Aquino scores ‘majority approval ratings’ in survey | Inquirer News

Aquino scores ‘majority approval ratings’ in survey

President Benigno Aquino III’s administration scored “majority approval ratings” in six of 11 national concerns in the most recent Pulse Asia survey.

Most Filipinos think the administration has done well in fighting criminality, enforcing the law equally among all Filipinos, improving the national peace situation, fighting corruption in government, creating more jobs and increasing workers’ salaries, Pulse Asia said.

The lowest approval ratings were registered in the issues of reducing poverty and controlling inflation.


According to the survey, 60 percent of the respondents said the administration was doing well in fighting crime; 57 percent, in enforcing the law equally among Filipinos; and 57 percent, in improving the peace situation.


The survey was conducted on May 21-June 4 through face-to-face interviews with 1,200 respondents nationwide. It had an error margin of + or – 3.

Pulse Asia also found that 56 percent gave the administration positive marks in fighting corruption; 53 percent, in the creation of more jobs; and 51 percent, in increasing workers’ pay.

But only 39 percent approved of what the administration was doing to control inflation, and 40 percent, of its campaign to reduce poverty.

“During the period March to May 2011, the only significant change in the administration’s performance ratings occurs on the issue of equal law enforcement, with the administration enjoying an improvement in its overall approval rating,” Pulse Asia said.

Only 49 percent of the respondents in Pulse Asia’s March 2011 results approved of the administration’s performance in ensuring the equal enforcement of the law among Filipinos.

No judgment yet


Members of the business community are not passing judgment on the President and his Cabinet just yet.

“Right now, we have to recognize the fact that President Aquino inherited a structure depreciated by past mistakes in governance. We live in a house with a lot of structural defects. What needs to be done now is the strengthening of the governance structure,” Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) president Edgardo Lacson said on Wednesday in a phone interview.

Lacson also said that while some expectations had yet to be fulfilled, the administration should be credited for “restoring faith in government and respect for authority.”

In a separate interview, Makati Business Club executive director Peter Angelo Perfecto said it was difficult for the administration to charge forward with its promised reforms because “the previous Ombudsman was not on the same page.”

Despite this, Perfecto said, Mr. Aquino and his Cabinet laid significant groundwork in their first year in office.

For example, the Philippines has been given at least three credit ratings upgrades, cases have been filed against smugglers and tax evaders, and unemployment numbers have gone down, Perfecto said.

“There are indications that the fiscal house is being fixed, and we’re seeing good economic indicators,” he said.

Give him a chance

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Francis Lim said Mr. Aquino and his Cabinet deserved a “passing mark” for their efforts.

“He’s putting a lot of effort into fighting corruption. We see that he’s focused and unwavering. He’s done a good performance so far,” Lim said, adding:

“We definitely give him a passing mark, but he needs a lot of support and understanding from the private sector. We should give him more time. Let’s wait for the end-result of all his efforts so we can make an honest-to-goodness statement. Let’s give him a chance.”

But Perfecto said there were some areas that needed improvement, such as bringing food prices down and cutting the underemployment rate.

“If he’s able to address these two issues, public perception will improve,” Perfecto said.

Also, he said, the government’s flagship public-private partnership program (PPP) should start to gain steam in Mr. Aquino’s second year because the delays in the auction of PPP projects was a cause for concern.

“We understand that in the first year, a lot of cleanup, review and foundation work had to be done. But on year two, the government should move more aggressively forward, especially in the PPP program, to sustain the high growth rates we achieved in 2010,” Perfecto said. “A year has passed. That’s enough time for review. Come year two, there should be no more excuses.”

But Ecop’s Lacson said Mr. Aquino’s slow-but-sure approach in implementing the PPP program was actually better.

“We think the President is just cautiously delaying this. He’s trying to be careful as he doesn’t want to fall into the same mistakes [as other administrations]. Next year, hopefully we’ll see some significant movements,” Lacson said.

Big fish campaign

Perfecto said the administration had made some strides in curbing corruption by pressing charges against smugglers and tax evaders.

But he said it could make an example of high-profile violators, whether from the government or the private sector.

“We should send the correct signals. This whole effort [is being exerted] to get people to pay their taxes. The government has to move forward with its ‘big fish’ campaign. We should see this move more substantively on year two,” Perfecto said.

“We know it’s hard to get a conviction, but if the government can at least send signals that they’re serious about this, to show that it’s more expensive to evade taxes, then we’ll be able to see some improvements. The message now is that corruption pays. We should change that,” he said.

Management Association of the Philippines president Felino Palafox Jr. said the best way to curb corruption was to “put at least one big fish in jail.”

Lacson said Mr. Aquino’s popularity, despite a lower rating in the latest Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations surveys, actually gave him some leeway to “make unpopular decisions to correct past mistakes.”

He said this was something that the President and his team should capitalize on in their efforts to implement real reforms.

Lagman’s ‘bluster’

Edwin Lacierda. Mr. Aquino’s spokesperson, said House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman was again playing with the facts in his criticism of the Aquino administration. (See related story.)

Lacierda said that Lagman’s remarks against Mr. Aquino were based on misrepresentation and obsolete figures, and that the lawmaker’s term as minority leader was itself mainly bluff.

“…Lagman is once more playing fast and free with the facts, making assertions that are obsolete, misleading or patently false. Here he goes again, because this is not the first time in what is turning out to be a litany of misrepresentations by him,” Lacierda said in a statement.

“Lagman has tried to characterize this administration’s first year in office as ‘365 Days of Sound and Fury’ when it has been a year of solid, painstaking and conscientious rebuilding of our gutted and shattered institutions. Such statements show the current lack of standing of … Lagman whose career as minority floor leader can be characterized as a year of bluster and bluffing,” he added.

In his own statement, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said that government spending picked up last month and that he expected this to be the trend in the remaining months of 2011.

“We’re seeing a turnaround toward quality government spending. After government agencies conducted a thorough review of the costs and efficiencies of their programs and projects, they are now ready to spend with much impact,” Abad said.

“The improvement is seen not only in the flow of cash but also in the quality of public goods and services delivered,” he said.


Sen. Ralph Recto said it had been “a challenging year” for the President, and “I’m very much inclined to give him a grade of 88 percent.”

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And now that the “honeymoon” is over, the President and his administration can begin to keep house, said Recto, the chair of the Senate ways and means committee and an administration ally. With reports from Christine O. Avendaño and TJ Burgonio

TAGS: SWS survey

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