65% support, not bad

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It is the classic question “Is the glass half full or half empty?” that should be applied in appreciating the recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) second quarter survey showing a clear majority of respondents satisfied with President Rodrigo Duterte’s performance.

Majority of the reports that came out focused on the “half-empty” take, using the “net” score that creates the perception that public approval has gone down drastically to below majority.

Highlighted was the “net” satisfaction rating drop to 45 percent which was indeed a record low for Rody in the SWS poll. But what the survey actually showed was 65 percent of respondents were satisfied with Rody’s performance as President.

The high satisfaction rating of Rody and the mostly yellow media description of it as a slide in support, reminds many of the “meltdown” last year of chief critic Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV in an interview with British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) program of hard-hitting broadcast journalist Stephen Sackur.

The survey rating then of Rody was 10 points higher at near 75 percent.

Sackur told Trillanes then: “Looking at comments made by the general public in Manila to news agencies, they say things like the streets are safer now here in the Philippines or we needed a ruler with an iron fist. These are quotes from the general public, that seems to be the mood, the ratings for Duterte still remain high 75 percent approval rate.”

To that, Trillanes’ quip was that the survey numbers declined from a high of 92 percent.

“So in less than a year, it went down by 17 percentage points, and I believe, the numbers in June, would be much worse,” Trillanes said.

To that Sackur replied: “Believe me, Senator, if a Western politician could command 75 percent approval rating, he would regard that as the happiest day of his life, believe me.”
Two years into office, the same assessment is valid on Rody’s 65 percent approval rating, which is a number that many politicians would envy.

Still Rody said he cared little about the survey results and even goaded his critics into working harder to pull down his survey numbers.

“Since I am not popular anymore, Congress might decide to get a popular one. You want a popular President, fine, good,” Rody said.

Without the yellow spins, the recent survey results showed Rody still getting the highest approval rating among recent leaders.

The extremely popular former President Joseph Estrada’s net rating fell to +5 on his second year in office while former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s numbers also dropped to +6 on her second full year. Yellow former President Benigno Aquino did not do any better with a rating of +42 in May 2012.

The SWS survey was also held during a period when the yellow mob had intensified efforts to blame the economic package called the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law for the spike in the inflation rate.

Global developments, however, resulted in the increase in fuel prices that contributed greatly to the 5.2 percent high inflation rate in June.

“Despite several challenges surrounding his presidency at the time the survey was conducted – PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) still enjoyed the confidence of the majority of Filipinos,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

Keeping the numbers constant at above an overwhelming majority was the result of Rody’s commitment to his three principal goals of eradicating drugs, criminality and corruption.

“So in time, I will try to maybe just reduce corruption to the barest minimum if I cannot totally eradicate it. It will be an impossible dream to do that considering the extent of government. It’s all over the island with so many offices. We cannot just control everything,” Rody said.

The survey numbers, more than anything else, was a recognition of the President’s commitment despite the efforts of his yellow opponents to frustrate his goals.