Arroyo allies blame budget row for her poor satisfaction rating
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s allies in the House of Representatives said that the budget row between the two chambers of Congress affected the satisfaction rating of the House leader.
“Natural lang na maapektuhan ang rating ni Speaker Arroyo ng mga paninira tungkol sa budget. Pero ang mahalaga, naipasa ang budget at susulong na ang mga programa at proyekto para sa taong bayan,” Majority Floor Leader and Capiz 2nd District Rep. Fredenil Castro said in a message to reporters on Wednesday.
“Kabilang dito ang Build, Build, Build program, Universal Health Care, Free Tertiary Education, at marami pang iba,” Castro added.
San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora said that Arroyo has never been focused on survey results, although he noted that her satisfaction rating actually rose by four points.
“Her approval ratings still rose despite the virulent black propaganda that was hurled against her during the intramurals on the budget,” Zamora noted.
“The style of Speaker GMA has always focused on getting results and work done rather than on the approval ratings,” Zamora said in a separate statement.
A recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that Arroyo’s net satisfaction rating for April 2018 was at -17, but still higher than her December 2018 rating of -21.
According to Zamora, they were able to create a supposedly independent and transparent budget for 2019 through Arroyo’s leadership.
“The House under SGMA crafted a democratic and transparent allocation of govt projects and services among all districts regardless of political affiliation. I fully agree with Executive Secretary Medealdea who was correct in saying there was nothing unconstitutional about the budget proposed by the House,” he added.
The 2019 General Appropriations Act was only signed by Duterte this April, due to deadlocks brought by alleged insertions, which several lawmakers have deemed as ‘pork’ or lump-sum funds. This has forced the government to operate on a reenacted budget for the first few months of 2019.
Historically, Arroyo — a former president — did not receive high satisfaction ratings. Her highest ratings in her nine-year term was at +27, but this came after the second People Power Revolution that ousted former President Joseph Estrada.
From October 2004 to June 2010, Arroyo did not receive any positive net satisfaction rating, with scores dropping as low as -53. She was the only president after the martial law era to have a negative average rating, placed at -7.
Despite these, the lawmakers said that Arroyo’s response toward earthquake-stricken Pampanga reveals about her brand of leadership.
“At agad ding kumikilos ang Speaker para sa mga nasalanta ng lindol. Ito ang tunay na serbisyo publiko, anuman ang lumabas sa survey,” Castro said.
“The recent earthquake showed us the kind of leadership SGMA has as she is more focused on helping the victims, cutting short her participation in scheduled events to see for herself the rescue and rehab efforts following the earthquake,” Zamora added. /jpv
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