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2019 SWS Survey Review

Posted: 2019-02-02
Press Release
2019 SWS Survey Review Presentation

The Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness (RSN PCC), in partnership with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Philippines, held an event entitled “The 2019 SWS Survey Review” last 1 February 2019, from 8:45AM to 11:40AM, at the TPIC-Bancom Room, 3/F Asian Institute of Management, Makati City.

The event presented the review of surveys conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS) in 2018 in terms of the political, social, and economic climate in the country. It was attended by more than 70 participants from the government, academe, private sector, and other stakeholders.

Dr. Jamil Paolo Francisco, AIM Associate Professor and Executive Director of AIM RSN PCC, welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of getting the perception of people on relevant matters in the socio-political and economic sphere.

Dr. Mahar Mangahas, SWS co-founder and President, presented the results of the SWS survey conducted in 2018 covering a wide array of topics including satisfaction ratings in politics, and opinion on key government policy decisions and foreign affairs as well as perception on poverty and state of the economy. Survey results show that President Duterte continues to have high ratings while ratings of other officials are steady except for Speaker Arroyo. The report card grades of the admin are generally good with inflation as the poorest subject.  Popular issue for the Filipinos is the Boracay closure. While most are in favor of the national ID system, majority are indifferent towards Bangsamoro Organic Law (Muslims are supportive). People support campaign against illegal drugs but are disappointed with the police’ lack of concern for the lives of the drug suspects, see poor as most affected and worry about becoming EJK-victims. Most Filipinos want to maintain constitutional ban on death penalty and see life imprisonment as sufficient punishment for almost all serious crimes. 49% want a minor (median at 15 years old) jailed for being a drug courier.

Dr. Mangahas also shared that Filipinos continue to have high trust in the US and strongly believe that US will defend the Philippines in case of invasion. There is a low trust in China and high antipathy on China’s occupation of islands in the West Philippines Sea. Personal optimism and optimism on the economy remain high. Self-rated poverty and poverty rates rose in 2016-18 after falling in 2014-16. Half of Filipino families remain poor although hunger continues to slide. Satisfaction on democracy is still very high. Only 1 out of 4 are aware that Federalism would create a new level of local government between national and provincial level. After realizing this, 37% are for it and 29% are against it. There is no cry for federalism.

Mr. Coco Alcuaz, Executive Director of Makati Business Club, noted that fighting inflation is the biggest challenge. He referred to the question on EJK as still on a higher morale and recommends probing on its economic impact. He added that the growing concern on China’s activities in West Philippine Sea and growing support to improving military capability may have impact on trade and investment which should be looked at.

Dr. Jayeel Cornelio, Sociologist and Associate Professor at Ateneo de Manila University, noted that the president maintains his high ratings amidst vulgar attacks on Catholic Church and the United Nations because of his charisma. He also highlighted that morality becomes a separate issue when people feel that their needs are being addressed. Futhermore, he added that the war on drugs, aside from it being a political issue, are supported by the majority because it offers “swift justice” (as opposed to our slow justice). Another explanation he offered why the majority are supportive of the war on drugs is the theology of vengefulness. Lastly, he cautioned that if Bangsamoro youth is not convinced of the post-conflict efforts in Marawi, then they might not "carry the torch" and may be radicalized.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Jost recapped the discussion and delivered the closing remarks.

For questions or comments, please email the AIM RSN PCC at

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