. The investigation by the Senate and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) into the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr. in his jail cell in Leyte on 05 November 2016 in the course of a search operation for drugs and firearms; after determining that the latter’s killing was a rubout, the NBI filed murder charges against reinstated Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 8 Director Marvin Marcos and 27 other individuals; Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, said he is convinced that the killing was premeditated and the application for a search warrant was done to give a semblance of legitimacy to the CIDG Region 8 operation; in a related development, the son of former Albuera Mayor Espinosa, Mr. Kerwin Espinosa, testified before the Senate and the House of Representatives that he gave money to Senator Leila M. de Lima to support her campaign for a Senate seat in the May 2016 elections through her driver, Mr. Ronnie Dayan;
  4. For his part, President Duterte backed the police version of the events that led to the killing of Albuera Mayor Espinosa as he stated that he will not allow the police officers involved in the Leyte operation to be jailed; nonetheless, he vowed not to interfere in the legal proceedings against them;
  5. The recommendation made by the Senate Committee on Justice to file kidnapping, murder, and perjury charges against Mr. Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed member of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS), who testified that President Duterte was directly involved in extrajudicial killings in Davao City while serving as its mayor; the Senate Committee also cleared the Duterte administration of any involvement in the extrajudicial killings which have occurred in the course of its war against illegal drugs; for his part, Mr. Matobato filed a criminal complaint against President Duterte before the Office of the Ombudsman for the President’s reported involvement in murder, kidnapping, torture, genocide, and other crimes against humanity while serving as mayor of Davao City;
  6. The decision of the SC to clear three (3) judges included by President Duterte in one of his drug lists on the grounds that their being named as drug protectors was made “prematurely and without evidence” and that the High Court “found no prima facie case has been established against the said judges”;
  7. President Duterte’s order to arrest gaming tycoon Mr. Jack Lam immediately on charges of bribery and economic sabotage after a raid conducted in his illegal casino operations in Clark, Pampanga on 24 November 2016 and claims made by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II that a representative of Mr. Lam attempted to bribe him a few days after the raid; however, Bureau of Immigration (BI) records showed that Mr. Lam left for Hong Kong on 29 November 2016 and there are no records of him returning to the Philippines thereafter;
  8. The Sandiganbayan’s acquittal of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband as well as former Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairperson Benjamin Abalos, Sr. in connection with a second graft case filed against them stemming from the botched US$ 329-million ZTE national broadband network (NBN) deal; also acquitted of graft charges by the Sandiganbayan is former Makati City Mayor Elenita Binay in relation to the alleged overpriced purchase of furniture for the Makati City Hall in 1999;
  9. The move of Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairperson Jose Vicente Salazar to go on a one-month leave following allegations of corruption in his agency, specifically those raised by former ERC Director Francisco Villa, Jr. in three (3) letters written several months prior to committing suicide on 09 November 2016; in his letters, the former ERC Director said he was being pressured to approve procurement contracts and hire consultants without proper bidding and hiring procedures;
  10. The appointment of Army Chief Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año as the successor of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya; the new AFP Chief of Staff vowed to support the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs by ensuring that the necessary military capabilities will be extended to the police and other enforcement agencies to help bring down the country’s drug syndicates;
  11. The observance of International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2016 amidst calls for the Duterte administration to end its violent war against illegal drugs which has resulted in nearly 6,000 deaths since July 2016;
  12. The election of Mr. Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States (US) following his victory at the polls over former US State Secretary and Senator Hillary Clinton; after congratulating the US President-Elect, President Duterte said he will no longer quarrel with the US because Mr. Trump won the US presidential elections;
  13. The impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye arising from accusations of conspiring to extort US$ 69 million from big business in exchange for political favors such as granting presidential pardons to business leaders convicted of corruption charges; and
  14. The weakening of the local currency versus the American dollar with the Philippine peso surpassing the P 49 mark on 17 November 2016 following expectations of an increase in US government spending strengthened the US dollar; the increase in headline inflation – due to higher prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco, housing, water, electricity, gas, and transportation – which, at 2.5% in November 2016, is the highest it has been in 21 months, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

As in our previous Ulat ng Bayan surveys, this nationwide survey is based on a sample of 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above. It has a ± 3% error margin at the 95% confidence level. Subnational estimates for each of the geographic areas covered in the survey (i.e., Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) have a ± 6% error margin, also at 95% confidence level. Those interested in further technical details concerning the survey’s questionnaire and sampling design may request Pulse Asia Research in writing for fuller details, including copies of the pre-tested questions actually used.

Pulse Asia Research’s pool of academic fellows takes full responsibility for the design and conduct of the survey, as well as for analyses it makes based on the survey data. In keeping with our academic nature, no religious, political, economic, or partisan group influenced any of these processes. Pulse Asia Research undertakes Ulat ng Bayan surveys on its own without any party singularly commissioning the research effort.

For any clarification or questions, kindly contact Ronald D. Holmes, Pulse Asia Research President at 09189335497 or via email (ronald.holmes@gmail.com).

