SWS: Majority of Pinoys worry about Duterte health
Fifty-five percent of adult Filipinos are worried that President Rodrigo Duterte will have health problems, results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted last month showed.
The survey, conducted from Sept. 15 to 23 amid news that the President was not making many public appearances, also found that 45 percent believed the President has health problems while 26 percent said otherwise. Twenty-nine percent are undecided.
Opposition Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who is skeptical about the seriousness of the Chief Executive’s condition, said it was the economy’s health — not Mr. Duterte’s — that should be the focus of everyone’s attention.
Inflation rose to a fresh nine-year high of 6.7 percent in September, making life more difficult for Filipinos.
Public satisfaction with the Duterte administration, according to the same SWS survey, dropped across all socioeconomic classes.
Of the 1,500 respondents, 61 percent of Filipinos say the President’s state of health is a public matter, according to SWS.
The noncommissioned survey has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
The survey results were released days after the 73-year-old President publicly admitted that he had undergone second colonoscopy and endoscopy for a growth that was found in his digestive tract.
While he said he was still awaiting the medical results, the President said he would not seek treatment if diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer.
Previously, the President said on many occasions that he was suffering from Barrett’s esophagus, a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease, and Buerger’s disease, a constriction of blood vessels.
Amie Perez, a 33-year-old law student, said the President’s own statements about his health were enough evidence to spark concern about his fitness to serve.
Asked for her take on why the survey showed only 45 percent of Filipinos believed the President had health problems, she said this likely had something to do with ordinary Filipinos’ deep-seated, often blasé, attitudes about health.
“We don’t really tend to take sickness seriously,” Perez said. “We go to a doctor only when we already feel like we’re about to die.”
She said, however, that the President should be held to a higher standard.
“It’s a matter of national security. It’s a national concern, whether or not he’s fit to be President,” she said. “I’m a student, if I’m feeling a little sick, I can’t fully function. What more if you have the entire country in your hands?”
No reason to fret
A Malacañang official sees no reason for the public to fret over the President’s health.
Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said the President had no intention of hiding his health condition.
“He did say he went to a hospital for a checkup. And in due time, if he’s really ill, he will say it,” Andanar said in a radio interview.
Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, on Sunday expressed misgivings about whether the President was sincere when the latter disclosed undergoing diagnostic procedures at a hospital on Wednesday.
“If he is serious, then full disclosure is required but if not, then it would be best that we stop such talk and focus our time and attention on looking for solutions to the serious problems of spiraling high prices,” Pangilinan said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon noted that under the 1987 Constitution, the public had the right to know of any serious illness of the President.
In a dzBB radio interview, he recalled widespread rumors about the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ health during the latter years of martial law, which had fueled speculations that other people were running the country. —Reports from Inquirer Research, Julie M. Aurelio, DJ Yap and Matthew Reysio-Cruz
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