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Gov’t keeps ‘very good’ score

Posted on February 13, 2012

PUBLIC SATISFACTION with the Aquino administration’s performance remains "very good" despite lower ratings on specific issues such as oil prices and fighting graft and corruption, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said in a new report.

A Dec. 3-7 survey found 67% of respondents satisfied, 21% ambivalent and 11% dissatisfied with the government’s general performance, for a net rating of +56 (% satisfied minus % dissatisfied) that was unchanged from three months earlier.

The overall satisfaction score remained above those of all previous governments since the measure was started in February 1989, the SWS said. Record highs were recorded in seven issues, it added.

Malacañang officials claimed the government had the people’s "sustained trust and confidence" and that Filipinos likely "raised the bar" with regard to lower issue-specific scores. Problems are being addressed but the results will take time to be felt, they said.

Out of 19 specific issues, the Aquino administration scored a "very good" on three, "good" on six, "moderate" on another six, "neutral" on three and "poor" on one. Only ten issues were monitored for all four quarters of last year; some were last tested in 2000 and 2001.

"Many issue-ratings are either included or excluded depending on their contemporary salience," the SWS said.

The government’s best score came in terms of helping victims of disasters, where its "very good" net rating of +58 surpassed the record "very good" +52 last hit in December 2009.

It also notched a new peak in terms of helping the handicapped: a "very good" net +55 that was a point above the previous +54 record hit in July 2000. The result was also 14 points above the "good" +41 scored when the issue was last tested in September 2000.

The remaining "very good" rating was for helping the poor where the government received a net +51, up a point from three months earlier and just shy of the record +52 hit in September 2010.

The highest "good" score, meanwhile, was the net +46 on promoting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers, a five-point increase from the previous record of +41 last seen in September 2011.

A record "good" +34 also came with regard to the issue of fighting crimes, surpassing the previous peak of +28 -- "moderate" -- hit in December 1992. The government’s score last September was a "moderate" net +26.

Another two record highs involved "good" scores: +35 for developing tourism, up from June 2001’s +19 ("moderate"); and +34 for having clear policies, up from +18 in July 2001.

Rounding up December’s "good" net ratings were the +45 for promoting human rights, up three points from September 2010’s +42, and the +43 for foreign relations, down a point from September last year.

In the "moderate" category, meanwhile, were promoting foreign investments at a net +27, up from June 2006’s +13; fighting terrorism at +27, down from last September’s +34; and transparency in government activities, also at +27 -- a record high -- from February 2009’s "neutral" +13.

Lower net ratings were recorded in terms of reconciliation with communist rebels (+20 from +33 last September), reconciliation with Muslim rebels (+19 from +34 last September) and eradicating graft and corruption (+15 from +27 last September).

The Aquino administration’s "neutral" net ratings also represented declines: to +9 from +13 ("moderate") in terms of ensuring that no family will be hungry, +8 from +9 for fighting inflation and -3 from +4 on the issue of ensuring that oil firms don’t take advantage of oil prices.

The sole "poor" score was a net -18 on the matter of resolving the Maguindanao massacre, down from -13 last September.

By geographical area, meanwhile, the Aquino administration saw its net rating rise to "very good" in Metro Manila (+64 from +44) and stay "very good" in Balance Luzon (+52 from +59), the Visayas (+58 from +51) and Mindanao (+56 from +63).

It was also "very good" across all socioeconomic classes: unchanged at +57 among the class D or masa, up a point to +53 for class E, and down 12 points to +54 for the ABC.

The SWS classifies net satisfaction scores of +70 and above as "excellent"; +50 to +69, "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"; and -70 and below, "execrable."

Sought for comment, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the latest poll validated the Aquino administration’s efforts "to improve services, push for inclusive growth, and upgrade response to disasters."

"Public opinion indicates that the public not only sees, but has tangibly felt [improvements] ... It contradicts the hypercritical few who refuse to see the government doing its work under the indivisible view that justice and expanding the economy must be jointly pursued," Mr. Lacierda said in an e-mail to BusinessWorld.

He called attention to the response to devastating tropical storms and claimed that "other issues are currently being addressed but need time for their full effects to be felt by our fellow citizens."

Sec. Herminio B. Coloma of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office, meanwhile, said the survey "indicates that there is sustained trust and confidence in President’s leadership."

The reduced net ratings on issue such as fighting corruption and the Maguindanao massacre, said Mr. Coloma, "could indicate that our people are raising the bar of their expectations."

"These are constantly recurring problems rooted in structural or institutional causes. Let us see the updated public pulse on the anticorruption campaign in the next survey that will reflect the sentiments on CJ’s impeachment trial," said Mr. Coloma, referring to ongoing proceedings at the Senate versus Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

The SWS utilized face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide for the Dec. 3-7 poll, which has sampling error margins of ±3% for national and ±6% for area percentages.