2016 SWS Survey Review
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|2016 SWS Survey Review Presentation|
On January 27, 2016, 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 2016 SWS Survey Review at the AIM TPIC-Bancom Room.
Now on its fifteenth year, the annual review, moderated by Prof. Mario Antonio Lopez of AIM, was a venue for the discussion and synthesis of insights and trends drawn from the results of various SWS surveys. Dr. Jamil Paolo S. Francisco, the newly appointed Executive Director of AIM RSN-PCC gave introductory remarks, highlighting the potential role of credible survey data in research and public policy debate. SWS President Dr. Mahar Mangahas then delivered the SWS Survey Review, focusing on topics such as Pope Francis, poverty and crime, the government, the Mindanao peace process and the upcoming 2016 National Elections. He highlighted several positive trends in the public’s satisfaction with life and trust in major institutions like the government. However, the survey results also revealed rising concern over the safety of neighborhoods and armed conflict due to disputes in the West Philippine Sea, as well as extreme differences in views regarding the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Three reactors gave responses from varying perspectives. First, Dr. Mary Racelis from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of Ateneo de Manila University provided some possible explanations for the rising life satisfaction among Filipinos, particularly from the bottom 60% of the population. She shared how government programs such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Grassroots Participation in budgeting have given thousands of households more life options and reinforced the notion that their choices and actions have an impact on the future of their families and communities. Dr. Racelis also pointed out that the development of the Business Process Outsourcing sector and increase in overseas work opportunities have also provided more Filipinos with means of joining the formal sector; nevertheless, poverty and vulnerability to inflation or the rise in the prices of commodities remain handicaps to social mobility. Second, Dr. Patricia Lontoc from the AIM Strategic Management Department represented the interests of the business community as she raised concerns over the inefficient bureaucracy and inadequate supply of infrastructure, which supersede complaints about corruption. Third, Mr. Vergel Santos, Chairman of the Board at the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, discussed the role of the journalist and the present-day media’s successes and failures in relaying survey results and in influencing the subsequent interpretation of this information by the masses.
An open forum followed the responses. Members of the audience from the diplomatic corps, government, civil society organizations, academe, and business community raised questions and shared insights about the methods, content, and use of SWS surveys. A recurring theme in the discussion was the need for broader information dissemination and understanding among the Filipino masses and other concerned sectors of society, like the business community and the youth. Some noticed the peculiarities of certain results and called for expanded efforts in discovering what links people’s professed values and their manifested choices, particularly when it comes to choosing their leaders.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Benedikt Seemann, Country Representative of Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung, challenged the audience to be advocates of knowledge sharing, to the extent that will make politicians work for the improved welfare of the country and the Filipino people.