Bayan News

September 2020 Nationwide Survey on the Performance and Trust Ratings of the Top Philippine Government Officials and the Performance Ratings of Key Government Institutions

Pulse Asia Research, Inc. is pleased to share with you some findings on the Performance and Trust Ratings of the Top Philippine Government Officials and the Performance Ratings of Key Government Institutions from the September 2020 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 September 14 to 20, 2020 using face-to-face interviews.

Among the key developments that dominated the news headlines immediately prior to and during the conduct of the interviews for this survey are the following:

1. The resignation of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ricardo Morales on 26 August 2020, amidst allegations of massive corruption within the agency, and the subsequent appointment of ex-National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Dante Gierran as the new head of PhilHealth; President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s marching orders for the latter is to clean up the corruption-ridden agency by December 2020;

2. The release of the initial findings of the Task Force PhilHealth led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) recommending the filing of criminal complaints against several PhilHealth officials including former PhilHealth President and CEO Morales but not against Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III, who is the head of the PhilHealth board, and PhilHealth Senior Vice-President for the Legal Sector Rodolfo del Rosario, Jr.; DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra clarified that the task force will continue its investigations into the matter and this will hopefully uncover other personalities involved in the irregularities who should also be charged;

3. The findings of the Senate Committee of the Whole in connection with its investigation into the alleged irregularities inside PhilHealth and its recommendation to file malversation, graft, and other criminal charges against Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III, former PhilHealth President and CEO Morales, and other health officials; amidst calls for the resignation of DOH Secretary Duque, President Duterte reiterated his expression of trust in the embattled official, a move criticized by Senate President Vicente Sotto III; for its part, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) said that the DOH Secretary is not yet completely “off the hook” as the investigation into the matter is still ongoing;

4. The decision of President Duterte to place Metro Manila under general community quarantine (GCQ) from 01 to 30 September 2020 as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID); also placed under GCQ were Bulacan, Batangas, Tacloban City, and Bacolod City while Iligan City reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) due to the rise in reported COVID-19 cases in the area; the rest of the Philippines remains under modified GCQ status;

5. The signing into law of the “Bayanihan to Recover as One” Act by President Duterte on 11 September 2020; the law extends to 19 December 2020 the special powers granted to the President to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and provides a fund amounting to  P 165.5 billion to address the health crisis; although Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo welcomed the passage of the law, she lamented that the amount allocated for pandemic response remains insufficient and called on the administration to spend more and spend efficiently to help those affected by the health crisis;

6. The claims made by Senators Franklin Drilon and Risa Hontiveros concerning reported irregularities in the procurement of COVID-19 testing kits, medical equipment, and personal protective equipment (PPE) by the Duterte administration; Senator Drilon said P 422 million could have been saved if only the administration exercised due diligence in its purchase of testing kits and medical equipment while Senator Hontiveros claimed that at least P 1 billion may have been lost due to purchases of overpriced PPEs from five (5) Chinese companies instead of local suppliers; DBM Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao denied these allegations and has requested documentary proof to support these “unfair” claims;

7. The issuance of Proclamation No. 1021 on 16 September 2020 that extends the declaration of a state of calamity in the Philippines from 13 September 2020 to 12 September 2021; the initial state of calamity due to the COVID-19 crisis, that lasted for six (6) months, was declared by President Duterte back in March 2020;

8. The disclosure made by Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlo G. Dominguez III before the House Appropriations Committee on 04 September 2020 that government borrowings from local and foreign sources for the period January to July 2020 have reached P 1.86 trillion, an amount almost equal to the total government borrowings for the previous couple of years; the DOF Secretary projects that government borrowings will surpass P 3 trillion by the end of the year, due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic;

9. The deferment of class opening in public schools from 24 August 2020 to 05 October 2020 as recommended by the Department of Education (DepEd) to enable schools and students alike to better prepare for blended learning; the DepEd also announced that 748 private schools have temporarily suspended their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a move affecting 3,233 teachers and 40,345 students; as of 09 September 2020, enrollment in private schools has fallen by more than 50% while enrollment in public schools is lower by 3 million compared to the 27.7 million figure in 2019;

