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By Kathryn Mae P. Tubadeza, Reporter


Satisfaction with Aquino gov’t steady




Posted on January 21, 2016


PUBLIC satisfaction with the performance of the national government steadied last quarter from the preceding three months, although the latest reading was the best in nearly two years, according to results of the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

Results of a Dec. 5-8 survey among 1,200 adults nationwide -- with sampling error margins of ±3 points for national percentages and ±6 points each for Metro Manila, “Balance Luzon,” the Visayas and Mindanao -- found 61% satisfied, 16% undecided and 23% dissatisfied with the national government’s general performance.

This yielded a net satisfaction rating (% satisfied against % dissatisfied) of a “good” +39 that was two points above the “good” +37 notched in September last year and highest since the “good” +45 recorded in the March 2014 survey.

SWS classifies net satisfaction scores of +70 and above as “excellent”; +50 to +69 as “very good”; +30 to +49, “good”; +10 to +29, “moderate”; +9 to -9, “neutral”; -10 to -29, “poor”; -30 to -49, “bad”; -50 to -69, “very bad”; as well as -70 and below, “execrable.”

The survey group considers any movement from one classification to another as either an “upgrade” or a “downgrade.”


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‘BASICALLY... UNCHANGED’
Sought for comment, Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma, Jr. said in a text message on Wednesday: “We are gratified by public affirmation and this prods government to intensify efforts to fully implement the reform and development programs that promote the well being of our people.”

However, a political analyst noted that the improvement in government’s net satisfaction was not “significant.”

“Basically, it’s unchanged kasi two points lang ang tinaas (because the reading gained by just two points),” Edmund S. Tayao, political science professor at the University of Santo Tomas, said in a phone interview.

“It is important to note that since Mamasapano massacre, the rating has not improved significantly,” Mr. Tayao noted, referring to the costly anti-terrorist operation in Maguindanao on Jan. 25 last year that killed 44 police commandos, some rebels and a few civilians.

President Benigno S. C. Aquino III himself has never fully recovered public trust on that count since then, and an impending fresh Senate probe on the incident -- called purportedly in the light of still-undisclosed reports that Mr. Aquino knew that the commandos were under attack but did nothing to help them -- threatens the presidential ambitions of ruling party standard bearer Manuel A. Roxas II, who had served as Interior and Local Government secretary with nominal supervision of the national police at the time of the operation but who was reportedly kept out of the loop.

“It only goes to show that the performance rating has not recovered since,” Mr. Tayao said.

In the first quarter of 2015, satisfaction with the Aquino government slumped a grade and 15 points to a “moderate” +19 following the Mamasapano raid from a “good” +34 logged in the December 2014 survey.

Mr. Tayao said a significant change is not expected in current surveys “because in the first place there’s no major development, there’s no reason for it to improve.”

At the same time, he cited a few issues that the government has yet to address. “MRT (Metro Rail Transit) is supposed to be improving, there should be new coaches, we can only expect some... positive changes if at least some of these promises are met,” he said.

BOOST FROM METRO MANILA, VISAYAS
In terms of geographic area, the national administration’s net satisfaction jumped a grade and 18 points to a “very good” +52 in the Visayas from a “good” +34 last September. It was the area’s best reading since September 2013’s “very good” +60.

Net satisfaction rating similarly rose by a grade and 12 points to a “good” +36 in Metro Manila, from a “moderate” +24 in September. That was the same as the reading in September 2014 and the national capital’s highest since March 2014’s +37.

It stayed “good” in Mindanao (up just two points to +36 from +34, the highest since December 2014’s +43) and “good” in Balance Luzon (though down nine points to +35 from +44).

In terms of socioeconomic class, satisfaction with the Aquino government, stayed “good” in Class D (“hardly moving” to +39 from +38, though the latest reading was the highest since March 2014’s +45) and E (+44 from +40, the best since March 2014’s +48). It stayed “moderate” in Class ABC (+23 from +21).

ISSUES
Rated against 14 issues, the government scored:

• “good” in four issues (helping the poor, foreign relations, promoting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers, and defending the country’s territorial rights);

• “moderate” in restoring peace to Mindanao;

• “neutral” in eight issues (fighting terrorism, rehabilitating areas damaged by conflict in Mindanao, reconciliation with Muslim rebels, fighting crimes, ensuring that no family will ever be hungry, reconciliation with communist rebels, eradication of graft and corruption, and fighting inflation); and

• “very bad” in resolving with justice the 2009 Maguindanao massacre of media workers and relatives of a local political candidate.

It fell by a grade and five points to “neutral” +7 in fighting terrorism and down 16 points to a “neutral” -1 in eradicating graft and corruption.

Net rating also fell by a grade and 10 points to a “very bad” -57 in resolving the Maguindanao massacre case with justice.