Health tops the list of Filipinos’ urgent personal concerns (63%); public opinion regarding urgent personal concerns remains essentially unchanged year-on-year

A sizeable majority of Filipinos (63%) cites staying healthy and avoiding illnesses as their most urgent concern at the personal level. This is the only majority personal concern in December 2016. A second cluster of urgent personal concerns of Filipinos includes having a secure and well-paying job (44%), finishing schooling or providing schooling for one’s children (41%), and having enough to eat on a daily basis (41%). Meanwhile, avoiding being a crime victim (38%), having some savings (38%), and having a house and lot (34%) comprise a third and last set of personal concerns deemed urgent by Filipinos. Year-on-year, the only significant changes in public opinion on this matter are the increase in the level of concern about crime victimization (+8 percentage points) and the decline in the level of concern about schooling (-7 percentage points). (Please refer to Tables 1 and 2.)

 The primary first mentioned urgent personal concerns of Filipinos are health (25%) and employment (19%). As for second mentioned personal concerns, the leading ones are health (21%) and education (15%). With regard to third mentioned personal concerns, the top ones are health (17%), personal food security (17%), personal savings (17%), crime victimization (14%), employment (12%), and possession of a house and lot (12%). (Please refer to Table 1.)

 The only personal concern identified as urgent by majorities across geographic areas and socio-economic classes is health (54% to 68% and 58% to 67%, respectively). There are only two (2) other urgent personal concerns in the other subgroupings – schooling (51% in the Visayas and Mindanao) and crime victimization (55% in Class ABC).  On the other hand, Metro Manilans are least concerned about personal food security (26% while those in the rest of Luzon are least concerned about having their own house and lot (27%). The least often mentioned urgent personal concerns in the Visayas are having some savings (31%) and having their own house and lot (34%) and in Mindanao, these are crime victimization (35%) and personal savings (37%). (Please refer to Table 3.)

 In Class ABC, the least often cited personal concerns are having one’s own house and lot (26%) and having food to eat on a daily basis (27%). Those in Class D are least concerned about having their own place to live in (34%) and avoiding being a crime victim (36%) while those in Class E are least concerned about having some savings (26%).

The leading urgent national concern is the need to increase workers’ pay (45%); figures recorded in September and December 2016 do not differ significantly

As far as national issues are concerned, not one of the 15 issues included in this probe is deemed urgent by most Filipinos. The most often mentioned urgent national concern in December 2016 is the need to increase workers’ pay (45%). Five (5) issues make up a second set of urgent national concerns – controlling inflation (34%), reducing poverty (33%), fighting criminality (33%), creating more jobs (31%), and fighting corruption (31%). A second cluster of urgent national concerns includes peace promotion (23%) and enforcement of the rule of law (17%) while a third group includes reducing the amount of taxes paid by Filipinos (12%), stopping the destruction and abuse of the environment (11%), protecting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (10%), controlling population growth (8%), and defending the integrity of Philippine territory (6%). Filipinos are least concerned as regards charter change and terrorism (both at 4%). During the period September to December 2016, the only notable movement in these figures is the 7-percentage point decrease in the level of concern about job creation. (Please refer to Tables 4 to 5.)

Overall, the top first mentioned urgent national concerns are criminality (18%) and workers’ pay (16%). With regard to second mentioned concerns, the principal ones are increasing workers’ pay (17%), controlling inflation (13%), and reducing poverty (12%). And the issues most often cited third by Filipinos are workers’ pay (13%), jobs (12%), corruption (12%), poverty (11%), inflation (9%), and criminality (7%). (Please refer to Table 4.)

No majority concerns are recorded across geographic areas and socio-economic groupings. Metro Manilans are most concerned about workers’ pay (44%), jobs (35%), inflation (34%), and corruption (34%). The top concerns of those in the rest of Luzon are workers’ pay (45%), criminality (35%), and poverty (33%). In the Visayas, the most often cited national concerns are workers’ pay (45%), fighting criminality (40%), and poverty reduction (35%) while in Mindanao, these are workers’ pay (44%), inflation (38%), jobs (35%), poverty (34%), and corruption in government (33%). (Please refer to Table 6.)

The most often mentioned national concerns of those in Class ABC are jobs (39%), workers’ pay (38%), inflation (37%), criminality (34%), corruption (31%), peace (26%), and poverty (23%). In Classes D and E, the leading urgent national concern is increasing workers’ pay (44% and 50%, respectively). In contrast, the common least often cited national concerns in all geographic areas and socio-economic classes are territorial defense (4% to 7% and 4% to 6%, respectively), charter change (3% to 5% and 3% to 4%, respectively), and terrorism (2% to 6% and 2% to 6%, respectively).

The Duterte administration scores majority approval ratings in all but one (1) issue on which it is performance-rated in December 2016

Most Filipinos are appreciative of the Duterte administration’s handling of 11 out of 12 issues included in this survey’s performance probe. These issues are criminality (84%), disaster response (80%), corruption (76%), OFW welfare (75%), peace (72%), environment (69%), rule of law (69%), territorial defense (65%), jobs (58%), workers’ pay (57%), and poverty (51%). It is only on the issue of controlling inflation – an issue considered urgent by 34% of Filipinos – on which the present dispensation fails to obtain a majority approval score (44%). Levels of disapproval for the present administration’s work range from 2% on the issue of responding to the needs of those affected by disasters to 20% on controlling inflation. Meanwhile, Filipinos are least ambivalent about the current dispensation’s efforts to fight criminality (12%) and are most undecided as regards its initiatives to control inflation (36%). (Please refer to Table 7.)

For the most part, public assessment of the administration’s performance remains constant between September and December 2016. The only significant movements are the decline in approval ratings in relation to the latter’s efforts to increase the pay of workers’ (-7 percentage points), control inflation (-7 percentage points), and reduce poverty (-8 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 8.)