Top Story

Filipinos still bullish -- SWS survey

Posted on August 03, 2015

MANY Filipinos expect quality of life and the general economy to get better in the next 12 months, even as fewer felt their lives improved over the past year, according to a new report of the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Click to enlarge

The second-quarter SWS survey conducted June 5-8 among 1,200 adults nationwide -- with sampling error margins of 3 points for national percentages and 6 points each for Metro Manila, “Balance of Luzon,” the Visayas and Mindanao -- also found that, among others:

a significant improvement in personal optimism among respondents in the E socioeconomic class offset a dip among those in the ABC segment;

net optimism about the economy in the year ahead improved across classes; and

net optimism about the economy was actually halved in Metro Manila, but this deterioration was offset by significant improvements in Luzon areas outside the capital and in Mindanao.

The survey found 42% of respondents (flat from March, the same level as in June 1997 and the highest since September 1992’s 44%) expected their quality of life to improve in the next 12 months (“optimists”) and 6% (from 5% in March) expected it to get worse (“pessimists”), yielding a net personal optimism score of +36 (the difference of “optimists” over “pessimists”), classified by SWS as “very high” that was steady from March’s “very high” net +37.

SWS’ net personal optimism scale classifies scores of +30 and above as “very high”; those of +20 to +29 as “high”; the range of +10 to +19 that contains the historical median and mode -- or what is normally expected -- as “fair”; +1 to +9 as “mediocre” since any score within this range is below the median or what is normally expected; scores of zero to -- 9 as “low”; and those -- 10 and below are “very low.”

SWS considers movement from one classification to another as either an upgrade or downgrade.

The survey also found that 31% (from 27% in March) expected the general economy to get better over the following year and 15% (from 20%) felt it would deteriorate, yielding a “very high” net optimism about the economy score of +15 that was one grade up and a nine-point increase from March’s “high” +6.

“In the case of net optimism about the economy, the most common answers, historically speaking, have been highly negative,” SWS noted in a summary of its survey findings.

SWS classifies scores of -- 30 and below as “very low,” -- 20 to -- 29 as “low,” -- 10 to -- 19 as “mediocre,” assigns “fair” to -- 9 to zero “since a slightly negative score is already better than normal,” +1 to +9 as “high” and +10 and above as “very high.”

At the same time, however, the ranks of respondents who felt their lives had improved in the past 12 months (“gainers”) thinned, with those saying so at 28% (from 32% in March) and those saying their lives worsened (“losers”) steady at 26%, still yielding a “high” net gainers score of +3 (the difference of “gainers” and “losers,” correctly rounded).

SWS uses the same grading system for net gainers and net optimism about the economy.

While June’s reading was a three-point decline from March’s “high” +6, SWS noted it was the only fourth time it has been positive since the series began in April 1984.

The same survey also found that, in terms of net personal optimism, a five-point gain in Mindanao (at a “very high” +40) and a one-point increase in the Visayas (“high” at + 29) matched three-point drops each in Metro Manila (“very high” +36) and “Balance Luzon” (“very high” +37).

Compared to March, net personal optimism stayed “very high” across classes, seeing its biggest improvement -- an 11-point rise -- among respondents belonging to segment E (+39) that offset three- and four-point declines among those in D (+35) and ABC (+37), respectively.

The nine-point increase in national net optimism about the economy was due to increases of 15 points in “Balance Luzon” (to a “very high” +17 in June from +2 in March), 14 points in Mindanao (to a “very high” +19 from +5) and one point in the Visayas (staying “very high” and “hardly moving” to +14 from +13) that offset a seven-point fall in Metro Manila (to a “high” +7 from a “very high” +14).

Among classes, net optimism about the economy rose by one grade and 12 points to a “very high” +21 in June from a “high” +9 in March for E respondents, also rose a grade and nine points to a “very high” +15 from a “high” +6 in class D, and was up a grade to a “high” +9 from a “fair” -2 among those in ABC.

Sought for comment, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma, Jr. noted in an e-mail yesterday: “Net optimism about the economy rose to ‘very high’ in classes E and D, thereby validating the effectiveness of the administration’s targeted and purposive poverty reduction and social safety net programs.”

But Jayeel S. Cornelio, director at the Development Studies Program of the Ateneo de Manila University, noted by phone on Friday last week that “[t]he view of Filipinos on the future has always been positive.”

“[I]n spite of all the wrong things happening around them, they still have trust that things will get better for them in the future,” Mr. Cornelio said. -- Alden M. Monzon