By Corina Oliquino | FilAm Star Correspondent
MANILA – In the latest Ulat ng Bayan survey conducted from September 25 to October 1 by ¬-workers’ pay more than the current administration’s fight against criminality specifically illegal drugs.
The survey showed that nearly half of Filipinos want the Duterte administration to immediately address the increase of workers’ pay while a second set of national concerns deemed urgent by Filipinos were creating more jobs (38 percent), controlling inflation (37 percent), fighting corruption in government (32 percent), reducing poverty (32 percent), and fighting criminality (31 percent).
Third set of most often urgent national concerns mentioned by Filipinos were promoting peace in the country (20 percent) and enforcing the rule of law (14 percent). Fourth cluster or set of concerns were reducing the amount of taxes paid by citizens (12 percent), protecting the environment (10 percent), controlling rapid population growth (9 percent), and protecting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (8 percent).
“In contrast, Filipinos are least concerned about terrorism (5 percent), national territorial integrity (5 percent), and charter change (2 percent),” the Pulse Asia survey said.
“Between July and September 2016, levels of public concern for various issues remain essentially constant. The only significant movement during this period is the drop in the percentage of Filipinos who identify criminality as an urgent national concern (-21 percentage points). The other changes are marginal in nature, including the increase in the level of concern for workers’ pay and job creation (both at +6 percentage points),” Pulse Asia said.
As per geographic areas and socio-economic groupings, Pulse Asia tallied that the only majority urgent concern is workers’ pay, which attributed to 53 percent of respondents belonging to the poorest Class E.
For the rest of Luzon and Class D, increase in workers’ pay is at 45 to 49 percent and job creation at 38 percent while Metro Manilans are most concerned about workers’ pay by 46 percent, job creation (35 percent), corruption (35 percent), and criminality (32 percent).
Visayans meanwhile are most concerned about workers’ pay by 45 percent, job creation (39 percent), and corruption (33 percent).
“In Mindanao, the most often mentioned concerns are inflation (48 percent), workers’ pay (41 percent), and job creation (40 percent). And among those in the best-off Class ABC, their top concerns are inflation (38 percent), workers’ pay (37 percent), corruption (37 percent), criminality (37 percent), job creation (28 percent), peace (27 percent), poverty (24 percent), taxation (20 percent), and population growth (15 percent),” Pulse Asia said.
“On the other hand, Filipinos in all geographic areas and socio-economic grouping are least concerned about preparing to successfully face terroristic threats (4 to 6 percent and 2 to 6 percent, respectively), defending national territorial integrity against foreigners (4 to 6 percent and 1 to 6 percent, respectively), and amending the 1987 Philippine Constitution (1 to 4 percent and 2 to 5 percent, respectively),” Pulse Asia noted.
According to news.abs-cbn.com, only 31 percent out of the 1,200 respondents surveyed want the Duterte administration to focus on fighting criminality and is now only the sixth most urgent national concern for the public – a 21-point decrease from the 52 percent recorded in the same Pulse Asia survey in July 2016.
Majority approval scores for Duterte administration
According to Pulse Asia, the Duterte administration enjoys majority approval scores of 51 percent to 89 percent on all 12 issues the administration was performance-rated in September 2016, with levels of approval range from 51 percent (directly attributed to the government’s effort to control inflation) and 89 percent (for the government’s anti-crime initiatives).
“In contrast, Filipinos are most critical of its work in the area of controlling the spiraling cost of goods (17 percent) and least inclined to disapprove of its efforts to fight criminality (3 percent). Ambivalence levels vary from 8 percent to the current administration’s work in the area of fighting criminality to 32 percent for its efforts to control inflation,” Pulse Asia said.
The following were the scores that the Duterte administration tallied in the performance-rate survey prepared by Pulse Asia:
• Fighting criminality – 89%
• Fighting graft and corruption in the government – 79%
• Increasing peace in the country – 76%
• Responding to the needs of areas affected by calamities – 74%
• Protecting the welfare of OFWs -73% • Enforcing the law on all, whether influential or ordinary people – 71%
• Stopping the destruction and abuse of our environment – 68%
• Defending the integrity of Philippine territory against foreigners – 67%
• Improving/Increasing the pay of workers – 64%
• Creating more jobs – 62%
• Reducing the poverty of many Filipinos – 59%
• Controlling inflation – 51%
“A little more than a quarter of Filipinos (27.4 percent) consider peace and order as the local issue which should be acted upon by the present dispensation at once. Meanwhile, four local issues comprise a second set of urgent local concerns cited by Filipinos – public infrastructure improvements (13.2 percent), employment (11.9 percent), waste management and sanitation (11.2 percent), and access to a sufficient and reliable water supply (9.9 percent). Other local issues identified by at least 1 percent of Filipinos are flooding (6.0 percent), health-related concerns (4.4 percent), traffic (2.9 percent), agriculture (2.0 percent), low cost housing/relocation (1.5 percent), access to electricity (1.1 percent), and governance (1.1 percent). Additionally, 4.7 percent of Filipinos do not mention any issues in their place or community which should be immediately addressed by the Duterte administration,” Pulse Asia said.
The Ulat ng Bayan survey was conducted by using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 respondents with ± 3 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level and 12 dominating national issues and concerns that headlines the days in which the survey was done.
Some of the headlines mentioned in the survey are as follows:
• The initial testimony of Edgar Matobato, an alleged hitman and member of the so-called Davao Death Squad in which Matobato linked President Duterte to the alleged extra-judicial killing of 1,000 criminal suspects and political opponents of the then Mayor of Davao City.
• Concerns expressed by international agencies and bodies such as the United Nations, foreign leaders specifically the United States and the European Union against the increasing number of drug-related deaths and extra-judicial killings in the country.
• The ouster of Sen. Leila De Lima as the chairman of the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee which probed the increasing extra-judicial killings in the country and was replaced by Sen. Richard Gordon.
• The apology issued by President Duterte to the Jewish Communities around the world following his controversial Hitler remarks – citing references about the Nazi leader and the Holocaust in talking about his administration’s war against illegal drugs.
• The death of Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago; the investigation of the Lower House concerning the proliferation of illegal drugs at the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) and the reported links of Sen. de Lima when she was the Justice Secretary; the release of another drug list by President Duterte which contains names of 40 local judges and some Chinese nationals; and the 7-year dip of the peso against dollar which Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno attributed to the strengthening of the dollar and the interest rates by the U.S. Fed and not because of the controversial remarks by President Duterte against the U.S.