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2018 SWS Survey Review

Posted: 2018-01-30

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The Asian Institute of Management Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness (AIM RSN PCC), in partnership with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), hosted the Social Weather Stations (SWS) last 29 January 2018 for the annual SWS Survey Review at AIM.

After the opening remarks by AIM RSN PCC Executive Director Jamil Paolo S. Francisco, SWS co-founder and President Dr. Mangar Mangahas presented the findings of SWS surveys conducted in 2017. The surveys covered a wide array of topics, ranging from the usual Quality of Life (QOL) indicators, to the more recent war on illegal drugs. Dr. Mangahas stated that public satisfaction with government officials have maintained the high ratings seen during the previous administration, although expectations on the fulfillment of promises by the President were lowered.

Dr. Mangahas cited high satisfaction ratings for fighting terrorism, helping the poor and hungry, reconciling with rebel groups, and fighting crime, and graft & corruption. In addition, victimization by common crimes continued its long-term downward trend.

He continued by saying that opinions on martial law and “Revolutionary Government” differed between Mindanao and the rest of the country, and that there is no pivot in public opinion from the US to China. The US continues to enjoy its status as the most trusted foreign country, while China and North Korea are the two most distrusted countries among those included in the survey.

Dr. Mangahas ended his presentation by noting that the QOL indicators have improved. The difference between gainers and losers hit a record high in December, and joblessness was decreasing. However, poverty and hunger have proven to be static. Despite Muslims and the poor seeing themselves as worse off, Mindanao has the highest life-satisfaction and happiness.  Overall, satisfaction with the current democratic system was high, with a strong preference of democracy over authoritarianism.

Dr. Mary Racelis, Senior Professorial Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the Ateneo de Manila University, offered her response on several topics. This included the ‘honeymoon phase’ of the Duterte administration, the administration’s efforts in restoring public confidence in the police, and the issue of social media’s use to influence public perceptions. She ended by stating that poverty is still high and raised the question on how mass relocation and land acquisition would affect the urban poor and the surrounding sub-urban localities.

The second reactor, Makati Business Club Executive Director Mr. Peter Perfecto, emphasized the importance of public trust in survey methodology. This included the ability of statisticians and policy makers to defend the accuracy and sincerity of the survey process and its results. He also mentioned the need to fund survey organizations without exposing them to political agendas. KAS Philippines Senior Program Manager Ms. Tonette de Jesus recapped the discussion and delivered the closing remarks.

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