Uriel C. Quilinguing .
JUST five days before the President’s state-of-the-nation address, Pulse Asia came out with survey results showing his high approval and trust ratings of 85 percent.
This, despite the aftermath of the sinking of a boat with 22 Filipino fishermen on board after it was rammed by a Chinese fishing vessel within the country’s exclusive economic zone. There was an attempt for a cover up, that it was just a simple maritime accident, yet Malacañang’s lukewarm reaction to it didn’t cause a dent into the results of the survey.
Even if a survey would be done this week, a week after the United Nations Human Rights Council voted in favor of a resolution calling for an independent investigation into the human rights situation in the Philippines, the results would be the same.
How government agencies are responding to the thousands of evacuees due to massive flooding caused by tropical depression “Falcon,” and Metro Manila’s water crisis need not be factored in. Not one of the 1,200 Pulse Asia survey respondents was in an evacuation center and/or among the Metro Manila residents who have to queue for rationed water.
The President’s men may even claim that Pulse Asia’s favorable outcomes were an affirmation of the non-commissioned Social Weather Station pulse survey in the first quarter this year, showing the President’s 79-percent nationwide satisfaction rating from 1,440 respondents.
As expected, that survey which the Palace commissions delivers the expected favorable outcomes. This, in the midst of controversies in the health sector, including the Dengvaxia scare, outbreaks in measles and dengue and the ghost patients. And what about issues on the country’s food stability, rice supply and prices that need to be appropriately addressed due to undue competitions from imports? Until now, prices of petroleum products remain unpredictable despite the presence of independent oil firms.
These, among others, compel me to toy the idea the government’s Philippine Statistics Authority should do, the conduct of an annual survey on trust and approval ratings for all agencies. This is so because PSA’s integrity and competence in the conduct of surveys and censuses remain intact; the outcomes are credible and reliable.
I suppose survey results cannot be manipulated upon by the powers that be, unlike during the Marcos regime when a lot of sugar-coating were done to project that the national economy was still afloat, when in reality it was already at the brink of bankruptcy.
If the PSA conducts a survey on satisfaction and trust ratings of the country’s top officials, similar to that of Pulse Asia and SWS, the results would be different. This is so because of the agency’s independence, other than the comparatively large sample size, spread out not only in the country main islands but in every province, hence the outcome would be reflective of the general sentiments of Filipinos.
Meantime, let’s wait for Monday’s fourth Sona, hoping the next three years would not be a repeat of his last three, if the President wishes to leave a legacy.
(Uriel C. Quilinguing is a past president of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club and former editor in chief of this paper. Currently, he is engaged in the conduct of campus journalism trainings.)