Duterte’s ratings a mixed bag in ‘honeymoon’ phase

Posted on February 01, 2017

A “HIGH GRADE with misgivings” is how Social Weather Stations, Inc. (SWS) President Mahar Mangahas calls Rodrigo R. Duterte’s ratings in his “honeymoon” phase, more than six months into his term as Philippine president.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa (R) during a press conference at the Malacanang palace in Manila on January 30, 2017. -- AFP
“It’s a good start except for the misgivings,” Mr. Mangahas said of Mr. Duterte’s ratings which, in the context of previous administrations, is “nothing special.”

The 2017 SWS Survey Review presented at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) showed that while optimism runs high on the Duterte administration, fear still underscores his first six months as president.

“In the campaign against illegal drugs, people are very much afraid of being victimized,” even though the respondents said they were satisfied with Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs, said Mr. Mangahas.

Ateneo de Manila University Sociology Professor Liza L. Lim also attributed this fear to what the public sees through the media.

“It seems that the fear comes primarily from what they read in the media -- drugs, burglary,” Ms. Lim said.

The 2017 SWS Survey Review also showed an overall improvement in public perception of governance since the Aquino administration.

“There is a legacy of the Aquino administration that the new administration should build upon,” Mr. Mangahas said.

Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Professor Albert G. Mateo Jr. said the Duterte administration must take advantage of high economic growth to forward “bold” policies that would further drive this growth.

“We still have a lot to improve on. Use this proper time, when the picture is very rosy, when the sentiment is already there for us to make actions that will actually be beneficial not only for the short term, but actually for the long term so that we can create a more positive environment,” Mr. Mateo said.

According to Mr. Mangahas, while people generally disapprove of the President’s “bad manners,” there still remains high trust in Mr. Duterte.

“It seems that diplomacy does not seem to be an important characteristic of a national leader,” Ms. Lim for her part said.

Meanwhile, the perception of businessmen regarding government corruption has been less under the Aquino administration compared with the Arroyo administration.

“It’s relatively consistent across administrations,” said Ms. Lim. -- Danica M. Uy