10. The public backlash against the “white sand” beach project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) along a 120-meter strip of Manila Bay that cost the government P 389 million and is supposed to be part of efforts to rehabilitate the area; various environmental groups have warned that the material used for the project could be hazardous to human and marine life while several government officials pointed out that the funds used for the project could have been allocated for more urgent needs such as online learning resources for students and teachers as well as assistance for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; the lack of crowd control and failure to implement strict health protocols during the public launching of the project on 19 September 2020 led to the sacking of the Manila Police District (MPD) officer in charge of the Manila Bay area;

11. The nixing of the move by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to reduce the physical distancing requirement in public utility vehicles from 1 meter to 0.75 meter beginning 14 September 2020 in order to assist in the opening up on the economy; following negative feedback from health experts and other concerned entities, the President decided to retain the 1-meter physical distancing rule in all forms of public transportation across the country;

12. The decision of the IATF-EID to order the closure of cemeteries, columbariums, and memorial parks nationwide from 29 October to 04 November 2020 nationwide in order to control the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country; and

13. The deportation of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton on 13 September 2020 after President Duterte granted him absolute pardon in connection with the killing of Jeffrey “Jennifer” Lauder in October 2014; contrary to the claim of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who served as the Laude family’s legal counsel during the trial, that Lance Cpl. Pemberton will face court martial proceedings in the US, a US Marine Corps representative clarified that the latter will not face a second trial upon his arrival in the US but will instead be processed for administrative discharge.

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 +/- 2.8% error margin at the 95% confidence level.  Subnational estimates for the geographic areas covered in the survey have the following error margins at 95% confidence level:  +/- 5.7% for Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Those interested in further technical details may refer to our website (www.pulseasia.ph)

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 Ana Maria Tabunda, Research Director of Pulse Asia Research at 09189436816 or Ronald D. Holmes,  Pulse Asia Research President via Viber or Telegram at +639189335497 or at ronald.holmes@gmail.com (via email.).

Most Filipinos are appreciative of the work done by four (4) of the country’s leading government officials; public assessment of these officials’ performance is essentially unchanged between December 2019 and September 2020

Amidst the continuing COVID-19 pandemic in the country, small to huge majority approval ratings are scored by President Rodrigo R. Duterte (91%), Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo (57%), Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III (84%), and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (70%). Only Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta fails to obtain a majority approval score (44%). These top officials’ disapproval ratings vary from 5% for President Duterte to 22% for Vice-President Robredo. Meanwhile, Filipinos are most ambivalent about the work of the Supreme Court Chief Justice (37%) and least undecided as regards the work of the President (5%). (Please refer to Table 1.)

Majority approval ratings across geographic areas and socio-economic classes are enjoyed by President Duterte (88% to 97% and 88% to 95%, respectively), Senate President Sotto (80% to 86% to 73% to 88%, respectively), and House Speaker Cayetano (62% to 88% and 68% to 79%, respectively). For her part, Vice-President Robredo has majority approval scores in most areas and every socio-economic grouping (54% to 67% and 55% to 62%, respectively), with Metro Manilans withholding such a rating (48%). In the case of Supreme Court Chief Justice Peralta, he posts majority approval figures in Metro Manila (55%), Mindanao (52%), and Class E (61%) while he registers practically or exactly the same approval and indecision levels in the rest of Luzon (37% versus 33%), the Visayas (43% versus 43%), Class ABC (44% versus 40%), and Class D (41% versus 38%). (Please refer to Table 2.)

During the period December 2019 to September 2020, the only notable changes in these top government officials’ performance ratings are recorded by Vice-President Robredo and House Speaker Cayetano. The former’s approval rating goes up among Visayans (+13 percentage points) while the latter experiences several movements in his own ratings and these are: (1) a 10-percentage point drop in his approval score at the national level; (2) the decline in his approval ratings in the rest of Luzon, the Visayas, and Class D (-12 to -19 percentage points); (3) an increase in the level of appreciation for his legislative performance among Metro Manilans (+13 percentage points); and (4) a rise in his indecision figure in the Visayas (+15 percentage points). There are no comparative data for Supreme Court Chief Justice Peralta since this is the first time he is included in the Ulat ng Bayan survey. (Please refer to Table 3.)

