Pulse Asia Research, Inc. is pleased to share with you some findings on COVID-19 from the November 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 November 23 – December 2, 2020 using face-to-face interviews.
The following are only some of the key developments that took place immediately prior to and during the conduct of the interviews for the present survey:
1. The series of typhoons that hit various parts of the country in November 2020; the more serious of these weather disturbances are Super Typhoon Rolly, which made landfall four (4) times on 01 November 2020 (i.e., in Catanduanes, Albay, Quezon, and Batangas), and Typhoon Ulysses, which made landfall three (3) times in various parts of Quezon on 11-12 November 2020; the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) estimates that Super Typhoon Rolly resulted in 25 deaths and damages to infrastructure and agriculture amounting to about P 13B and P 5B, respectively; the agency also reported 101 deaths in the aftermath of Typhoon Ulysses as well as damages to infrastructure and agriculture totaling around P 13B and P 7B, respectively;
2. The massive flooding in the Cagayan Valley region due in part to the series of typhoons that hit the country one after the other that caused, in turn, the rise in water levels of the Magat Dam and the Cagayan River; President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared a state of calamity in Luzon in order to “hasten the rescue, relief, and rehabilitation efforts” in the areas affected by the typhoons and flooding and ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to investigate mining and logging activities in Cagayan Valley that may have contributed to the disastrous situation;
3. The release of the data from Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine trials showing that the vaccines against COVID-19 developed by these pharmaceutical companies are 90% and 94.5% effective, respectively; the United Kingdom (UK) was the first country to issue an emergency use authorization for the vaccine while in the Philippines, the President also issued an order on 02 December 2020 that grants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to allow emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments after a one-month review process instead of the usual six-month review period;
4. The designation of retired Army General Carlito Galvez, Jr. as the country’s vaccine czar who will be responsible for all matters related to the acquisition, distribution, and administration of COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines; the latter said the “realistic” rollout of vaccines in the country is end of 2021 or early 2022 while the best case scenario is second quarter of 2021; the country’s mass vaccination program is expected to last from three (3) to five (5) years;
5. The call made by several senators to block the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC), an agency attached to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), from being the entity primarily responsible for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines amounting to P 20B in light of its poor handling of the purchase of equipment and supplies urgently needed by frontline government agencies and calamity victims; a Commission on Audit (COA) report shows that as of December 2019, public funds amounting to P 33B were sitting idly in PITC bank accounts instead of being used for the procurement of goods for agencies; following the exposé on the matter by Senator Franklin Drilon, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III requested the transfer of PITC funds and the interest earned from these funds to the national treasury to augment the government’s budget for its COVID-19 response and disaster relief efforts, a request granted by the DTI;
6. The approval by the Senate on third and final reading of the 2021 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) on 26 November 2020; the proposed national budget amounts to P 45T and includes bigger allocations for health, social welfare, disaster response, education, and COVID-19-related initiatives; the Senate and the House of Representatives, which approved the GAB on 16 October 2020, began their bicameral deliberations on the legislative measure on 01 December 2020;
7. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit hosted by Malaysia and held virtually on 20 November 2020 during which the member-states affirmed their determination to, among others, cooperate with each other to “successfully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts”; during the meeting, President Duterte called on his fellow chief executives to ensure universal access to COVID-19 vaccines and that no one will be left behind on the road to recovery from the pandemic;
8. The warning issued by President Duterte that many corrupt government officials will lose their jobs in December 2020 as part of his administration’s anti-corruption campaign during the remaining years of his term; the Task Force Against Corruption, created by the President to lead the campaign and headed by Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra, began receiving complaints against erring officials and agencies on 06 November 2020; a reward of P 50,000 to P 100,000 was offered by President Duterte to anyone who can provide information about government officials engaged in anomalous activities; the DOJ Secretary said no entity will be spared from scrutiny and even the Office of the Vice-President will be investigated if any complaint will be filed against it;
9. The disclosure made by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that it has blacklisted 25 “non-performing or scheming” contractors since 2016 and it will conduct biddings for its procurements via livestream to enable the general public to observe the proceedings; meanwhile, the Philippines failed to pass the “Control of Corruption” indicator in the scorecard used by the Millenium Challenge Corp. (MCC), a United States (US) government foreign aid agency, and as such, it will not be able to avail of any grants from the agency in 2021;
10. The appointment of Major General Debold Sinas as the new Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief effective 10 November 2020; the latter was involved in a controversy in May 2020 when he had a surprise birthday party inside Camp Bagong Diwa despite the government regulation against holding public gatherings under the prevailing quarantine status in Metro Manila; the President’s marching order for the new PNP Chief is for him to get tougher on illegal drugs and the communist insurgency;
11. The continuation of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status of Metro Manila, Batangas, Lanao del Sur, and Davao del Norte until 31 December 2020 due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in these areas; all other parts of the country are under Modified GCQ (MGCQ) status until the end of the year; meanwhile, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said it expects a sharp decline in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) this year due to the quarantine restrictions that have already resulted in a GDP contraction of 11.5% in the third quarter of 2020; and
12. The presidential election in the United States (US) held on 03 November 2020; due to the close races in several states such as Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, it was not until 07 November 2020 that the country’s major media networks called the election in favor of former US Vice-President Joseph R. Biden and California Senator Kamala Harris; US President Donald J. trump decried what he alleged to be widespread electoral fraud and refused to concede while the General Services Administration (GSA) withheld the $ 7.3M in transition funding that the president-elect’s team is entitled to before finally releasing such funds on 23 November 2020.
