Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Analysts point to inflation, rice promise after Marcos, Duterte approval scores plunge

Dwight de Leon

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Analysts point to inflation, rice promise after Marcos, Duterte approval scores plunge

A rice retailer at the Pasay City Public Market on September 5, 2023.


Marcos' approval score, in particular, dropped by 29 percentage points among Class E – the country's poorest

MANILA, Philippines – Political pundits on Tuesday, October 3, attributed to inflation the double-digit plunge in the public approval scores of top government officials in the third quarter of the year.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s approval rating dropped by 15 percentage points to 65%, while Vice President Sara Duterte’s score slid by 11 percentage points to 73%, based on the September survey of pollster Pulse Asia.

“The fall in the approval ratings can be attributed to the rise in the inflation rate to 5.3% as indicated in figures released by the Philippine Statistics Authority in August 2023. The increasing prices of basic commodities is a fundamental concern of the average Filipino,” Dr. Francisco Magno, founding director of La Salle Institute of Governance, told Rappler on Tuesday.

Ateneo de Manila University political science professor Arjan Aguirre said the lower ratings of the two top officials mirrored how much consumers were being affected by the spike in prices.

“The drop only tells us that a substantial portion of our citizens nowadays is already feeling the brunt of the rising prices of commodities and other services,” said Aguirre.

Pulse Asia on Tuesday released the results of another survey that showed majority disapproval of the Marcos government’s efforts to rein in inflation.

Unfulfilled promises may have also hurt the Marcos administration, particularly on the issue concerning the national food staple.

“Making a promise that you would reduce rice to about half of the price ceiling and then being unable to fulfill that promise might lead to more people withdrawing their appreciation of the president’s performance,” Pulse Asia president Ronald Homes said in a CNN Philippines interview on Monday night, October 2.

Asked whether the numbers are a sign for Marcos to pass the Department of Agriculture portfolio to someone else, Holmes said: “The Pesident has many more responsibilities, taking on another portfolio would deflect the attention away from the more particular responsibility. That’s a wise advice to give to the President.”

The survey indicates that majority of the public still appreciates the work put forward by the country’s highest leaders, but analysts say the numbers indicate brewing discontent.

Marcos’ approval score, in particular, dropped by 29 percentage points among Class E – the country’s poorest.

“While both of them still enjoy the support of the majority, this double-digit drop reveals the growing dissatisfaction among their support base,” Aguirre said.

But the President can still bounce back if he sets his priorities straight, according to lawyer and former Ateneo School of Government dean Tony La Viña.

“Having majority support of the people is still something to work on. Let’s not exaggerate this,” he said in an interview with ANC. “Marcos can make up for this by doing the right thing, especially with inflation, especially with agriculture, food, the basic things.”

Aside from Marcos and Duterte, other top leaders lost steam in the recent survey. Speaker Martin Romualdez no longer enjoys approval of the majority after his approval score dropped by 11 percentage points to 41%.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo’s approval rating was also down by 10 percentage points to 34%, and Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri down by six percentage points to 50%.

The survey was conducted from September 10 to 14 among 1,200 respondents, with a margin of error of ± 2.8%. – Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.