Aquino gov't approval rating drops on 4 issues
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – While President Benigno Aquino III has suffered his lowest national approval rating as chief executive over the Mamasapano incident, public assessment of his administration’s work on key concerns remains "largely unchanged," the results of a nationwide poll showed.
Pulse Asia Research’s March 2015 Nationwide Survey on Urgent National Concerns and the Performance Ratings of the National Administration on Selected Issues also showed that the Aquino administration has failed to score a majority approval rating on the 12 national issues performance-rated in the poll.
“For the most part, the performance ratings of the Aquino administration in March 2015 do not differ significantly from those recorded 4 months ago,” Dr Ana Maria Tabunda, Pulse Asia Research Director, said in a statement on Tuesday, March 24.
Tabunda, however, cited a few “exceptions” to this observation, based on the results of the survey conducted from March 1-7, or prior to the release of the final reports of the police Board of Inquiry and the Senate on the Mamasapano incident:
- Decline in approval for the administration’s initiatives to defend national territorial integrity against foreigners (-7 percentage points)
- Decrease in the level of ambivalence regarding its work in the area of enforcing the law equally on all citizens (-8 percentage points)
- Increase in disapproval for its efforts to enforce the rule of law (+8 percentage points)
- Increase in disapproval for its efforts to promote peace (+8 percentage points)
On government efforts to promote peace in the country, public approval decreased from 45% in March from 40% in November 2014, while disapproval increased by 8 percentage points, or to 29% from 21% over the same period.
The survey results also showed that the number of Filipinos who cited the urgency of “increasing peace in the country” rose by 3 percentage points – to 22% in March from 19% in November 2014.
Controlling inflation, still the top concern
Tabunda said Filipinos continued to be “most concerned about economic-related issues” – controlling inflation (46%), increasing workers’ pay (44%), and fighting corruption in government (40%) remained as the top 3 urgent national concerns of Filipinos.
Responding to the survey results, Malacañang it would step up efforts to address the public’s top 3 urgent concerns.
“In the next 15 months, the administration will intensify efforts at job creation while maintaining fiscal discipline in order to rein in inflation. Good governance is imperative in achieving inclusive growth,” said Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.
Next in line are poverty reduction (37%), job creation (34%), criminality (22%), peace (22%), and rule of law (19%), the survey results showed.
“Filipinos are least concerned about environmental degradation (13%), population control (9%), national territorial integrity (5%), terrorism (5%), and charter change (4%). These overall figures are essentially the same as those recorded by Pulse Asia Research a year ago as well as in November 2014,” Tabunda said.
She said that in different geographic areas, a majority of residents cited only two issues as urgent national concerns – inflation, 52% in Mindanao; and low workers’ pay, 53% in the Visayas.
“In Metro Manila, the most often mentioned urgent national concerns are low workers’ pay (41%), inflation (43%), and corruption (49%). And in the rest of Luzon, the top concerns deemed urgent by residents are creating more jobs (37%), fighting governmental corruption (38%), reducing poverty (41%), controlling inflation (44%), and increasing the pay of workers (48%),” Tabunda said.
Among socio-economic classes, those in Class ABC expressed most concern about corruption in government (37%), poverty (37%), low workers’ pay (42%), and inflation (49%).
In Class D, the leading urgent national concerns are low workers’ pay (43%), corruption (43%), and inflation (45%); while those in the poorest Class E are most concerned about poverty (41%), job creation (42%), low workers’ pay (46%), and inflation (47%), Tabunda said.
She said that across all geographic areas and socio-economic classes, “the least often cited urgent national concerns are territorial integrity (3% to 7% and 4% to 6%, respectively), terrorism (3% to 8% and 4% to 7%, respectively), and charter change (3% to 6% and 4% to 5%, respectively).:
“Less than one in 10 of those in Mindanao (7%) and the Visayas (9%), and Classes D and E (9% and 8%, respectively) expresses concern as regards rapid population growth while only 7% of those in Class ABC are concerned about environmental degradation,” Tabunda said.
‘Near majority ratings’ on 7 urgent concerns
The survey results showed that the Aquino administration obtained “big plurality to near majority approval ratings” on 7 out of 12 national issues:
- Promoting peace in the country (40%)
- Enforcing the rule of law (41%)
- Fighting governmental corruption (42%)
- Defending national territorial integrity vs foreigners (43%)
- Fighting criminality (45%)
- Protecting the environment (48%)
- Addressing the needs of calamity victims (49%)
"In contrast, disapproval is the plurality sentiment as far as the administration’s efforts to reduce poverty and control inflation are concerned (40% and 41%, respectively)," Tabunda said.
During the survey period, the dominant headlines were on the January 25 clash between police troopers and combined elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and private armies in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
The incident sparked public outrage that pulled down Aquino’s public approval and trust ratings to their lowest, spurred calls for the President’s resignation, and imperilled the peace talks between the government and the MILF. (READ: FULL TEXT: Senate report on Mamasapano and FULL TEXT: PNP report on Mamasapano)
Other related issues include the resignation of Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima over his role in the Mamasapano operation, and the Supreme Court’s decision to partially grant the government appeal on the Development Acceleration Program (DAP).
During this time, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee resumed its hearings on corruption allegations against Vice President Jejomar Binay, Manila Electric Company (Meralco) customers paid more in February, and Aquino signed into law the bill raising the tax exemption ceiling on bonuses to P82,000.
The nationwide survey, conducted among 1,200 representative adults, has a ± 3% error margin at the 95% confidence level. Subnational estimates for the geographic areas covered in the survey have a ± 6% error margin, also at 95% confidence level.
Pulse Asia said that “no religious, political, economic, or partisan group influenced” its survey process, which if conducted on its own “without any party singularly commissioning the research effort.” – Rappler.com