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2015 SWS Survey Review

Posted: 2015-01-26
Category: Events

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On January 21, 2015, the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness (RSN-PCC) and the Social Weather Stations (SWS), with support from Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), held the 2015 SWS Survey Review at AIM Conference Center Manila.

Now on its fourteenth year, the event serves as a forum to review the various SWS surveys conducted over the past year, highlighting key insights and drawing lessons for future policy. After some introductory remarks from Prof. Horacio Borromeo, dean of the AIM Washington SyCip Graduate School of Business, SWS president Dr. Mahar Mangahas presented the nation's opinions on topics such as the Pope, the performance of government, poverty, and the upcoming 2016 elections. One insight emphasized by Dr. Mangahas was the respondents' persistently favorable opinions over government response to natural disasters — a finding that he says is usually at odds with the picture portrayed by mainstream media.

Two responses were given. The first was from Action for Economic Reforms executive director Filomena Sta. Ana III, who underscored the importance of interpretation for both policymakers and the media when faced with SWS data. The second was from Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) secretary Corazon “Dinky” Juliano–Soliman, who pointed to the central role of data collection and analysis in the government’s two-pronged development strategy of job generation and poverty reduction. In order to address the spatial and sectoral differences in poverty situations across the country, Sec. Soliman calls attention to NEDA’s list of priority provinces chosen according to three categories: (1) those experiencing high growth but where the poor are left behind, (2) those with limited growth opportunities where poverty incidence is high, and (3) those vulnerable to natural disasters where even the marginally non-poor are vulnerable to slip into poverty. Different antipoverty strategies are proposed for each, as elaborated in the Philippine Development Plan 2011–2016 Midterm Update. On DSWD’s part, Sec. Soliman highlights its conditional cash transfer program, which invests in the education and health of the poor. Strengthening this is an upcoming update of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS–PR), which will improve the targeting of CCT beneficiaries in order to eliminate leakages and undercoverage. Through these efforts, the government hopes to make poverty “a thing of the past.”

These were followed by a lively open forum where audience members shared their questions and insights. Discussions ranged from survey methodology to theories that explain patterns in the survey data. Some cautious predictions on future trends were also made.

The event was moderated by Prof. Mario Antonio Lopez of the AIM faculty.

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