11% dissatisfied with President's performance so far
A BUNGLED HOSTAGE RESCUE notwithstanding, President Benigno C. Aquino III has started his six-year term with a "very good" net satisfaction rating, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.
Results of the SWS poll, made exclusive to BusinessWorld, had 71% of the respondents saying they were satisfied with Mr. Aquino's performance, compared to the 11% who said otherwise, for a net satisfaction score of +60.
It is not the highest initial rating for a Philippine president, however, based on SWS data beginning 1986. While better than the +53 received by his late mother, Corazon C. Aquino, in May 1986 and well above the +24 notched by his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in March 2001, Mr. Aquino's starting score just matches that of Joseph E. Estrada (+60, Sept. 1998) and is topped by Fidel V. Ramos's +66 (Sept. 1992).
Mr. Aquino, who overwhelmingly won the May elections and secured a "very good" net trust rating of +83 just before he took his oath on June 30, quickly saw his administration fumble: late last August, eight Hong Kong tourists died in a botched hostage rescue attempt that made international news.
That, plus several minor policy and administrative miscues, was expected to dent his ratings.
The results of the Sept. 24-27 SWS survey, however, had a Palace official claiming that people were benefiting from the President's commitment to reforms. A political analyst, meanwhile, said Filipinos could still be anchoring their hopes on Mr. Aquino given their dissatisfaction with previous administration.
The SWS said Mr. Aquino received "very good" ratings in all geographical areas, with a net score of +66 (76% satisfied, 10% dissatisfied) in Metro Manila, +65 in the Balance of Luzon (73% satisfied, 8% dissatisfied), +54 in the Visayas (68% satisfied, 14% dissatisfied) and +52 in Mindanao (67% satisfied, 15% dissatisfied).
Respondents in urban areas gave Mr. Aquino a +62 net rating (72% satisfied, 10% dissatisfied) while in rural areas his score was +58 (70% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied).
By socioeconomic class, Mr. Aquino was rated "very good" by those in Class E and D: +64 (73% satisfied, 9% dissatisfied) and +59 (71% satisfied, 11% dissatisfied), respectively. His score was a "good" +49 among the class ABC (65% satisfied and 16% dissatisfied).
By gender, Mr. Aquino obtained a "very good" +62 (73% satisfied, 11% dissatisfied) among women and +68 (69% satisfied, 11% dissatisfied) among men.
The quarterly survey polled 1,200 adults nationwide via face-to-face interviews. The sampling error margins are ±3% for national and ±6% for area percentages.
The SWS rates scores of +70 and above as "excellent"; +50 to +69, "very good"; +30 to +49, "good"; +10 to +29, "moderate"; +9 to -9, "neutral"; -10 to -29, "poor"; -30 to -49, "bad"; -50 to -69, "very bad"; and -70 and below, "execrable".
Asked to comment on the results, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said: "The President's social contract with the Filipino people is being implemented in ways our fellow citizens see and feel in their daily lives. This rating is a reminder for the whole team to stay focused on reforms needed to make opportunities for fighting corruption and lowering poverty as reality."
Earl G. Parreño, an analyst at the Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms, said: "To put this in context, there was hopelessness in most people during the previous administration. The people now see hope in the President's programs amid the problems early on [in his administration]."
He cited the Aug. 23 Manila hostage crisis -- Mr. Aquino has so far held off announcing sanctions -- and the alleged involvement of some of the president's trusted men in illegal gambling.
"The people are [still] ready to accept him, hoping he would concretize promises [made] during his campaign," Mr. Parreño said. -- A. M. G. Roa