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House, Senate, Cabinet satisfaction ratings down

07:23 AM July 31, 2018

The push for a no-election (No-el) scenario in 2019 likely contributed to the decline in public satisfaction with the House of Representatives, at least two lawmakers said on Monday.

The House approval of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, which has been blamed for the surge in prices of basic goods, and high cost of living and unemployment rate, also contributed to the drop in the ratings of the chamber, according to a party-list lawmaker.

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For Senate President Vicente Sotto III, uncertainty about the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), a landmark law creating a new autonomous region for Muslims in Mindanao, may have contributed to the slight decline in the Senate’s public satisfaction rating.

Public satisfaction with the House, Senate and President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet fell in June, according to results of a nationwide survey that Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducted in June.

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Biggest decline

The House saw the biggest decline in public satisfaction.

Its net satisfaction fell 10 points to a “moderate” +25 (45 percent satisfied and 20 percent dissatisfied) from a “good” +35 in March.

The Senate’s net satisfaction rating stayed “good” despite a decline of 4 points to +41 (57 percent satisfied and 17 percent dissatisfied) from +45 in March.

Mr. Duterte’s Cabinet’s net satisfaction rating in June stayed “moderate” +25 (43 percent satisfied, 18 percent dissatisfied) from +28 in March.

The noncommissioned survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide.

Opposition to No-el

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Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, the interim majority leader, said the No-el scenario could have led to the 10-point drop in public satisfaction with the chamber.

“No matter where you look, there was opposition to it,” Castro said in a phone interview.

Then Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez had floated the scenario of postponing the midterm elections purportedly to give lawmakers more time to study the proposed changes to the Constitution to shift to a federal government.

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin also blamed the No-el scenario for the House’s declining ratings, along with the push for federalism and the approval of the TRAIN law.

“The vast majority of the poor, both urban and rural, is rejecting the House for such antipoor policies. While it did not move in (Metro Manila) due to the massive unconditional cash transfers to temper inflation, the rating is still comparably low across all regions,” Villarin said in a statement.

The chamber’s role in political issues, such as the postponement of the 2019 elections and the campaign for federalism, did not help either, he said.

“The push for No-el and federalism also contributed to the decline which might translate into a rejection by the electorate of incumbents [in 2019],” Villarin said.

Uncertainty about BOL

Given the margin of error of plus-minus 3 percentage points, the decline in public satisfaction with the Senate is not statistically significant.

Even so, Sotto said on Monday that the survey results could be attributed to uncertainty about the BOL, which was signed by Mr. Duterte last week.

“A lot of people were awaiting that. So it took us some time, and then there were pending issues in the Senate that we were not able to immediately address,” Sotto told reporters.

But the SWS survey was conducted from June 27 to 30, almost a month after the Senate terminated plenary debates on BOL (then known as the Bangsamoro Basic Law).

The chamber passed the measure on third reading on May 30. The bicameral conference committee began reconciling the conflicting provisions in the Senate and the House versions on July 9—after the survey period.

Sotto became the Senate President on May 21, replacing Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III.

Malacañang told the media the Cabinet would strive to do better following a drop in the Cabinet’s net satisfaction rating in June.

“We will strive to improve the delivery of services,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said at a press briefing on Monday. —REPORTS FROM LEILA B. SALAVERRIA, DJ YAP, JULIE M. AURELIO AND INQUIRER RESEARCH

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TAGS: Duterte Cabinet satisfaction rating, House satisfaction rating, no-el scenario, Senate satisfaction rating, SWS survey, Vicente Sotto III
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