Trust is the predominant sentiment toward President Duterte (91%), Senate President Sotto (79%), and House Speaker Cayetano (67%); marked movements occur in the trust ratings of the top Philippine government officials over the period December 2019 to September 2020

Sizeable to big majority trust ratings are enjoyed by President Duterte (91%), Senate President Sotto (79%), and House Speaker Cayetano (67%) while half of Filipinos (50%) express trust in Vice-President Robredo. Basically the same percentages of Filipinos either trust Supreme Court Chief Justice Peralta (39%) or are unable to say whether they trust or distrust him (42%). Levels of distrust in these government officials range from 3% for President Duterte to 22% for Vice-President Robredo. Indecision toward the trustworthiness of these entities range from 6% for the President to 42% for the Supreme Court Chief Justice. (Please refer to Table 4.)

In the different geographic areas and socio-demographic classes, majority levels of trust are posted by President Duterte (89% to 95% and 81% to 96%, respectively), Senate President Sotto (67% to 86% and 70% to 84%, respectively), and House Speaker Cayetano (62% to 76% and 66% to 74%, respectively). Trust is the majority sentiment toward the Vice-President in the Visayas (66%) and Classes ABC and E (54% to 60%). Half of those in the rest of Luzon (50%) and nearly half of those belonging to Class D (48%) trust Vice-President Robredo. About the same percentages of Metro Manilans either trust the latter (44%) or express ambivalence on the matter of trusting or distrusting her (38%). As for Mindanawons, nearly the same percentages either trust or distrust the Vice-President (40% versus 37%). For Supreme Court Chief Justice Peralta, his only majority trust rating (57%) is granted by those in Class E. The latter has essentially the same trust and indecision figures in all geographic areas (33% to 47% versus 38% to 49%) and Classes ABC and D (36% versus 44% to 45%). (Please refer to Table 5.)

Trust in President Duterte becomes more notable between December 2019 and September 2020 not only at the national level (+8 percentage points) but also in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon (+12 to +14 percentage points). Vice-President Robredo’s trust scores go up in Metro Manila and the Visayas (+12 to +16 percentage points) but the reverse takes place in Mindanao (-14 percentage points). Meanwhile, distrust in the Vice-President eases in Metro Manila (-12 percentage points) but comes more manifest in Mindanao (+12 percentage points). Indecision toward the trustworthiness of Senate President Sotto becomes more pronounced in Mindanao (+12 percentage points). In the case of House Speaker Cayetano, his overall trust rating declines (-9 percentage points) while similar movements are recorded in the Visayas, Mindanao, and Class D (-9 to -17 percentage points). Conversely, indecision on the matter of trusting or distrusting the latter becomes more marked in these subgroupings (+15 to +16 percentage points). (Please refer to Table 6.)

The Congress and the Supreme Court post majority approval figures in September 2020 (61% to 71%); few changes may be noted in these government institutions’ performance ratings between December 2019 and September 2020

Most Filipinos approve of the work of the Senate (71%), the House of Representatives (65%), and the Supreme Court (61%) in the previous quarter. Virtually the same disapproval ratings are obtained by these key government institutions (9% to 11%) while their respective indecision figures range from 19% for the Senate to 29% for the Supreme Court. Across geographic areas and socio-economic groupings, appreciation is the majority opinion toward the performance of the Senate (66% to 78% and 69% to 80%, respectively), the House of Representatives (58% to 75% and 64% to 69%, respectively), and the Supreme Court (56% to 76% and 59% to 73%, respectively). (Please refer to Table 7.)

The performance ratings of the Congress and the Supreme Court are nearly constant during the period December 2019 to September 2020 both at the national level and across geographic areas and socio-economic groupings. The only exceptions to this overall observation are the: (1) rise in the Senate’s approval rating (+14 percentage points) and decline in its indecision figure (-13 percentage points) in the Visayas and (2) increase in the level of approval for the Supreme Court’s performance (+13 percentage points) among Mindanawons. (Please refer to Table 8.)