SWS poll: Majority agree President’s health a public matter

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By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

MAJORITY of Filipinos, at 61%, agree that President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s health is a public matter, according to the latest survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Nearly half of respondents polled by the SWS also believe that Mr. Duterte has health problems.

“The Third Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey, conducted from September 15-23, 2018, found that 45% of adult Filipinos believe (17% strongly believe and 28% somewhat believe), and 26% do not believe (10% somewhat not believe and 16% strongly not believe), that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has health problems. Twenty-nine percent are undecided about the matter,” the SWS said in its report released on Sunday, Oct. 7.

The survey also found that 55% of Filipinos said “they are worried (18% worried a great deal and 38% somewhat worried, correctly rounded) that the President “will have health problems.” Around 44% said they are “not worried (22% are not too worried and 23% are not worried at all, correctly rounded).”

The survey said further, “Pres. Duterte’s state of health is a public matter that is why the public should be informed of everything about this.”

The SWS report also noted that net satisfaction with the performance of Mr. Duterte “was higher at very good +68 among those who worry that he will have health problems, compared to the good +36 among those who do not worry about it.”

“It was a very good +58 among those who believe he has health problems, a very good +50 among those who are undecided about the matter, and a good +49 among those who do not believe he has health problems,” which means that the public satisfaction with the President “hardly varied” by people’s belief about his health. The SWS added that it also “did not vary by whether people consider his state of health a public matter (a very good +54) or a private matter (a very good +52).”

The survey results also showed that the net belief that Mr. Duterte has health problems “was highest in Metro Manila at +31 (53% believe, 23% not believe, correctly rounded), followed by Balance Luzon at +21 (45% believe, 24% not believe), Visayas at +14 (45% believe, 31% not believe), and Mindanao at +12 (39% believe, 27% not believe).” The SWS noted that it was “higher in overall urban areas (+29), compared to overall rural areas (+12). It was higher in classes D (+21) and ABC (+19) than in class E (+8).”

Meanwhile, the proportion of those who worry (% worried a great deal and % somewhat worried) that Mr. Duterte will have health problems was “highest in Mindanao at 61%, followed by Metro Manila at 59%, Balance Luzon at 53%, and the Visayas at 51%. Those who say Mr. Duterte’s state of health is a public matter was “highest in the Visayas at 65%, followed by Mindanao at 63%, Balance Luzon at 59%, and Metro Manila at 58%.”

Malacañang was sought for comment as of this reporting.

Last Saturday, Mr. Duterte made an unannounced trip to Hong Kong that even Mr. Roque was not aware of.

Mr. Roque, in a phone message to reporters at around 5:00 p.m. that day, said the President was in Davao City. “PRRD (President Rodrigo R Duterte) is now in Davao. FYI (for your information) Thanks,” he said.

However, Special Assistant to President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go said in a phone message to reporters that the President arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday morning. “Madaling araw na dating kanina (He arrived at dawn),” he said.

The President, according to Mr. Go, was set to return to Manila on Sunday. He also posted on his Facebook page photos of Mr. Duterte in Hong Kong, together with his partner Cielito “Honeylet” S. Avanceña and youngest daughter Kitty, with a caption saying: “Bago maunahan ng mga fake news, kailangan din magpahinga ng Pangulo (Before fake news gets ahead [of us], the President also needs to rest).”

Last Friday, Mr. Roque said he was considering resigning after he was “taken aback” by the confirmation of a hospital visit by Mr. Duterte on Oct. 3, which he said he did not know about.

He said, “I need [the] weekend to think about my options. But as you can see, I cannot be effective as a spokesperson unless I know everything about the President. Now, people think I lied. I’m telling the nation, I did not — I did not know.”

“You know someone….(Foreign Affairs) Secretary Alan (Peter S.) Cayetano told me that I should not just pray for what I should do. He told me to look for an objective sign, and I think this is [the] objective sign that I’m looking for,” he also said.

Mr. Roque added that he will announce his decision today, Monday.