By Ray F. Javil, Reporter

Good health, higher salaries top concerns of Filipinos, survey says

Posted on January 14, 2017

GOOD health and higher salaries -- these are the top concerns of Filipinos based on a new survey undertaken by Pulse Asia that was released on Friday.

Conducted from December 6 to 11, the Pulse Asia Ulat ng Bayan survey -- which used face-to-face interviews with 1,200 respondents and has a ±3% error margin at the 95% confidence level -- also listed Filipinos’ top national and personal concerns.

Nearly half of Filipinos -- at 45% -- said that increasing workers’ salaries are their top national concern, followed by controlling inflation as their second national concern at 34%, reducing poverty, third at 33%; fighting criminality, fourth at 33%; and creating more jobs being the fifth at 31%.

Fighting corruption is sixth with 31%, peace promotion is seventh at 23%, enforcement of the rule of law is eighth at 17%, the poll said.

Reduction of taxes is the ninth national concern at 12% and stopping the destruction and abuse of the environment, rounded up the top 10 with 11%.

Protecting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers comes 11th concern with 10%, followed by controlling population growth at 8%, and defending the integrity of Philippine territory at 6%.

Filipinos are least concerned with charter change and terrorism, both at 4%, the poll said.

“During the period of September to December 2016, the only notable movement in these figures is the seven-percentage point decrease in the level of concern about job creation,” the Pulse Asia said.

Meanwhile, the same survey also found that 63% of respondents saying that staying healthy and avoiding illnesses as their most urgent concern at the personal level.

Filipinos’ second personal priority is to have a secure and well-paying job at 44%, finishing schooling or providing schooling for one’s children comes third at 41%, and having enough food to eat on a daily basis comes fourth at 41%.

Avoiding being victimised by crime and having some savings are the fifth personal concerns of Filipinos, both at 38%, and owning a house and lot marked the last personal concern deemed urgent by Filipinos at 34%.

“Year-on-year, the only significant changes in public opinion on this matter are the increase in the level of concern about crime victimization (+8 percentage points) and the decline in the level of concern about schooling (-7 percentage points),” the pollster noted in its report.

The same survey found that the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte has secured majority of Filipinos’ approval in its performance in handling 11 out 12 national issues.

The government’s campaign against criminality got 84% approval rating from Filipinos while only 4% disapproved, while 12% were undecided.

Among other national issues, the Duterte administration won an 80% approval rate in disaster response, 76% in its campaign versus graft and corruption, 75 in protecting overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), 72% in promoting peace, 69% in caring for the environment, 69% in upholding the rule of law, 65% in defending the Philippine territory, 58% in creating more jobs, 57% in increasing the salaries of wokers, and 51% in reducing the poverty.

“It is only on the issue of controlling inflation -- an issue considered urgent by 34% of Filipinos -- on which the present dispensation fails to obtain a majority approval score (44%),” the Pulse Asia said.

Sought for comment, Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar said that the Palace is pleased that 8 out of 10 Filipinos approve the Duterte administration’s fight against criminality.”

“The survey result gives us the reassurance that we are on the right track in putting an end to criminality. Fighting criminality is one of the five most urgent national concerns of Filipinos while avoiding being a victim of any serious crime is one of their five most urgent personal concerns,” said Mr. Andanar in a mobile phone message.

He added that the “fight against drugs and crimes would be relentless and sustained.”

For the 44% approval rate in controlling inflation, Mr. Andanar said that it is “expected” following the inflation uptick in December.

“Price increases were partly due to the holiday season which was pushed up by increases in gasoline. We expect inflation to go higher in early 2017 because of the damage to rice resulting from typhoons Karen, Lawin, and Nina,” he said.

The Duterte administration “is laying the foundations of a sound agriculture and fisheries program, which includes easy access financing program for farmers and fisherfolk; intensive technology updating and sharing, modernization and mechanization program; strategic and effective post-harvest, storage and processing facility, among others”

Sought for comment, Ramon C. Casiple, executive director of Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said in a text message that “people still support his policies. His ratings are actually down, but this is normal for popular presidents at this point of their terms.”