This nationwide survey is based on a sample of 2,400 representative adults 18 years old and above. It has a ± 2% 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 ± 4% error margin, also at 95% confidence level. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org (via email).
Nearly all Filipino adults (94%) are concerned about contracting COVID-19
In November 2020, the predominant sentiment among Filipino adults is one of concern about getting ill due to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 (94%). Essentially the same figures are recorded across geographic areas and socio-economic classes (92% to 99% and 91% to 95%, respectively). In particular, vast majorities at the national level (74%) and in the different areas and classes (71% to 86% and 73% to 79%, respectively) are very much worried that they or any member of their household will contract COVID-19. The rest of Filipino adults are either not worried about getting sick with COVID-19 (3%) or are unable to say if they are worried or not worried (3%). (Please refer to Table 1.)
The most common measures taken by Filipino adults to avoid contracting COVID-19 are regular handwashing (71%) and use of face mask (66%)
At the personal level, Filipino adults are taking various precautions so they will not get sick with COVID-19. Most Filipino adults clean their hands on a regular basis (71%) and use face masks (66%). These measures are taken by majorities across geographic areas (63% to 75% and 60% to 74%, respectively) and socio-economic groupings (64% to 73% and 65% to 70%, respectively). A second set of precautions done by Filipino adults includes staying at home unless a trip outside is necessary (32%) and observing social distancing (30%). Using face shields (20%) and avoiding crowded places (20%) comprise a third group of measures while a fourth set includes praying (14%), avoiding people who are sick (13%), and taking vitamins (13%). The least often mentioned measures done by Filipino adults to avoid contracting COVID-19 are covering their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing (9%), avoiding domestic travel (7%), consulting a doctor or a healthcare provider when not feeling well (4%), and avoiding international travel (1%). (Please refer to Table 2.)
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, small majorities lost their job or source of income (58%), became closer to their family members (55%), or experienced emotional problems (51%)
The most often cited impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of Filipino adults are losing a job or a source of income (58%), becoming closer to members of their family (55%), and experiencing emotional problems such as stress or extreme sadness (51%). Meanwhile, a big plurality of Filipino adults (44%) say their salary or income decreased due to the pandemic. In addition, 16% experienced mental health problems like depression. The other effects of the pandemic that are cited by Filipino adults are getting a job or having a source of income (7%), getting stranded in another place or province for more than a month (6%), an increase in their salary or income (4%), and becoming severely ill (2%). On the other hand, 5% of Filipino adults did not experience any of the personal effects of the pandemic that are listed in the present survey. (Please refer to Table 3.)
Small to sizeable majorities in Metro Manila, Luzon, and Classes D and E lost their job or source of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (58% to 64%), became closer to their family members (52% to 56%), and experienced emotional problems (52% to 68%). In Mindanao, the majority responses are becoming closer to their family members (64%), losing a job or a source of income (61%), and experiencing a reduction in salary or income (57%). These are also the top responses in the Visayas although they are each cited by less than half of the area’s adult residents (42% to 49%). And most Filipino adults belonging to Class ABC say they became closer to their family members due to the pandemic (59%) and they lost a job or a source of income (53%).
Awareness of the development of COVID-19 vaccines is reported by 95% of Filipino adults; a near majority of Filipino adults (47%) would not get vaccinated against COVID-19, with the top reason to explain this disinclination being their concern about the safety of such vaccines (84%)
At the national level (95%) as well as across geographic areas and socio-economic groupings (93% to 96% and 91% to 96%, respectively), awareness of the development of COVID-19 vaccines is virtually universal. However, willingness to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is expressed by only about a third of Filipino adults (32%). Almost half of Filipino adults (47%) are not inclined to get the COVID-19 vaccine while the rest (21%) are ambivalent on the matter of being vaccinated or not. Near to small majorities in the rest of Luzon (46%), the Visayas (55%), and Classes D and E (46% and 56%, respectively) would not get vaccinated against COVID-19. In Metro Manila, Mindanao, and Class ABC, practically the same percentages say either they would or would not get vaccinated (33% to 40% versus 41% to 48%). (Please refer to Table 4.)
Concern about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines is the leading reason why almost half of Filipino adults are not willing to get vaccinated (84%). In the various areas and classes, this is the prevailing sentiment among those disinclined to be vaccinated (79% to 89% and 79% to 87%, respectively). The other reasons are each cited by at most 7% of Filipino adults who are against being vaccinated – the vaccines might not be free (7%), vaccination is not required to combat COVID-19 (5%), and the vaccines might be expensive (4%). (Please refer to Table 5.)
 This question required survey respondents to choose at most three (3) responses from a list of nine (9) personal consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Survey respondents were also allowed to provide other responses that are not included in the said list.